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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Captain David Benjamin Gray


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Can anyone help me with information about the career of Captain David Benjamin Gray, 48th Indian Pioneers, att. RFC No.11 Squadron, who was shot down by Oswald Boelcke on 17 September 1916?


I'm trying to find out what he did after escaping from Holzminden prison camp in 1918. I have seen his repatriation report and one account says he won the Military Cross, but I can't find a record for it.


His service record goes up to 9 December 1918, when he was posted to 30 T.D.S.  Anecdotal histories (including Raymond Money's Flying and Soldiering) suggest he was promoted to Major, commanding a squadron 'going out to Russia'.  Neil Hanson in his book 'Escape from Germany' says he became a Colonel of his Indian regiment, the 48th Pioneers, resigning his commission on the outbreak of WW2 and applying to join the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant, graduating to Squadron Leader and then being compusorily retired in 1942.


According to Hanson, he then joined the Home Guard, only to be run over by a lorry and killed on his first weekend on duty.


A remarkable man by any standards.  


Many thanks





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Oops, thanks Harry, I was just going back online to edit this as I'd found it in the Gazette too!


Cheers and bravo on such a speedy response. 



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His probate record states that he died on 8 November 1942 at Mitcheldever, Hampshire. His home address was Hazel Cottage, Wonston, Sutton Scotney, Hampshire. He was also O.B.E.


Edit to add:- The Gazette notification of him being made O.B.E.  https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33823/page/2957


Edit to add:- Some further Gazette notifications putting dates to events in his career:-

The promotion to Major and leading a squadron in Russia seems to be doubtful as there is a Gazette notification for him relinquishing his R.A.F. commission on ceasing to be employed in that service as of 30 December 1918 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31143/page/1266

Promoted Lt.-Col. in the Indian Army 15 April 1928 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33409/page/5217

Retired from the Indian Army 27 January 1933 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33914/page/1258

Ceased to belong to the Reserve of Officers 27 July 1939 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34653/page/5555

Granted a commission in the R.A.F., Admin and Special Duties Branch as Flt. Lt. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34738/page/7805

Promoted to Sqdn. Leader 1 December 1941 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35383/supplement/7118

The date of officially resigning his commission in the R.A.F. 24 November 1942 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35804/supplement/5222 but apparently because he died before this date this notification was cancelled https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35831/supplement/5560

Edited by HarryBrook
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Thanks for all this brilliant detail Harry - sorry I've rudely taken days to acknowledge it, think I need to sort out my notifications!


Your gazette-searching skills are world class Sir.


Many thanks



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