Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of Birth1893
Place of BirthDunblane, Perthshire
Marital StatusSingle (married in 1917)
Trade / CallingPoliceman
Service Details
Regimental Number2082
Battalion6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentPerth, Scotland
Date of EnlistmentAugust or September 1914
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 11, 1952
Age at Death59
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Murray, James Hugh

Lance Corporal James Hugh Murray joined the British army early in the war and served with the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) until July 1916, when he suffered a serious leg wound. He was discharged in December 1917.

James was born in 1893 in Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of Alexander and Margaret Murray. Alexander, a cotton mill worker, grew up in Perthshire and his wife was from Fifeshire. James had at least five sisters, all born in Dunblane: Elizabeth, Katie, Jane, Margaret and Jessie. He also had an older brother Charles, born in the nearby village of Devonside. When James was 16 years old he joined the Territorial Army, which was a reserve force similar to the militia in Canada. Before the war started he worked as a policeman in Edinburgh.

When war broke out James was one of the early volunteers, signing up in Perth, Scotland in either August or September of 1914. He was assigned to the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) and he served in their machine gun corps. The regiment was part of the 153rd Infantry Brigade in the 51st Highland Division. James arrived in France with his unit on 2 May 1915 and over the next fourteen months they took part in several major operations. James suffered a serious wound to his leg on 3 July 1916, at the Somme Offensive. After a long recuperation in the hospital he was honourably discharged on 21 December 1917. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the Silver War Badge, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

James was married while he was still in the hospital recovering from his wound. His wife, Mary Elizabeth Bullen, was one of the nurses who looked after him. They were married on 3 November 1917 at the Independent Chapel in Wallasey, Cheshire. James’ address at the time was New Hospital, Garston, Liverpool. Mary’s occupation was hospital nurse and she was living on Duke Street in Wallasey. She was born in 1890 in Kirkdale, Liverpool and she had a brother John Crellin Bullen and a sister Grace. John served in the 18th Welsh Regiment during the war and Grace was a supervisor in a munitions factory.

After his discharge from the army James found work as a grain weighman in New Brighton, Cheshire, where Mary’s family lived. He and Mary had two children, John in 1918 and Marion in 1924, both born in Wallasey. Friends encouraged the couple to immigrate to Canada and they made the move in the spring of 1926, arriving in Montreal on 26 April on the SS Montrose. Also immigrating with them were Mary’s brother and sister, and they all settled in Kenora, Ontario. James was employed by the Maple Leaf Milling Company at first then by the local pulp and paper mill. He had a long career at the paper mill, working his way up to tour foreman.

James was a member of the Lake of the Woods Masonic Lodge and the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion. His son and daughter both served in the Second World War, John with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and Marion with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. John continued his career in the army after the war and he became a Lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Artillery.

James passed away at home on 11 June 1952, at age 59, and Mary died four years later. They are both buried in Angel Crest Block at Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Mary’s brother John and sister Grace are also buried there.

By Becky Johnson

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