William Murray Wilson

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 (1872–1942)
Edith Olive Wilson (née Hall) (1882–1966)
Siblings: William Murray Wilson (1914–1953)
Lilian Jessie Rae Hussey (née Wilson) (d. 2013)
Dorothy Jean McHarg Wilson (1904–1974)
Frederick Gordon Wilson (1906–1963)
Herbert Bruce Wilson (1918–2005)
Olive Adele Wilson (1908–?)
Partners: Helen Margaret Wilson (née Hall) (1915–2000)

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).

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.[4]

On the evening of Monday, September 28 1953,[5][6][7] just prior to a shareholders' meeting at the company offices, Murray and another director (William Ewart Livingstone) were shot dead by a former director[8] (and current shareholder) of the company, William Charles Fawcett. The weapon was a sawn-off .303 rifle,[9][4][10] with which Fawcett shot each of his victims once through the heart; they were both dead within minutes.[4] Murray worked at the office, and Fawcett had waited outside in his vehicle until he saw Livingstone arrive.[11] They were alone in the office.[12] He had brought his rifle with him that day with the intention of killing both men. [Citation needed] [13]

Fawcett was seen leaving the office after the shooting and driving away, by Livingstone's daughter[14] He went home to his wife at their home at 66 Victoria Avenue, Claremont (near Murray's home in Congdon Street, Swanbourne)[14], told her what he had done, cleaned the gun, and (it is to be supposed) waited for the police to arrive.[13] He was arrested either one[11] or four[15] hours later. The next day he was charged with murder,[15] but later a jury found against this.[9]

He said that his motive was financial: he believed that the directors were trying to cheat him out of his share in the company[13][8]. He had attempted legal action, but didn't have a case.[13]

The trial was held on the evening of Monday, 14 December,[8][14] and the "elderly", "diminutive", "white-haired".[12] Fawcett was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity.[14] He was also in the timber trade.[14]

Fawcett had expressed "interest in the Rifle Club movement" in 1940.[16]


Media coverage

Rifle Victim Left Estate Of £4,587[7]
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. 4.0 4.1 4.2 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.
  5. Index to general register of deaths Western Australia.
  6. 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 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
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Verdict Of Insanity At Murder Trial. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 1953, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18401354
  9. 9.0 9.1 Found Guilty But Insane. Townsville Daily Bulletin, 16 December 1953, p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63215264
  10. 2 TIMBER DIRECTORS KILLED IN WA OFFICE. Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW. 29 September 1953, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50066887
  11. 11.0 11.1 Murder of Timber Directors. Barrier Miner Broken Hill, NSW. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50067079
  12. 12.0 12.1 New Angle In W.A. Murders. The Advertiser, Adelaide, SA. 30 September 1953, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48928021
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Double Murder Charge Remand, Sunday Times (Perth), p25, 18 October 1953. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59680487
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 FAWCETT IS AGAIN REMANDED. Mirror (Perth, WA) 17 October 1953 p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75787673
  15. 15.0 15.1 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."
  16. 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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