Private Murray MacKenzie Whetung – C 120121 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
Murray MacKenzie was 20 years, 8 months and 9 days old when, as a single man, he was Attested onto the General List (Reinforcements) August 8, 1942 at No 3A District Depot, Kingston Ontario. Murray MacKenzie , a North American Native Indian, resided at Curve Lake, Ontario; stated that he was born at Curve Lake, Ontario November 30, 1921 and indicate that he had no previous military experience. His occupation was listed as a truck driver and an electrician. At the time he was 5′ 8″ tall, weighed 155 pounds, brown eyes and black hair. His next-of-kin was his mother, Muriel Emerald Whetung, his father is Daniel Eli Whetung. He entered the Service as a Private (Pte) with Service Number C 120121.
On August 8, 1942 Pte Whetung was taken-on-strength to No 3A District Depot (DD), Kingston Ontario. About 3 weeks later, on August 28, 1942 he was struck-off-strength on transfer to No 32 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre [CA(B)TC] at Peterborough, Ontario. Then, on August 29, 1942 he was taken-on-strength to CA(B)TC for all purposes from No 3A DD. After 2 months of Basic Training Pte Whetung was transferred to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCSigs); designated as a Signalman (Sigmn) and struck-off-strength on October 27, 1942 for all purposes on transfer to Royal Canadian Signals Training Centre (RCSTC) (A-7) at Barriefield, Ontario. On October 28, 1942 he was taken-on-strength with the Canadian Signal Training Centre (RCSTC) at Barriefield, Ontario.
For the next 5 months Sigmn Whetung would undergo training as a Lineman at the RCSTC in Barriefield. On January 1, 1943 he was authorized to draw $1.40 per diem and then on January 13, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was granted 6 days leave and allowances in lieu of rations until January 18, 1943. January 27, 1943 he was Trade qualified as a Lineman, Group B, Grade II. On February 3, 1943 while at the RCSTC in Barriefield, Ontario Sigmn Whetung was granted permission to marry Miss Ella Elva Georgina Taylor residing at Curve Lake, Ontario on March 20, 1943. The date for the marriage was amended to: “On or after February 15, 1943”. Then on February 5, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was granted a 14-day Furlough, with Ration Allowance, to February 18, 1943. On February 8, 1943 he was authorized to draw $1.50 per diem and February 10, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was granted 7 days Embarkation Leave with a Ration Allowance to February 18, 1943; this was issued with Special Leave and a Transportation Warrant. Sigmn Whetung and Ella Elva were married in Bridgenorth, Ontario on February 15, 1943. March 1, 1943 he was granted Trades Pay as a Lineman, Group B, Grade II of $0.25 per diem.
On March 26, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was struck-off-strength from RCSTC Kingston, Ontario on posting Overseas. March 28, 1943 he was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army (Canada) on embarkation from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The next day, March 29, 1943 he was taken-on-strength from the Canadian Army (Canada) to the Canadian Army (Overseas). On April 4, 1943 Sigmn Whetung disembarked in the United Kingdom (UK) and was Trade qualified as a Lineman Group “C”, Grade II. The next day, April 5, 1943 he reported to the No 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit (No 1 CSRU). On April 7, 1943 he ceases to draw Trades Pay for Lineman Group “C”. On May 7, 1943 Sigmn Whetung’s next-of-kin address was changed to his wife’s address, Mrs. E. Whetung, Curve Lake, Ontario.
On June 24, 1943, after about 2 months and 3 weeks of training with No 1 CSRU, Sigmn Whetung was struck-off-strength to No 1 Lines of Communication (No 1 L of C), RC Sigs. June 25, 1943 he was taken-on-strength to No 1 L of C, RC Sigs from No 1 CSRU and granted Trades Pay for Lineman Group “C”; he was in the 3rd Construction Company. August 9, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was attached for all purposes to No 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit (No 1 CSRU). On December 12, 1943 he ceased to be attached to No 1 CSRU. December 17, 1943 Sigmn Whetung was admitted to No 6 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS); the same day he was struck-off-strength from No 1 L of C, RC Sigs to No 1 CRSU on being admitted to No 9 General Hospital; Sigmn
Whetung was in the hospital due to severe flu symptoms. December 18, 1943 he was taken-on-strength to No 9 General Hospital from No 1 L of C, RC Sigs. January 15, 1944 Sigmn Whetung was struck-off-strength to the Y-3 List while in No 9 General Hospital and on January 16, 1944 he was taken-on-strength to the Y-3 List from No 1 CSRU while in No 9 General Hospital.
The six months from July 1943 to January 1944 have no actions recorded in Sigmn Whetung Military records; undoubtedly he was doing some duties and a lot of Lineman training in the UK. On February 1, 1944 Sigmn Whetung was discharged from No 9 General Hospital. February 2, 1944 he was taken-on-strength to No 1 CRSU from the Y-3 List and his Trades Pay for Lineman ceased. February 3, 1944 Sigmn Whetung was granted Trades Pay as Lineman Group “C”. February 18, 1944 he was granted 9 days Privileged Leave to February 26, 1944. On March 9, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from No 1 CRSU to No 1 L of C, RC Sigs as a Lineman and March 10, 1944 Sigmn Whetung was taken-on-strength to No 1 L of C, RC Sigs as a Lineman. May 10, 1944 he was attached to No 2 L of C, RC Sigs.
After four more months of training Sigmn Whetung embarked the UK on June 16, 1944 and disembarked in France on June 18, 1944 as a member of No 1 L of C, RC Sigs but attached to No 2 L of C. July 24, 1944 he ceased to be attached to No 2 L of C, RC Sigs. August 8, 1944 he was awarded his 1st Good Conduct Badge. Sigmn Whetung’s duties and employment for the period of time he spent in France are not detailed in his Military Records. However, he has stated that he installed a lot of telephone lines and at times was fortunate to escape dangerous situations. Sigmn Whetung was instrumental in running lines from Juno Beach to Brussels, Belgium and beyond.
On February 8, 1945 Sigmn Whetung was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. On April 4, 1945 Sigmn Whetung was granted 9 days Privileged Leave to the UK until April 13, 1945. June 5, 1945 he was attached to the Canadian Section, 2nd Echelon, Headquarters Echelon in the Field. July 25, 1945 Sigmn Whetung ceased to be attached to the Canadian Section, 2nd Echelon and was struck-off-strength to No 4 Company, No 1 L of C, RC Sigs. On July 26, 1945 he was attached to the Canadian Section, 2nd Echelon again. Sigmn Whetung was now a member of the No 1 Canadian Base Sigs Company and was awarded the 1939 – 1945 Star, the France & Germany Star and the Defence Medal.
September 6, 1945 Sigmn Whetung ceased to receive Trades Pay for Lineman “C”. September 7, 1945 Sigmn Whetung was Trade qualified as Lineman “B” and granted Trades Pay as a Lineman “B”. On October 1, 1945 he was struck-off-strength from No 1 Canadian Base Sigs Company to No 1 Canadian Repatriation Depot and ceased to be attached to the Canadian Section, 2nd Echelon. October 4, 1945 Sigmn Whetung was taken-on-strength to No 1 Canadian Repatriation Depot from X-8 List. October 15, 1945 he was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army (Overseas) and No 1 Non-effective Transit Depot (NETD) Note: No mention was made of being placed on the X-8 List nor No 1 NETD. October 16, 1945 Sigmn Whetung was taken-on-strength to No 3A District Depot (DD), Kingston Ontario from the Canadian Army (Overseas) and No 1 Canadian Repatriation Depot. Also on October 16, 1945 he was granted 30 days Disembarkation Leave to November 15, 1945. Sigmn Whetung was released, on demobilization, from No 3A DD, Kingston on December 4, 1945.
Sigmn Whetung was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
France & Germany Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for the General Service Badge.
Murray MacKenzie Whetung served for 9 months, 9 days in Canada, 1 year, 2 months and 12 days in the United Kingdom, 1 year, 3 months and 16 days in France, plus 19 days travelling. He served his Country for a total of 3 years, 3 months and 26 days.
Murray related an interesting recounting about three Native Indians who made throwing devices, something like lacrosse sticks, during the War. They used these to “launch” grenades into tank turrets and other places which immobilized the tanks and killed a lot of the enemy. Apparently they could launch the grenades over 100 yards. The individuals earned recognition and medals for saving many allied soldier’s lives.
Murray MacKenzie had insurance with Manufacturers Life, however, he didn’t make arrangements for payment of his Insurance Premiums.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
MURRAY MacKENZIE WHETUNG
Murray MacKenzie Whetung was born November 30, 1921 at Curve Lake, Ontario; he goes by the name “Murray”. Murray attended school at Curve Lake from 1926 to 1934, he was educated at the Curve Lake School up to Grade 8 and then took extension work at Curve Lake to a Grade 10 level. He then attended the Peterborough Collegiate Vocational School (PCVS) in Peterborough Ontario, starting at Grade 10, for two years completing Grade 11 in 1936. At PCVS he completed courses on electricity, blue print reading, motor design and math including trigonometry. Murray completed school at the age of 16 years; he spoke and read English and Chippewa fluently and enjoyed hunting, fishing and skating.
Murray worked for about 1 year as a Grocery & General Store Clerk for his father. When Murray was about 16 years old he worked at Farmer’s Co-Op in Peterborough, for about a year, driving a pick-up truck to make deliveries. He then worked at the Canadian General Electric (CGE) Company repairing motors for one year followed by helping to put in footings at the Western Clock Company for Eastwood Construction; unfortunately they ran out of steel and the job was set aside. When work ran out Murray travelled to St. Catharines to pick peaches and then worked in the Canning Factory. Along the way, he also worked for Redpath’s Construction as a mechanic fixing construction machinery and at Frank Coyle’s Garage as a mechanic. Murray also worked for Parker on contract with Bell to rewire an old exchange in Arthur, Ontario (near Barrie) in 1942.
Murray married Ella Elva Georgina Taylor of Curve Lake at Bridgenorth Ontario, in the Minister’s house, on February 15, 1943; the wedding party consisted of four persons. Elva also went by the name “Cobe” and she was an avid champion in the sport of darts. Murray & Elva had 13 children in the following order: Joanne, Dixie Pearl, Daniel Eli, Althea, James, Elma, Lorenzo Dowe, Wesley, Mark, Lovenia, Arnold, Mary and Christopher. All children are living except for Lovenia who died about 2001.
Murray had indicated that after his Service he was interested in being a Lineman for Bell Telephone or a Hydro Electric Power Company. He also gave some thought to opening a tourist venture.
Murray worked at Outboard Marine in Peterborough for about 18 years on a variety of jobs. He ran a drilling machine, did varsol-washing of parts and worked on motors honing cylinders. In the 1980s Murray went into the Ministry field; he took schooling and became a Minister on the Alderville Indian Reserve located on Highway 45, just South of Rice Lake for about 8 years.
While Murray didn’t fulfill his desire to be a Lineman for Bell Telephone nor for a Hydro Electric Power Company and didn’t have a tourist business he certainly was active in a number of other fields. In 2005 Murray underwent major surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his abdomen (right side). After the surgery he weighed only 97 pounds! He has recovered very well and is very active as of October 2014.
THE MURRAY MacKENZIE WHETUNG FAMILY OF CURVE LAKE
Murray MacKenzie’s paternal grandparents are Daniel Whetung, born July 1849 at Mud Lake Indian Reserve & Elizabeth Anderson, born July 1853 at Hiawatha Indian Reserve. Daniel & Elizabeth had 8 children: William, born circa 1871; Albert born circa 1874; Robert born circa 1875; Harriet, born circa 1876; Daniel Eli born February 1878; George born circa 1881; Daisy born April 1888 and Starr born circa 1890.
Murray MacKenzie’s parents, Daniel Eli Whetung, born February 1878 at Curve Lake, Ontario & Muriel Emerald Jones, born about 1883 in Ontario, were married in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, County of York, Ontario on January 19, 1916. Muriel was of Irish descent, she died in 1997; Daniel was a Merchant and the Post Master in Curve Lake, he died in 1948. Daniel & Muriel had the following children: Floyd, born 1916, died circa 1943 at 27 years of age; Clifford, born 1918, died circa 2011 and Murray MacKenzie, born November 30, 1921.