|Date of Birth||January 14, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Sister: Mrs. M. Hickey - Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||December 24, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 14, 1962|
|Age at Death||68|
|Buried At||Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
William, known by his middle name of ‘Miller’, was born in Keewatin, the son of John Murdoch and Catherine (Kate) Lithgow. Their father, John, was a tinsmith in Keewatin. Miller’s older, siblings were Annie, Norman and Howard. After William came Donald Herbert who also joined up with the army serving in WW1. Going back in time to 1891, we find this family was already living in Keewatin. The children’s heritage is listed as their father’s which was Scottish. Their mother, Kate, died in 1899 and their father, John died in 1915 by drowning. Both parents are buried in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
The day before Christmas on the 24th December 1915 Miller signed up in Kenora, Ontario with the 94th Overseas Battalion. In one week he would turn 22 years old. William embarked from Halifax aboard the S.S. Olympic on 28 June 1916. When he arrived in England he was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion. On 24 August 1916 William was sent to France with the 43rd Battalion. During the battle of the Somme, he was severely injured when he received multiple shrapnel wounds to both shoulders, his right hand, his left arm and both legs. William was admitted to #1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples on 11 October 1916. The ring finger of his right hand had been blown off and he required surgery to his left knee. On 14 November 1916 he was admitted to Barnet War Hospital in England. After time in two more English hospitals William returned to Canada on 31 August 1917 aboard the S.S. Carmania. He was admitted to the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital in Winnipeg on 18 September 1917. That December he was reported dangerously ill with pneumonia. A medical board recommended further convalescence in January of 1918. On 10 April 1918 William received his official discharge from the army as being medically unfit for further service.
The 1921 Canadian Census shows William rooming with the Robert Gowler family in Winnipeg. His occupation is listed as millwright. Eleven years later, on 15 July 1932, he married Robert’s daughter, Pearl Gowler. They had one son, Murray. William worked for the Canadian National Railway out of Winnipeg and held that job for 35 years before retiring in 1959. He was an active member of the CNR Veteran’s Association, the Oddfellows Lodge, the Canadian Legion and the Amputation Association.
On August 14, 1962 William Miller Murdoch died in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was 68 years old. He was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Garden Cemetery in Winnipeg.
By Linda Pelletier
Veteran death card courtesy of Library and Archives Canada. Obituary from the Winnipeg Free Press 15 August 1962.