William Murray Wilson

Photo 1942.

Murray Wilson (4 June 1914 – 28 September 1953) was a pilot and timber merchant from Perth, Western Australia.

Murray was born in Claremont1 on 4 June 1914 to Jim and Edith Wilson.

His father had a house in Shenton Park on half an acre. It was still there, although unrecognisable, in 2005.

He married Margaret on 2 July 1941.2

Murray served in the RAAF during the Second World War. Service number 406376.3 His father died in June 1942, just after Murray turned 28.

For his service during the war, Murray was awarded4 four campaign stars (1939–45 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star & Clasp, and Pacific Star) and three medals (Defence Medal, War Medal 1939–45, and Australia Service Medal 1939-45).

In 1948 C. M. Wilson lent Margaret one thousand pounds.5

By the early `50s, Murray was a director in the timber firm C.M. Wilson Co Pty Ltd which was founded by his uncle Charles William McHarg Wilson and operated from premises on Troode Street in West Perth.6

On the evening of Monday, September 28 1953,789 just prior to a shareholders' meeting at the company offices, Murray and another director (William Ewart Livingstone) were shot dead by a former director10 (and current shareholder) of the company, William Charles Fawcett. The weapon was a sawn-off .303 rifle,11612 with which Fawcett shot each of his victims once through their chests; they were both dead within minutes.6 Murray worked at the office, and Fawcett had waited outside in his vehicle until he saw Livingstone arrive.13 The three men were alone in the office.14 Livingstone had brought his rifle with him that day with the intention of killing both men.15

Fawcett was seen by Livingstone's daughter16 leaving the office after the shooting and driving away. He went home to his wife at their home at 66 Victoria Avenue, Claremont (near Murray's home in Congdon Street, Swanbourne)16, told her what he had done, cleaned the gun, and (it is to be supposed) waited for the police to arrive.15 He was arrested either one17 or four18 hours later. The next day he was charged with murder,18 but later a jury found against this.

He said that his motive was financial: he believed that the directors were trying to cheat him out of his share in the company.15 He had attempted legal action, but didn't have a case.15

The trial was held on the evening of Monday, 14 December, and the elderly'', diminutive'', ``white-haired''14 Fawcett was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity. He was also in the timber trade.16

  1. Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Registration number 208 in the district of Claremont. 

  2. Family Notices (1941, July 5). The West Australian (Perth, WA), p. 1. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47151167 ``WILSON--DONEGAN.---On July 2. 1941 (by special licence), at St. George's Cathedral Perth, by the Rev. Dean Moore, William Murray (R.A.A.F.), second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wilson, of Shenton Park, to Helen Margaret, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Hall, of West Perth and Carnarvon. 

  3. From NAA series #A9300: ``WILSON WILLIAM MURRAY: Service Number - 406376 : Date of birth - 04 Jun 1914: Place of birth - CLAREMONT WA : Place of enlistment - PERTH WA: Next of Kin - WILSON HELEN Deceased.'' 

  4. Letter to WM Wilson from the Department of Air, 18 September 1953. https://www.flickr.com/photos/freosam/14993078453 retrieved 24 October 2014. 

  5. Pers. comm. between User:Samwilson and WMW's son Ron. 

  6. COMPANY CHIEFS MURDERED IN W.A. The Mercury p. 2, 29 September 1953. Hobart, Tasmania. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27174075 ``A propelling pencil carried by one of the men was cut in two by a bullet before it entered his body.''   

  7. Index to general register of deaths Western Australia/Registrar General. [Perth, W.A.: Government Printer, 1967-198-.] Prepared in accordance with the requirements of section 17 of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act, 1984-1956. 1841-1896, 1897-1905, 1906-1980 Microfiche Drawer no. 42; Call no. mc N 651 in the Newspapers/Microforms Reading room at the National Library of Australia. 

  8. Index to death notices in the West Australian/ Western Australian Genealogical Society. [Bayswater, W.A.]: The Society, [1989]. 1985-1989, 1990-1992, 1993-1994, 1997-1998. Microfiche Drawer no. 44; Call no. mc N 486 in the Newspapers/Microforms Reading room at the National Library of Australia. 

  9. Rifle Victim Left Estate Of £4,587 November 1953, The West Australian. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52943092 

  10. Verdict Of Insanity At Murder Trial. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 1953, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18401354 

  11. Found Guilty But Insane. Townsville Daily Bulletin, 16 December 1953, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63215264 

  12. 2 TIMBER DIRECTORS KILLED IN WA OFFICE. Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW. 29 September 1953, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50066887 

  13. Murder of Timber Directors. Barrier Miner Broken Hill, NSW. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50067079 

  14. New Angle In W.A. Murders. The Advertiser, Adelaide, SA. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48928021  

  15. Double Murder Charge Remand, Sunday Times (Perth), p25, 18 October 1953. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59680487    

  16. FAWCETT IS AGAIN REMANDED. Mirror (Perth, WA) 17 October 1953 p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75787673   

  17. Directors Shot Dead in W.A. (1953, September 29). The Age (Melbourne, Vic.: 1854--1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206461419 

  18. Double Murder Charge In W.A., The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 September 1953 p.~6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18379987 "He stood silently at attention during the proceedings, which lasted little more than 30 seconds. He was not represented by counsel."  

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