Anzac Day Legend

Anzac Day is a big day on the Australian calendar, inspired by the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

This year I would like to honor an Irish-Australian gentleman by the name of Ultan Murray. I met him in Brisbane a few weeks ago. Every now and again, you meet someone that touches your life. Someone that leaves you with a lasting impression. Ultan Murray is such a person and I would like to share his story with you.

An Anzac Day Tribute

My Anzac Day tribute goes to this gentleman. It was on a Monday after one of our recent internet marketing workshops. I was sitting at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle Cafe in Queen Street Mall in Brisbane while my wife was doing some retail therapy in the local shops. I’m not much of a shopping person, so I happily sat myself down for a quiet coffee or 2 and was entertained by my iPhone Twitter account. This was when an elderly gentleman sat down at the table next to me.

Ultan Murray

I introduced myself and he introduced himself as “Ultan”. His hands were shaky and I politely asked Ultan if it was arthritis.

Arthitis?“, he exclaimed! “I dream of arthritis! This is from nuclear radiation“.

Ultan proceeded to tell me his story over the next hour. We had a great conversation and I asked his permission to publish this story on my blog and share it. He was quite happy for this to happen.

Here is Ultan Murray’s story:

World War 2 – The Coast Of Japan

In 1945, Ultan Murray was an Irish soldier, in the British forces, waiting off the coast of Japan to invade. He was part of a 1 Million strong Allied invasion force – Ready, Willing and Able to risk their life’s to invade Japan to end the war.

Sean. The bomb in Hiroshima is killing me right now, but it saved my life” Ultan profoundly said. It was a powerful statement to make and one that many people may not understand or appreciate. However, he put it into perspective:

140,000 people were killed by that bomb. Many more from radiation. Yet, 1 Million allied soldiers were invading Japan and the Japs would never surrender. It was going to a massive bloodbath. God knows how many would have been killed“.

I was sitting in silence. In a world of political correctness, I knew something like that could be hard to publish without someone getting upset, yet I bowed to the fact that ‘people have opinions’ and they will always differ. Many atrocities were committed during that war. Far to many to get upset over historical facts that we cannot change now. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and move forward in a positive way.

Ultan was not an Anzac, but his story is relevant and inspiring. I bought Ultan a Barramundi lunch and asked him about his childhood. He had very interesting story to tell me.

Ultan’s Journey

Ultan Murray was born in the county of Dublin, Ireland in 1926. He was one of 8 children of which 2 died at birth. His father died of cancer 6 months after Ultan’s birth.

I was being born in one room of the hospital while my father was dying in the room next to me“.

He was raised in orphanages due to his mother being uncapable of handling the finacial burden of so many children. However, Ultan still managed to meet his mother. He told me this:

My mother knew of my love for Japanese women. I wanted to move to Australia so I could use it as a base to get to Japan. Mother said to me:Why can’t you find a woman of your own kind?‘.”

Sounds just like something a mother would say…

Ultan Murray was based in Japan for 4 years. Although an official surrender was signed by Japan on the Battleship Missouri in 1945, a peace treaty wasn’t signed until 1951. Japan was under Martial Law and Ultan was stationed there for 4 years after the surrender. During this time, he suffered radiation from the bombs.

Ultan arrived in Australia in 1951 and has lived here for 58 years. I had a long conversation with him and shared some great insights on history, especially the Irish-Danish rivalry going back to year 800 AD. We spoke of how the last King of ireland was killed by a Dane, the history of the Victoria Cross, the Crimean war and much more.

I learned once again that every person holds a bestselling novel within them that should be shared with the rest of the world.

It was a pleasure to meet Ultan Murray on that day in Brisbane. He touched me with his story and it warmed my heart. Thank you, Ultan. On this day, we honor you and everyone else that made a sacrifice for the rest of us.

War is something that no one will ever truly understand the real horrors of – unless they were there and experienced it first hand. Everyone else can just sit back and hope it doesn’t happen to themselves and their loved ones. Meanwhile, let’s pay respects to the ones that endured these horrors on behalf of the rest of us.

Have a great Anzac Day.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Thanks for sharing Ultan’s story. So many more are untold.

  2. Thanks Sean. Well done and great that these old guys (and all our soldiers) have some proper recognition. Unfortunately, all too often they get more when they have died than when they are still alive.

  3. Thank you Ultan for fighting for our freedom. We will be paying our respect today to the many men and women who sacrificed their lives for us to live this wonderful life we have in Australia.

  4. Ray Tunny says:

    I’m glad that you published his story it is very moving and appropriate to be published on ANZAC day,my Great Grand father was Irish.

  5. Cade Arnel says:

    Thanks Sean for sharing Ultans story. We owe a great debt to the Anzacs for the freedom to enjoy the many great things about our country, of which many of us sometimes take for granted.

  6. Kelvin Lim says:

    This is a great story Sean! Thanks for sharing this! It’s amazing what the person sitting next to you has in store for you. It’s a very touching story.

  7. Thanks Sean for sharing this story. I’m glad I took the time to read it, it is very touching and what an interesting time you had while Cherie was shopping. Thanks to Ultan for fighting for us all.

    Hanne Kleins last blog post..Why Work At Home

  8. I am so happy I opted for a history lesson over Retail Therapy 😉

  9. Great story Sean thanks for sharing that mate!

  10. I think you got the best value that day, Sean! I love stories like these. Unfortunately they are too few and far between. It’s so important to put a real face on the people who protect your freedoms, regardless of what you might think of the wars they find themselves in.

    Mary Wards last blog post..AmSnow Test Rides Premier’s 200 & 300 cc Sleds

  11. David Wallis says:

    I have just returned from sharing Anzac day with my farther at Morpeth NSW. He is only now starting to open up and share some of his stories after 63 years. Ultan would have valued the fact that you took the time to listen and showed an interest in his story. Thank you for that and for sharing it with us. Each one of these veterans have a full length documentary inside them but most of these heart wrenching stories will go with them to the grave.

  12. David Torrisi says:

    Thanks for sharing that great story with us.

  13. thank you for sharing your story of Ultan Murray. What an amzing inspiring man. That is why we as a family attending our first dawn service. I am very proud to be Australian and a big believer in that we should pay respects to all the men that served our country.
    I wrote a blog so others could share our Anzac Day Dawn Service…hoping that it would not upset those that do not believe in the day.
    Thanks Sean for sharing your amazing story of such a brave man., did he find and marry his Japanese lady?


    lisa woods last blog post..No Drugs

  14. I just hope that they revoke the decision to not allow children to walk with the diggers this year. The kids need to get involved otherwise they are not going to learn the valuable lessons our history and these hero’s have to offer.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Sign Language for Babies =-.

  15. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Thank-you for sharing Ultan’s story. I am so grateful to everyone who fought in the wars. They sacrificed so much for our freedom. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.

  16. When you’re friendly, open and curious, this is the kind of human connections you can make. One minute, you’re drinking coffee and on Twitter. The next, you meet someone who makes your day with a story you share with the world. Exactly why I love life.
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..What life is about =-.

  17. Hi Sean,
    congratulations that you are such an open and interested person, connection with people around you. It is these “accidental” meetings that often turn out to be profound and absolutely interesting.
    Thanks for sharing it with us!
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  18. Sean

    What a great story. Only by being open and caring do we find out about these things. My wife is exactly like you being very open and friendly. I am working on transforming my reserved nature to also being able to do this

    Long may Anzac Day be remembered on both sides of the Tasman. It is still held in the same regard in NZ as it is here. Thankfully. Unfortunately there is still some who only see it as a day of.
    .-= Gee´s last blog ..Why You Should Just Ignore Fad Diets (Part 2) =-.

  19. Hello Sean,

    I remember reading about this blog. It was such a touching story and I am glad that I found it again. I wonder how Ultan Murray is doing? Be great if we could have his story taught at school, imagine if all history could be taught at schools from the person who experienced the story? We might get our young ones to really understand how lucky we are. Imagine having to be brought up without your family because your Mum could not support that many children? That is a tough call to make.

    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Our Kids Today =-.

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