Major James Murray Stewart

James Murray STEWART
Born - 24 March 1918, North Battleford, SK
KIA - 26 Sept. 1944, near Brecht/St. Leonard's, Belgium. Age: 26 years
Buried temporarily near the Brecht-Turnhout Canal near the Belgium-Netherlands border
Final resting place in Canadian Military Cemetery at Bergen-op-Zoom, The Netherlands.

When seconded to the SSR, he dropped rank from captain to lieutenant when he went to England. He was promoted to captain again - Aug. 1943.

Taken on strength, Canadian Army (Active), with effect from 1 Aug. 1941. Embarked for overseas service on 25 September 1942. Remained in England in various capacities including Messing Officer, Intelligence Officer, Adjutant, Lieutenant and Captain until 8 July 1944 when he was shipped to France to take part in the Normandy campaign. While in France, he was promoted to Acting Major and continued in that rank until his death in Belgium.

Letter of Transmittal

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 13:03:13 -0600
From: judith stewart
Subject: A/Major James Murray Stewart

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your call this a.m.

I have 86 letters written by Murray between his training in Vernon, BC and his death in Belgium. I also have the letters written to him by his parents during the early part of 1944 (Jan.- Mar.)

Judith Stewart
Yorkton, SK


SSR Officers stationed at Barkfold Camp, Kirdford, Sussex

According to the memoirs of Brigadier F.A. Clift, Barkfold House was owned by the Barkfold sisters who often invited the senior officers to tea. Because fresh food was often in short supply, the apples that grew on the nearby orchards were a treat.

Front row, l-r: Lt J.M. Stewart(North Battleford), ?, ?, ?, Lt. A.H. Stephenson(Weyburn)
Middle row, l-r: ?, ?, Lt. J.K. Kemp(Lloydminster), H/Capt. R.L.Taylor, Chaplain(Winnipeg)
Back row, l-r: Lt. A.R.Berwick(Regina), ?, Lt. A.P.W. Watkinson(Saskatoon)
Any help with the identification of the others would be appreciated

Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 16:30:51 -0600
From: judith stewart
Subject: re: A/Major James Murray Stewart

Dear Mr. Salmers,

I have recently come into posession of the letters, photos, caps, medals, etc. of Adjutant/Major James Murray Stewart of the SSR and am putting together a "book" for the family and for my students at school. I have done exhaustive research about Murray and have interviewed his surviving brother who has a failing memory, but still have questions that remain unanswered most particularly about how he ended up with the SSR. He began his military career as a North Battleford member of the Prince Albert Volunteers and trained mostly in Vernon, BC. As an historian of sorts, I will not be satisfied until I have as much info as possible before I complete my task. I have found the SSR website invaluable, thank you.

Are you interested in putting any of the "memorabilia" in my possession on your website? It consists of the letters he wrote home from the time he enlisted until a few days before his death on 29 Sept. '44 at Brecht/St. Leonard's, Belgium. He was a prolific writer so there are many, many letters, some of which were written to his mother and others to his father. I do not have any that were written to his brother. From the letters and SSR records, it is clear that he did not do "active duty" until reinforcements were sent to Normandy on 7-8 July 1944. From the time he was sent to England in Oct. '4 until his deployment, he seems to have been a "desk jockey" of sorts. At this point he had attained the rank of Adjt/Capt. I have questions about the duties of this rank. It is my understanding that an adjutant is like an assistant. Shortly after his deployment to France, he was promoted to the rank of Adjt/Major and was put in charge of a company of men (C Coy.) Please correct me if I am wrong as I can only go by what he has written to his parents.

I also have quite a few photos take at the ceremony of the presentation of the colours to the SSR by King George and Queen Elizabeth in July 1943. I have seen a few of the photos on various website but I have several more that have not appeared. Would you be interested in these?

I have been working on this project for hundreds of hours in an attempt to fully understand the military life of this man. He was the uncle my husband never met and his namesake. To date, I have coordinated the battles with his letters but since that was such a brief part of his service career, I would like more info on the time before he went into active duty.
What ship would have carried him to England and from what embarkation point?
Did he arrive on the Isle of Wight as the men who fought at Dieppe a few months earlier?
Where would he have been stationed in England prior to deployment?
What were his duties?
Why was someone with no battle experience put in charge of a company in the battle zone? I can only guess that the number of able-bodied officers was somewhat limited by this time.

It is very interesting to note how the tone of his letters change once he had witnessed the actual carnage of war.

I am very interested in completing this project soon as the Year of the Veteran will soon be over. Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Judith Stewart


The Stewart Family - 1942

Having fun at the Officers' Mess, Whitley Camp - 1943

Original marker - 1948

Letter from Veterans Affairs - 1948

M. Stuart beside grave site - 1951

Letter from M. Stuart - 1951

Transcription of above letter - 1951

Permanent grave marker - 1954

A. W. Groote of Rotary International at Bergen op Zoom - 1954

Letter from A.W. Groote re: grave site - 1954

Craig Stewart, brother, and Dorothy Stewart, sister-in-law of Major Stewart, visit Canadian War Cemetery at Bergen op Zoom - 1989

1. Certificate appointing J.M. Stewart a 2nd Lieutenant in the Active Militia
( Prince Albert and Battleford Volunteers)
Dated 22 June 1940

2. Uniform cap with South Sasktachewan Regiment buttons.
Worn while stationed in England prior to deployment to France 8 July 1944.

3. SSR Dress cap
Received by Capt. J.M. Stewart while stationed at Algonquin Camp, Whitley, England. November 1943.

4. Major J.M. Stewart's medals
l - r: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Maple Leaf Clasp, War Medal 1939-1945.


Hi Greg,

Finally got back to the scanner. I've included the letter that Murray sent with the photos of the presentation of the colours to the SSR by King George VI on 16 July '43. I will also send the letters he wrote to his parents with all kinds of info about the day of the presentation and his impressions of the Royal Couple. I can't imagine anyone writing in such detail in this day and age!!

I am also sending a group photo of what appears to be a group of men from several different regiments. I assume the photo was taken in England during the summer of 1943 but that is just a guess. I tried to identify any of the men in uniforms similar to Murray Stewart's from the photos/names sent in connection with the presentation of the colours but was unsuccessful. Any help in identifying the people and location would be great.

There are quite a few snaps and I didn't have time to scan them all tonight but will get to them soon. Please put the snaps online in the order listed below as I will add to them as I have time.

#1 Unknown mixed group - likely taken in England - Summer 1943

#2 Letter to his mother that accompanied the photos of the presentation of the colours

#3 Official photo of the Officers of the SSR with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth

#4 Official photo of No. 4 Guard, SSR with Their Majesties

#5 Photo and names of the Officers of the SSR after the Presentation of the Colours

Thanks for all of you great work,


#2 Letter to his mother that accompanied the photos of the presentation of the colours

#2 Letter dated 1Aug1942 at Vernon - Page 1

#2 Letter dated 1942 at Vernon - Page 2

#2 Letter dated 1942 at Vernon - Page 3

More Pending...

JS/gcs 14,15,16,18 23 Nov 2005 & 8,18 Dec 2005 20 Feb 2006. 14Mar2013.