Martyn was born in Thornton-upon-Tees in Teeside on 18 July 1937.
Whilst giving a lecture at Newcastle University he was approached by someone who said they wanted a metallurgist to work in Malta on the dry docks on behalf of Swan Hunter. Martyn applied for the job and had a first interview in Wallsend and was flown out to Malta for second interview. He got the job as senior metallurgist for dry docks on secondment from Swan Hunter in 1966.
Martyn returned to Britain and joined Swan Hunter in 1971. His job was to formalise a group laboratory so that all the yards owned by Swan Hunter worked towards the same processes and procedures, in particular health and safety standards for those working with gas, asbestos and loud noise.
Martyn worked at Swan Hunter as general manager of health and safety until 1989 when he was made redundant.
Martyn was interviewed by Alex Magin on 22 March 2007. The interview took place at Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum and lasted for 28 minutes.