AS a boy Murray Naylor was unsure of what he wanted to do for a career but quite fancied working in railways. The reaction from his father was far from enthusiastic so after finishing school he went off to do his National Service with no particular thoughts for the future.

Those two years were to change the course of Murray’s life. Instead of returning to civilian life, he opted for a regular commission in the army, serving principally in the second battalion of the Scots Guards for over two decades and rising through the ranks to Major General.

Murray’s new autobiography, An Unintentional Soldier, is a memoir of his remarkable life and a fascinating insight into the life in the British Army in the mid-20th century.

“I have always enjoyed writing and since leaving the army I have had more time to do so,” he said.

“One of the main reasons for writing my memoirs was the fact that few of us set down our lives and what has happened to us and what has influenced us.

“I wanted to do this so that my three children and five grandchildren and later generations and anyone outside the family, should they be interested, will know what sort of life I have led.”

Murray’s years in the army took him around the world, including spells in Africa, India, Germany and Northern Ireland, with one of his most rewarding periods as commander of the 2nd Battalion of his Regiment.

Latterly, he commanded an Armoured Brigade in Germany and then as Major General, the 2nd Infantry Division in York, before retiring from the army at the age of 54.

Having lived and worked all over the world, Murray and his wife, Rosa, chose to live in North Yorkshire.

“The people here have always made us feel so welcome and we felt it was a good place to settle and found a house in Huttons Ambo,” he said.

However, retirement was not an option of Murray and he embraced life in the local community as a school governor, church warden and volunteer guide in York Minster.

Other roles included chairman of the North Yorkshire Ambulance Service and eight years as councillor for the then Rillington division of North Yorkshire County Council.

“One of the main issues then, as continues to be now, was the A64 an the lack of a bypass for Rillington,” he said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the constituency work and involved myself with the 25 or so villages in my area, visiting them to ensure people knew who I was and how I could help them.”

As an adopted Yorkshireman he was also invited to become Deputy Lieutenant for the county.

He said: “I enjoyed my time in the role but was always rather embarrassed at being appointed to the role, to me there seemed to be so many local people of distinction who had spent all their lives in the county and had made a great contribution to the North Yorkshire community who were just as deserving of the honour, if not more.”

Having reached his 70s, Murray decided to pick up his love of writing, while also enabling him to revisit his passion for railways.

“My love of all aspects of railways and an increasing respect of our medieval builders, engendered to to an extent by my involvement at York Minster determined me to try and link those two interests by travelling around England.”

Murray’s subsequent books - English Cathedrals by Train, was published in 2013, followed by England’s Historic Churches by Train three years later.

Now aged 81, Murray said that he was no intentions of writing anymore books.

He said: “I have been very lucky to lead an interesting life and have a loving family.

“This book was not written to impress or prescribe, simply to set out the events of the last 80 years as experienced by me and I hope it will both interest and amuse,”

An unintentional soldier - the life of Murray Naylor is published by Quacks Books.

To order a copy email, or phone 01904 635967.