William Murray Wilson

William Murray Wilson
(4 June 1914 – 28 September 1953)
WM Wilson flying in the Middle East.png
Flying in the Middle East, c. 1942
Birth: 4 June 1914, Claremont, Western Australia
Death: 28 September 1953, West Perth, Western Australia
Parents: James Herbert Wilson
Edith Olive Wilson (née Hall)
Siblings: Lilian Jessie Rae Hussey (née Wilson)
Dorothy Jean McHarg Wilson (1904-09-24 – 1974-06-23)
Olive Adele Wilson (1908 – ?)
Herbert Bruce Wilson (1918 – 3 October 2005)
Frederick Gordon Wilson (21 June 1906 – 1963)
William Murray Wilson (4 June 1914 – 28 September 1953)
Partners: Helen Margaret Wilson (née Hall) (10 July 1915 – 21 February 2000)

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

Murray was born in Claremont[1] 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 unrecognizable, in 2005.

Murray served in the RAAF during the Second World War (service number 406376[2]). His father died in June 1942, just after Murray turned 28.

For his service during the war, Murray was awarded[3] 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).

Locations of service[4]
Unit From To
No. 5 Initial Training School (ITS), RAAF Base Pearce 1940 Nov 11 Fri 1941 Jan 8 Tue
No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) RAAF Station Cunderdin 1941 Jan 9 Fri 1941 Mar 8 Sat
No. 4 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) RAAF Geraldton 1941 Mar 9 Mon 1941 Jul 5 Tue
No. 5 ED Perth 1941 Jul 6 Thu 1941 Jul 17 Mon
Australia to UK 1941 Jul 17 Mon 1941 Sep 2 Mon
No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre (PRC) Bournemouth 1941 Sep 3 Wed 1941 Sep 28 Thu
No. 3 School of General Reconnaissance (S of GR) Squires Gate 1941 Sep 29 Sat 1941 Nov 29 Thu
No. 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit RAF (OTU) Silloth 1941 Dec 24 Tue 1942 Mar 17 Fri
No. 500 Squadron RAF Stornoway 1942 Mar 18 Sun 1942 May 11 Wed
1444 Ferry Training Flight (FTF) RAF Horsham St Faith 1942 May 12 Sat 1942 May 31 Sat
UK to Middle East 1942 Jun 1 Fri 1942 Jun 6 Tue
No. 459 Squadron RAAF Middle East 1942 Jun 16 Thu 1943 Feb 28 Mon
No. 75 Operational Training Unit RAF (75 OTU), RAF Gianaclis 1943 Feb 28 Mon

Aircraft flown: de Havilland Tiger Moth; Avro Anson; Lockheed Hudson Mk I, II, III, V; de Havilland Dragon Rapide aka Dominie; Martin Baltimore; Bristol Blenheim Mk IV, V (aka Bisley); and Lockheed Ventura.

By the early 1950s, 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.[5]

On the evening of Monday, September 28 1953,[6][7][8] just prior to a shareholders' meeting at the company offices, Murray and another director (William Ewart Livingstone) were shot dead by a former director[9] (and current shareholder) of the company, William Charles Fawcett. The weapon was a sawn-off .303 rifle,[10][5][11] with which Fawcett shot each of his victims once through the heart; they were both dead within minutes.[5] Murray worked at the office, and Fawcett had waited outside in his vehicle until he saw Livingstone arrive.[12] They were alone in the office.[13] He had brought his rifle with him that day with the intention of killing both men. [Citation needed] [14]

Fawcett was seen leaving the office after the shooting and driving away, by Livingstone's daughter[15] He went home to his wife at their home at 66 Victoria Avenue, Claremont (near Murray's home in Congdon Street, Swanbourne)[15], told her what he had done, cleaned the gun, and (it is to be supposed) waited for the police to arrive.[14] He was arrested either one[12] or four[16] hours later. The next day he was charged with murder,[16] but later a jury found against this.[10]

He said that his motive was financial: he believed that the directors were trying to cheat him out of his share in the company[14][9]. He had attempted legal action, but didn't have a case.[14]

The trial was held on the evening of Monday, 14 December,[9][15] and the "elderly", "diminutive", "white-haired".[13] Fawcett was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity.[15] He was also in the timber trade.[15]

Fawcett had expressed "interest in the Rifle Club movement" in 1940.[17]


Media coverage

Rifle Victim Left Estate Of £4,587[8]
William Murray Wilson (38), a Perth company director who was shot dead in a city office on September 28, left estate valued for probate at £4,587/7/8.
All his property was bequeathed to his widow. The will submitted for probate was made on a Royal Australian Air Force will form, and witnessed by two other airmen, on July 10, 1941.
Mr. Wilson left a widow and three children.


  1. Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Registration number 208 in the district of Claremont.
  2. National Archives of Australia, barcode 5259925 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.
  3. Letter to WM Wilson from the Department of Air, 18 September 1953. https://www.flickr.com/photos/freosam/14993078453 retrieved 24 October 2014.
  4. W.M. Wilson's RAAF log book
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 COMPANY CHIEFS MURDERED IN W.A. The Mercury page 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.
  6. Index to general register of deaths Western Australia.
  7. 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.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rifle Victim Left Estate Of £4,587 (1953, November 26). The West Australian, p. 9. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52943092
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Verdict Of Insanity At Murder Trial. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 1953, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18401354
  10. 10.0 10.1 Found Guilty But Insane. Townsville Daily Bulletin, 16 December 1953, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63215264
  11. 2 TIMBER DIRECTORS KILLED IN WA OFFICE. Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW. 29 September 1953, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50066887
  12. 12.0 12.1 Murder of Timber Directors. Barrier Miner Broken Hill, NSW. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50067079
  13. 13.0 13.1 New Angle In W.A. Murders. The Advertiser, Adelaide, SA. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48928021
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Double Murder Charge Remand, Sunday Times (Perth), p25, 18 October 1953. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59680487
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 FAWCETT IS AGAIN REMANDED. Mirror (Perth, WA) 17 October 1953 p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75787673
  16. 16.0 16.1 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."
  17. Letter from WC Fawcett re medals (Fawcett military record, page 19)
This page is part of the H.M. Wilson Archives.

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