Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 14, 1890
Place of BirthIgnace, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Thomas Chandonet, mother, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingWood Turner
Service Details
Regimental Number425113
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion78th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 20, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Medal
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 1, 1954
Age at Death64
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotLast Supper Lot 100 Grave D1

Murray, Alexander Leonard

Alexander Leonard (Leo) Murray was born on 14 May 1890 in Ignace in northwestern Ontario. He was the son of Alexander Morin and Leah Ross, the family surname eventually changed to Murray. Leo had an older brother Joseph Theodore and younger siblings Annie Rose and Arthur Joseph (Archie). It appears that his father died and Leah married Thomas Chandonet with the family living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) by the turn of the century. Children born to Thomas and Leah were Amanda, Ernest, and Alexandria. By the 1911 census Thomas was working at as a miller at a sawmill and Leo was listed as a millhand (turner).

With occupation given as wood turner and his mother Leah Chandonet in Kenora as next of kin, Leo signed his attestation papers in Brandon, Manitoba on 20 January 1915. Active Militia was given as the 99th Manitoba Rangers band and place of birth as Kenora. Organized in December of 1914 and mobilized at Brandon the 45th Battalion recruited in Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Winnipeg, Virden, Souris, Minnedosa, and Dauphin. As a Sergeant with the 45th Battalion, Leo embarked from Halifax aboard the  Lapland on 17 March 1916.

In July of 1916 Leo was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion and then reverted to the rank of Private to proceed overseas in November of 1917 to join the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers) that had arrived in France the previous August. That December Leo was appointed Corporal and then confirmed as Sergeant in July of 1918. The 78th Battalion took part in many of the major battles during the war. On 9 August 1918 at the Battle of Amiens Leo sustained a gunshot wound to the hand. First admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station he spent a few days at the No 6 General Hospital before being invalided to England to the Queen Mary’s Military Hospital at Whalley on the 13th. In early September he was transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park Epsom with discharge on the 23rd. Leo was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion and with the end of the hostilities, he arrived back in Canada aboard the Carmania on the 30th of December. For his actions in the field that August Leo was awarded the Military Medal on the 11th.

Leo’s brother Archie signed recruitment papers in March of 1918 in Port Arthur, Ontario with the 99th Regimental Draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment. Details of his service are not known.

Leo returned to Kenora and in early 1919 took over the Gibson-Gage grocery store and butcher shop, eventually changing the name to Murray’s Meat Market and Grocery Store. On 8 October 1919, in Brandon, Leo married Alice Jane Pope. Born in 1894 in Brandon, Alice was the daughter of John and Mary (née Darroch) Pope. Leo and Alice were to make Kenora their home where they gave birth to two children, a baby born in 1928 that only lived for three days, and a daughter, Margaret Leona. Leo was active in the Canadian Legion, president of the local branch for 1936-1940 and 1945-1946. He was an active member in the Kenora Rowing Club and served as president of the club twice, a lover of the outdoors, and booster of all sports. He played an important part in the formation and operation of various town bands and was a member of the Laquanda Lodge AF and AM, Kenora. Leo served as an alderman on the Kenora town council from 1930 to 1934. Retiring from his business in 1946, Leo and Alice moved to Winnipeg in late 1953/early 1954. Leo earned the reputation of a progressive and innovated businessman.

Leo died on 1 April 1954 at his home on Mulvey Avenue in Winnipeg. At the time he was survived by his wife Alice, daughter Margaret (Robert) Wardrop, brothers Archie and Ernest and sister Amanda Lacombe. Alice later moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan where her daughter Margaret and husband George Taylor were living, and passed away on 11 May 1983. Leo and Alice are interred in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

by Judy Stockham

Murray-Alexander-Leonard-2 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-3 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-4 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-5 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-6 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-7 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-8 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-9 Murray-Alexander-Leonard-10

Canada Military Honours and Awards Citation card: Library and Archives Canada
photo of A Gibson Meat Market: University of Toronto
photos of Murray’s Grocery: Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
grave marker photographs by Erin Murray,

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