Lieutenant John Ernest McLurg was born in Prospect Hill, Ontario on April 12, 1875. Prior to his enlistment in WWI, John and his wife (Annie Allan née Corry) lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he worked as a sales manager and served in the Militia with the 51st Sault Rifles.
He enlisted in Valcartier, Quebec, on September 22, 1914, and was commissioned with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Canadian Infantry Division. Once overseas McLurg served in both France and Belgium before being wounded and taken prisoner at the Second Battle of Ypres on April 24, 1915. As a P.O.W. in Germany he was initially sent to Siegburd until fully recovered from the gunshot wound to the head he had suffered at Ypres, and then was transferred to the Camp at Heidelberg in July of 1915, and later to Soltau in June of 1916.
On August 12, 1916, he was transferred to the P.O.W. camp in Mürren, Switzerland (an agreement between the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government allowed many sick or injured POWs to be interned in Switzerland until eligible for repatriation), where he was joined by his wife Annie in November of 1916. Their daughter, Margaret Gillespie McLurg, was born in nearby Vevey, Switzerland, on October 26, 1917. Shortly thereafter John was repatriated, travelling with his family to England in late December of 1917, and then on to Canada where he was medically discharged from service on April 20, 1918.
The McLurg Collection has two main components. The first is a book of drawings and messages created by McLurg’s fellow prisoners at Heidelberg as a gift to him at the time of his departure from the camp in August of 1916. The second is a set of 27 photographs documenting his time at Mürren, Switzerland. Also included are a small number of other items such as John’s bullet-pierced Maple Leaf Badge, and Annie McLurg’s Visa for transit with their daughter through the United States while returning to Canada in 1918.
Lt. John Ernest McLurg’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# unassigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated May 2022. Some additional materials have been added and some changes to categorization of Collection Contents have been made; content descriptions have been reviewed and in many cases expanded to provide more information. No materials have been removed but duplicate postings, if present, will have been corrected.]