The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Murray, Alexander Leonard Image
  • 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 SS 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 (unmarked grave).

    by Judy Stockham

    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
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 21 August 1918

    KMN 21 August 1918

    KMN 12 April 1919

    KMN 12 April 1919

    A Gibson Meat Market

    A Gibson Meat Market

    KMN 29 June 1927

    KMN 29 June 1927

    Grand reopening on 29 June 1927 following a fire in May, AL Murray to the left, customers were given a complimentary silver meat fork and community plate.

    Grand reopening on 29 June 1927 following a fire in May, AL Murray to the left, customers were given a complimentary silver meat fork and community plate.

    “This was one of Dad’s specialty windows. Three piglets were dressed and set on chairs - then frozen in position as though playing poker. Cards were placed in front feet - poker chips and glasses were on the table - ginger ale (Canada Dry) was being served by butlers (life-size cardboard figures).” (comments by daughter Margaret)

    “This was one of Dad’s specialty windows. Three piglets were dressed and set on chairs – then frozen in position as though playing poker. Cards were placed in front feet – poker chips and glasses were on the table – ginger ale (Canada Dry) was being served by butlers (life-size cardboard figures).” (comments by daughter Margaret)

    The photograph shows the front window of Murray’s Grocery, which was located at the northwest corner of Matheson Street and Second Street South. The window shows a fish display hanging outside, with a 235lb halibut on the left, and on the right, an octopus, or ‘devil fish’, according to the sign. Inside the store, visible through the window, is a display of fruits. A man is visible through the window. Written on the back in ink and marker is the following, “Murrays Store- 1930 Corner 2nd + Matheson”; “courtesy F.J. Poirier.”

    The photograph shows the front window of Murray’s Grocery, which was located at the northwest corner of Matheson Street and Second Street South. The window shows a fish display hanging outside, with a 235lb halibut on the left, and on the right, an octopus, or ‘devil fish’, according to the sign. Inside the store, visible through the window, is a display of fruits. A man is visible through the window. Written on the back in ink and marker is the following, “Murrays Store- 1930 Corner 2nd + Matheson”; “courtesy F.J. Poirier.”

    Kenora Legion past presidents

    Kenora Legion past presidents

  • Regimental Number:
  • 425113
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 18th Reserve Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Ignace, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Thomas Chandonet, mother, Kenora, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 14, 1890
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Wood Turner
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Brandon, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • January 20, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 24
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 1, 1954
  • Age at Death:
  • 64
  • Buried at:
  • Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Plot:
  • Last Supper Lot 100 Grave D1
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • 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 SS 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 (unmarked grave).

    by Judy Stockham

    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
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 21 August 1918

    KMN 21 August 1918

    KMN 12 April 1919

    KMN 12 April 1919

    A Gibson Meat Market

    A Gibson Meat Market

    KMN 29 June 1927

    KMN 29 June 1927

    Grand reopening on 29 June 1927 following a fire in May, AL Murray to the left, customers were given a complimentary silver meat fork and community plate.

    Grand reopening on 29 June 1927 following a fire in May, AL Murray to the left, customers were given a complimentary silver meat fork and community plate.

    “This was one of Dad’s specialty windows. Three piglets were dressed and set on chairs - then frozen in position as though playing poker. Cards were placed in front feet - poker chips and glasses were on the table - ginger ale (Canada Dry) was being served by butlers (life-size cardboard figures).” (comments by daughter Margaret)

    “This was one of Dad’s specialty windows. Three piglets were dressed and set on chairs – then frozen in position as though playing poker. Cards were placed in front feet – poker chips and glasses were on the table – ginger ale (Canada Dry) was being served by butlers (life-size cardboard figures).” (comments by daughter Margaret)

    The photograph shows the front window of Murray’s Grocery, which was located at the northwest corner of Matheson Street and Second Street South. The window shows a fish display hanging outside, with a 235lb halibut on the left, and on the right, an octopus, or ‘devil fish’, according to the sign. Inside the store, visible through the window, is a display of fruits. A man is visible through the window. Written on the back in ink and marker is the following, “Murrays Store- 1930 Corner 2nd + Matheson”; “courtesy F.J. Poirier.”

    The photograph shows the front window of Murray’s Grocery, which was located at the northwest corner of Matheson Street and Second Street South. The window shows a fish display hanging outside, with a 235lb halibut on the left, and on the right, an octopus, or ‘devil fish’, according to the sign. Inside the store, visible through the window, is a display of fruits. A man is visible through the window. Written on the back in ink and marker is the following, “Murrays Store- 1930 Corner 2nd + Matheson”; “courtesy F.J. Poirier.”

    Kenora Legion past presidents

    Kenora Legion past presidents

  • « Return to all stories
  • Murray, Alexander Leonard Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 425113
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 18th Reserve Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Ignace, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Thomas Chandonet, mother, Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 14, 1890
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Wood Turner
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Brandon, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • January 20, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 24
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 1, 1954
  • Age at Death:
  • 64
  • Buried at:
  • Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Plot:
  • Last Supper Lot 100 Grave D1
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Murray, Alexander Leonard

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