Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 31, 1890
Place of BirthKirkdale, Liverpool
Marital StatusSingle (married in 1917)
Next of KinParents John and Marian Bullen
Trade / CallingNurse
Service Details
BranchSoldier Biographies
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Theatre of ServiceFrance and England
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19561022
Age at Death66
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Bullen, Mary Elizabeth

Nurse Mary Elizabeth Bullen was the oldest daughter of John Bullen and Marian Crellin of New Brighton, Cheshire, England. Her parents were both born in Liverpool and they were married there in 1889. Mary was born in Kirkdale, Liverpool on 31 August 1890. Her sister Grace Emily was born in Liverpool in 1893 and their brother John Crellin in 1900 in Seacombe, Cheshire. At the time of the 1911 census the family was living in New Brighton, about 2 km north of Seacombe, and Mary’s father was employed as a warehouse keeper. Mary, age 20, was living at home and working as an assistant in a sweets shop.

Mary turned 24 a few weeks after the war started and she served as a nurse in both France and England. She married one of her patients, Lance Corporal James Hugh Murray. James served with the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) and he suffered a serious leg wound in July 1916 at the Somme. They were married on 3 November 1917 at the Independent Chapel in Wallasey, Cheshire. James was still recovering from his injury at the time and his address was New Hospital, Garston, Liverpool. Mary’s occupation was hospital nurse and she was living on Duke Street in Wallasey. Her sister Grace worked as a supervisor in a munitions factory and her brother John Bullen was serving in the 18th Welsh Regiment.

James was discharged from the army in December 1917 and he found work as a grain weighman in New Brighton, Cheshire, where Mary’s family lived. He and Mary had two children, John in 1918 and Marion in 1924, both born in Wallasey. Mary’s mother died in 1919 and her father in 1924. Friends encouraged James and his family to move to Canada and they immigrated in the spring of 1926, along with Mary’s brother and sister. They arrived in Montreal on 24 April on the SS Montrose and they all settled in Kenora, Ontario where James had friends living.

Mary became very active in the community. She was the organist and choir leader at the First Baptist Church for more than twenty years and she worked with other local choirs. She was involved in music festivals and was a member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, Canadian Legion, serving a term as president. She also belonged to the Ladies Orange Benevolent Society. Her son and daughter both served in the Second World War, John with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and Marion with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. John continued his career in the army after the war and became a Lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Artillery.

James had a long career with the pulp and paper mill in Kenora. He passed away in 1952, at age 59, and Mary died in the Kenora General Hospital on 22 October 1956, at age 66. They are buried in Angel Crest Block at Lake of the Woods Cemetery, along with Mary’s brother John and sister Grace.

By Becky Johnson

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