Canadian Expeditionary Force
In 1905, at the age of 19 Murray married Mabel Morrill. On August 8, 1916, Murray enlisted in Val Cartier, Quebec with the 145th Battalion. He was 30 years old. He had previous military experience as he had served with the 74th Regiment for nine years as a cook. He arrived overseas on the SS Tuscania on October 6, 1916. He served overseas with the 9th Reserve Battalion at Bramshott and with the 10th Battalion at Vimy Ridge. The 10th Battalion was part of the First Canadian Division at Vimy. On April 9th, they advanced into heavy small arms fire over heavily shelled terrain. The 10th Battalion suffered most of its casualties in the first 15minutes of the battle on April 9. Murray would survive Vimy but he was a victim of shell shock.
He returned home to Canada on the HMTS Justicia in May of 1917 and was taken on strength by the # 6 Special Service Company in July, 1917. On December 6, 1917 Murray would be present at the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history: the Halifax Explosion. On this day, Private Bowser was among a group of soldiers sent down to the wharf to unload ammunition. They witnessed the Mont Blanc on fire. There were two explosions. The first one did not affect Murray but the second one knocked him out. He remembers regaining consciousness on Barrington Street and being transported to the Camp Hill Hospital. Canadians gained a new perspective of the reality of war with over 2000 dead, 9000 injured and 25,000 left homeless.
Murray was discharged from the army on October 18, 1918. He returned to Moncton and worked for CN as a moulder. In 1925, he married Edna Boudreau. In 1939, he built a house. Disaster struck again as the house burnt down as the result of a grass fire. He lost everything including his First World War uniform. He built his second home on Edinburgh Drive, Moncton. Murray would go on to retire from CN. He was a proud member of the CNR War Vets and the 145th Battalion Association. He had looked adversity in the face countless times but soldiered on to live a full, productive life. He died on October 24, 1974 and is buried at Fair Haven Memorial Gardens on the Salisbury Road in Moncton.