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Gerry Murphy: Irish rugby star, Army padre and chaplain to the Queen

Canon Gerry Murphy, who has died aged 87, had a distinguished church career during which he was a former domestic chaplain to the Queen. He was also an excellent rugby player who won six caps as a full-back for Ireland.

John Gervase Maurice Walker Murphy (right) was born in Bangor, Co Down, on August 20, 1926 and he was educated at Methodist College, Belfast.

In 1944 he joined the Irish Guards and was later commissioned in the Royal Ulster Rifles. He went to Trinity College Dublin as an undergraduate in 1947 prior to taking holy orders. He became captain at rugby in Trinity and, in 1951, won his first cap for Ireland against South Africa.

During his early career he was a Church of Ireland curate at Shankill in Lurgan.

A modest and unassuming man, in 1955 he became a Royal Army chaplain and served in Korea. He served in Aden and Cyprus before becoming senior chaplain to the Commonwealth Brigade, and then serving with the Army of the Rhine from 1969-72.

After a period at Sandhurst, he returned to the Rhine Army as assistant chaplain-general, and returned to Aldershot before retiring from the Army.

Canon Murphy returned to parish life in 1977 and was rector at Ranworth in the Norfolk Broads. Two years later he served at Sandringham, where he was domestic chaplain to the Queen in residence.

In 1987 he became the rector at Christ Church Cathedral in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

After four years he returned to England, and he finally retired to Norfolk.

Canon Murphy is survived by his wife Joy and daughters Maryan, Desiree, Nicola, Geraldine and Felicity.

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