Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 5, 1884
Place of BirthKilbeggan, Westmeath
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinElizabeth Murphy (mother), Forest Glen, Maryland, U.S.A.
Trade / CallingGardener
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number553028
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionFort Garry Horse
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentIroquois Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 26, 1916
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 16, 1943
Age at Death59
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotLiberty View, 36E-34-4

Murphy, Frank

Private Frank Murphy enlisted in May 1916 and served for three years with the Fort Garry Horse. He became ill with influenza in 1918 but he survived the war and returned to Canada in May 1919.

Frank (Francis) Murphy was born on 5 March 1884 in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, Ireland. He had at least one sister, Susan, and three brothers, Andrew, Robert and George. At the time of the 1901 census of Ireland Frank was working as a farm labourer and living at home in Mitchelstown, County Cork. His mother Elizabeth Murphy was listed as widowed, 50 years old and born in County Cavan. Early in 1911 Frank immigrated to the U.S., arriving in Philadelphia on 22 February on the SS Haverford, his occupation gardener and his destination Forest Glen, Maryland where his brother Robert was living. Forest Glen was a small town on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. George had immigrated the previous year and their mother joined them in July 1911, also going to Forest Glen.

Around 1913 Frank and George moved to Canada and settled in Hazel Cliffe, a farming community located in southeastern Saskatchewan near the town of Tantallon. George worked as a farm labourer and Frank was a gardener and florist. The war started in August 1914 and that fall they both made a trip back to Maryland to visit their family. George enlisted in November 1915, signing up in Winnipeg with the 144th Battalion, his address listed as Tantallon, Saskatchewan.  He went overseas in October 1916 and he was killed on 15 August 1917 at the Battle of Hill 70, while serving with the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles).

Frank enlisted in the spring of 1916, signing up with the Fort Garry Horse in Winnipeg on 26 May. His address was the Iroquois Hotel in Winnipeg and he said he had served for two years with the Irish Foot Guards. In August he was transferred to the 4th Overseas Draft and a month later they left for the UK, embarking on 12 September on the SS Northland and landing in England on 22 September.

Overseas service:
-in England Frank was transferred to the Fort Garry Horse Reserve Regiment
-in early March 1917 he was assigned to the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Shorncliffe Camp
-on 21 March he was sent to France and he joined the Fort Garry Horse in the field at the end of the month
-they were part of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and were based west of Amiens at the time
-the Fort Garry Horse squadrons had regular rotations in the front line as dismounted infantry units
-they also carried out raids on the German trenches, patrolled the front line, erected horse shelters, formed wiring parties, constructed gun emplacements, worked on trenches and built a first aid station
-in November they took part in the battle of Cambrai (20-21 November)
-in January 1918 Frank became ill with influenza; he was admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station then evacuated to an American army hospital in Rouen
-after a month in the hospital and several weeks at a convalescent centre he rejoined his unit in April
-on 23 April he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge for two years of service
-on 30 July he was given two weeks leave in the UK
-the Canadians were heavily involved in the last months of the war, a period known now as the Hundred Days Offensive (8 August – 11 November 1918)
-when the Armistice came into effect the Fort Garry Horse was northwest of Lens
-they advanced into Belgium ten days later and spent the next four months there
-the unit returned to France in mid-March 1919 and moved to Le Havre in mid-April
-most of the men embarked for England on 18 April on the SS Yale, landing at Southampton
-they marched to Bramshott Camp and were given eight days leave
-the men entrained for Liverpool on 21 May and embarked the same day on the SS Carmania, arriving in Halifax a week later

The Fort Garry Horse was demobilized in Winnipeg on 2 June but Frank chose detrain in Toronto. He was discharged there on 31 May, his intended address listed as Washington, D.C. where his mother was living. At some point he returned to Canada and in 1943 he was living in Orillia, Ontario. Late that summer he headed west by train, planning to find work in harvesting, but he only made it as far as Redditt in northwestern Ontario. He apparently got off the train in Redditt and his body was found a few days later in the bush east of the village. His military service file records his date of death as 16 September 1943. Frank’s funeral, held on 20 September in Kenora, was organized by the Canadian Legion and attended by local veterans. He is buried in the veterans section of Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

Murphy-Frank-1 Murphy-Frank-98

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