Murray, George Robert Milne (DNB12)

MURRAY, GEORGE ROBERT MILNE (1858–1911), botanist, younger brother of Alexander Stuart Murray [q. v. Suppl. II], was born at Arbroath, Forfarshire, on 11 Nov. 1858. He was educated at Arbroath High School, and in 1876 studied under Anton de Bary at Strasburg. In 1876 he became an assistant in the botanical department of the British Museum, having charge of the cryrptogamic collections, and in 1895, on the retirement of Dr. William Carruthers, he became keeper of the department, a post which he was compelled by ill-health to resign in 1905. He was lecturer on botany at St. George's Hospital medical school from 1882 to 1886, and to the Royal Veterinary College from 1880 to 1895. In 1886 Murray acted as naturalist to the solar eclipse expedition to the West Indies; and again visited the same area on a dredging expedition in 1897; in 1898 he chartered a tug for a dredging expedition in the Atlantic, 300 miles west of Ireland, on which he was accompanied by a party of naturalists; and in 1901 he became director of the civilian scientific staff of the national Antarctic expedition in H.M.S. Discovery, under Captain R. F. Scott. He was, however, only able to accompany the expedition as far as Cape Town. For some years he devoted much of his vacation to the collection of diatoms and algae in the Scottish lochs from the fishery board's yacht Garland. Murray was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1878, apparently in contravention of the bye-laws, as he was then under age. He became a vice-president in 1800, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1897. He died at Stonehaven on 16 Dec 1911.

He married in 1884 Helen, daughter of William Welsh of Walker's Barns and Boggieshallow, Brechin, and left one son and one daughter. His wife died in 100l. Murray's contributions to botany refer mainly to marine algæ, but he wrote the section on fungi in Henfrey's 'Elementary Course of Botany' (3rd edit 1878); he contributed the articles on Fungi and Vegetable Parasitism to the ninth edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' (1870 and 1885); and between 188S and 1865 be published three reports upon his investigations of the salmon disease, undertaken at the instance of Professor Huxley. In 1880 he published a 'Handbook of Cryptogamic Botany,' together with Alfred William Bennett [q. v. Suppl. II]; from 1892 to 1895 he edited 'Physiological Memoirs, being Researches made in the Botanical Department of the British Museum,' of which three parts appeared, each papers by him; and in 1885 he an 'Introduction to the Study of Seaweeds.' He also edited 'The Antarctic Manual' for the expedition of 1901, arranging the contents and securing contributors, but only writing some four pages of instructions on plant-collecting.

[The Times, 19 and 21 Dec. 1911; Gardeners' Chronicle, i. (1911) 466; Journal of Botany (1912), 73 (with photographic portrait).]

G. S. B.