Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 25, 1896
Place of BirthWinnipeg, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGeorge White Murray, father, 1117 Grosvenor Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingStudent
Service Details
Regimental Number910196
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Canadian Divisional Mechanical Transport Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 1, 1916
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 27, 1971
Age at Death74
Buried AtEl Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California

Murray, John Lyon Pither

John Lyon Pither Murray was born on 25 December 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father George White Murray was from Scotland, immigrating to Canada in 1881, while his mother Flora Rachel Barr Lyon was from the Milton, Ontario area. The couple married in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario on 5 February 1889. At the time of the marriage George was working as a contractor in nearby Keewatin. By the time daughter Gertrude’s birth that December, the family had moved to Winnipeg where George was to become a prominent business man, owner and manager of a planing mill. Other children born to the family in Winnipeg were Margaret (1892), John, Samuel Crawford (1899), and William (1903). Sadly Flora died in 1908 in Winnipeg, with George later marrying Ann Martin in 1912. By the time of the 1916 census household members were George and Ann, John, Crawford, and William.

With occupation given as student and his father in Winnipeg as next of kin, John signed his attestation papers in St Vital (now part of Winnipeg) on 1 May 1916. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 196th Battalion (Western Universities) began recruiting during the winter of 1915/16 in universities throughout western Canada. After arriving in Liverpool, England on 11 November aboard the Southland, the battalion was absorbed into the 19th Reserve Battalion on 2 January 1917.

In mid February 1917 John was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps at Seaford and then posted to Bramshott in late May. In October he was reposted to the CASC Base Depot and then was on draft to overseas in mid December. In late December John was posted to the 3rd Canadian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park, taken on strength in April 1918 with the 3rd Canadian Divisional Mechanical Transport Company that had been formed that month by the amalgamation of No 3 Canadian Divisional Supply Column and No 3 Canadian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park. In December John was granted a leave from the 28th to 11 January 1919. With the end of the war he proceeded to England in mid March 1919, embarking for Canada aboard the Scotian on 6 May. John was discharged from service on 18 May in Winnipeg, intended residence given as with his father George in Winnipeg.

John’s sister Gertrude married Francis Cameron (Frank) Jamieson in 1914 in Winnipeg. Going overseas with the 184th Battalion and transferring to the 78th Battalion where he was promoted to Sergeant, Frank was reported as killed in action on 9 April 1917 during the attack on Vimy Ridge. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. Gertrude never remarried, raising their son and daughter alone and later moving to California where she died in San Diego in 1972.

John stayed in Canada for a few years after the war, immigrating to the United States in 1926. On 31 January 1929, in Crown Point in Indiana, he married Augusta Myrtle (née Chilcott) Coxworth. Born in 1903 in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, Augusta married Victor Coxworth in 1921 in Winnipeg. They immigrated to the States in 1923, giving birth to two sons before they divorced. By the time of the 1930 census John, Augusta, and her two sons Llewellyn and Robert were living in Harvey, Cook, Illinois where John was working as a auto mechanic in a Cadillac shop and Augusta as a stenographer in a radio factory. They also took in a roomer, Alfred Marco. In 1931 the family returned to Canada and were living in Kenora, Ontario when they gave birth to daughter Jacquelin in 1934. While in Kenora John was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. In 1951 the family moved back to Illinois where Jacquelin married John Slater in Dolton in 1956. At some point John and Augusta moved to San Diego where his sister Gertrude was living.

John died on 27 January 1971 in San Diego. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Augusta, his daughter Jacquelin Slater, son Robert Coxworth, siblings William, Gertrude Jamieson, and Margaret Elder. He was predeceased by his mother, his brother Crawford in 1925 in Regina, and father George in 1933 in Winnipeg. John is interred in the El Camino Cemetery in San Diego.

By Judy Stockham

Gravemarker photo: courtesy of EJ Mortensen,
Obituary: courtesy of Donna Gagnon Pugh, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (Facebook)

Murray-John-Lyon-2 Murray-John-Lyon-3

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