From tank hero of the war to ad­verts­ing and For­mula 1

Birmingham Post - - FEATURE -

DUR­ING the Sec­ond Wolr War Mur­ray Walker was con­scripted into the armed forces and ap­plied to vol­un­teer for tanks.

How­ever, he was re­quired to wait due to lack of re­sources at the time. So Walker worked with the Dun­lop Rub­ber Com­pany, which of­fered 12 schol­ar­ships an­nu­ally and was based at Fort Dun­lop, in Birm­ing­ham.

As part of the evac­u­a­tion scheme im­posed by the British Govern­ment, Walker was evac­u­ated to Erd­ing­ton, liv­ing with the Bellamy fam­ily at 58 Holly Lane.

On 1 Oc­to­ber 1942 he took a train to Wool in Dorset, where he re­ported to the 30th Pri­mary Train­ing Wing at Bov­ing­ton, the head­quar­ters of the Royal Ar­moured Corps.

Walker later grad­u­ated from the Royal Mil­i­tary Col­lege, Sand­hurst, and was com­mis­sioned into the Royal Scots Greys.

He went on to com­mand a Sherman tank and to par­tic­i­pate in the Bat­tle of the Re­ich­swald with the 4th Ar­moured Bri­gade. He left the Army hav­ing at­tained the rank of cap­tain.

Walker then worked in ad­ver­tis­ing for Dun­lop and Aspro. Later he was em­ployed as an ac­counts di­rec­tor by the Ma­sius ad­ver­tis­ing agency, with clients in­clud­ing British Rail, Vaux­hall and Mars, for whom they cre­ated the slo­gan “A Mars a day helps you work rest and play”.

He did not re­tire from ad­verts­ing un­til the age of 59, long af­ter he had gained fame as a com­men­ta­tor. He also briefly com­peted in mo­tor­cy­cle races him­self.

Walker cre­ated the slo­gan “Trill makes bud­gies bounce with health” – a fa­mous ad­ver­tis­ing slo­gan for bird seed in the 1960s – as well as the slo­gan “Opal Fruits, made to make your mouth wa­ter.”

Walker made his first broad­cast at Worces­ter­shire’s Shel­s­ley Walsh hill­climb in 1948.

By 1949 he was com­men­tat­ing on races along­side Max Robert­son, al­though it wasn’t un­til the late 1970s that each For­mula 1 race was given ex­ten­sive cov­er­age on British tele­vi­sion.

He did oc­ca­sional For­mula 1 com­men­taries dur­ing the 1970s, go­ing full-time for the 1978 sea­son. He com­men­tated on For­mula 1 through to the 2001 United States Grand Prix at In­di­anapo­lis.

His first reg­u­lar work was on ra­dio cov­er­age of the Isle of Man TT, ini­tially along­side his fa­ther. Af­ter Gra­ham’s death in 1962, Mur­ray took over the lead role.

He cov­ered mo­tocross (ini­tially for ITV and BBC) dur­ing the 1960s and ral­ly­cross in the 1970s and early 1980s.

He oc­ca­sion­ally com­men­tated on mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing and ral­ly­ing dur­ing the 1960s through to the 1980s. Walker cov­ered the BTCC for the BBC be­tween 1969 and 1971 and also 1988 and 1997, and the Ma­cau event for Hong Kong TV on nine oc­ca­sions.


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