|Date of Birth||March 19, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Charles McMurdie, father, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Electrician|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||Canadian Army Service Corps|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Army Service Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||June 5, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 25, 1948|
|Age at Death||57|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
|Plot||RC E - 6 - 4|
Joseph Francis McMurdie was born on 19 March 1891 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. Born in Lambeth, Surrey, England, father Charles McMurdie had immigrated to Canada around 1870 while his mother Catherine (née Sullivan) McMurdie was from Peterborough, Ontario. Although Charles was found in the Rat Portage area for the 1881 Canada census, the couple had married on 04 October 1881 across the Ontario border in Erie, Pennsylvania where their first child, Marie Josephine was born.
By the 1891 Canada census the family was living in Rat Portage and had grown: household members were Charles and Catherine, and children Marie Josephine (b 1883), Catherine Gertrude (b 1984), Charles (b 1885), Edward Alphonse (b 1887), and Joseph Francis (b 1891). For a number of years Charles worked as an engineer/machinist on the steamboat D L Mather, plying the waters of Lake of the Woods. Tragedy struck the family in 1895 when Marie Josephine died at only 12 years of age.
On 4 June 1907 Gertrude married James Horan, son of John and Mary Ann (née McFadden) of Seaforth, Ontario. By the 1911 Canada census both families were living side by side on First Street in Kenora; young Edward and Joseph were working as clerks in a grocery store.
Joseph Francis McMurdie enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 5 June 1916, occupation given as electrician. He embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia in late September, taken on strength with the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot at Shorncliffe upon arrival in England. On 22 December he arrived in France and the following January of 1917 was posted to the No 3 Canadian Divisional Supply Column, CASC. In April of 1918 he was struck off strength to the 3rd Canadian Divisional Mechanical Transport Company upon its formation, followed by a transfer to the 4th CDMTC the next month. In January of 1919, Joseph was granted a fourteen day leave to Paris, and by May he was back in England. Private Joseph McMurdie returned to Canada in mid June aboard the Olympic.
Joseph continued to live in Kenora for a while, following in his father’s footsteps working as superintendent at the power house. He then moved to Detroit for several years, returning to Kenora to work as a guard at the Provincial Gaol, and later as night caretaker for the Court House.
Joseph’s mother Catherine died on 2 February 1923 and his father Charles on 16 February 1932. For a number of years before his death he had worked as superintendent of the power plant. Both are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
Joseph’s brother Edward had enlisted in Edmonton where he had been living, and with the 49th Battalion he was reported as killed in action on 29 September 1918. Gertrude’s husband James Horan had enlisted on 15th January 1916 and on 25 October of the same year, while with the 46th Battalion, he was also reported as killed in action. Both are commemorated on the Kenora Cenotaph.
Gertrude remained in Kenora, raising their three children Marion, James and Francis Joseph. Joseph’s brother Charles married Zella Warner and lived for the most part in Michigan although Charles later died in Los Angeles, California.
Joseph Francis McMurdie died in Kenora on 25 December 1948. It appears that he never married. He is interred in the Roman Catholic section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.
by Judy Stockham
obituary: Kenora Miner and News 28 December 1948
Joseph’s grave marker was installed in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.