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Remembered Today:

L/Cpl Harold James Gray 8th Bn AIF


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Lance-Corporal Harold James Gray who died on the 17/12/17 was born in Balmain New South Wales, and went to the Petersham school in NSW, but some time after moved to Melbourne, where he was working as a hardware salesman before enlisting.

According to his next of kin sheet, Harold Gray was a champion amatuer bantam weight boxer who represnted Victoria in 1907/08.

When he was killed he was 32 years of age.

For his photo see the following link to the Australian War Memorial Website. Gray is the one in the middle leaning on the shovel.

sitting at left, back row: Lieutenant (Lt) J O Pitt; Captain A G Campbell DSO. Front row: Lt T W Johnstone MC; Second Lieutenant P Lay MC DCM MM. Standing, left to right: 7150 Lance Corporal (LCpl) H J Gray, resting on shovel (killed in action 18 December 1917); 2936 Sergeant (Sgt) J T Pinchen MM; 2778 LCpl L A Scouller MM, behind Pinchen (killed in action 26 August 1918); 1111 Sgt J R Jorgenson; 6728 Pte R M Cullen. The soldier whose head can be seen top left is unidentified.

http://cas.awm.gov.au/pls/PictionPRD1/cas_...&ps_what=screen

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Andrew,

thats great!

I had a look at the National Archives but his record has not been requested digitally so all I got was, his wifes name was Emma and he worked in Melbourne

Peter

Not Forgotten.

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You could be right there Peter.

Another intersting thing about the photo is that it shows Percy Lay MC DCM MM who went on to serve in Dunsterforce.

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I love the personals details, such as which school he went to - and his sporting prowess.

Here is the info held by the CWGC:

Name: GRAY, HAROLD JAMES

Initials: H J

Nationality: Australian

Rank: Lance Corporal

Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F

Unit Text: 8th Bn.

Age: 32

Date of Death: 17/12/1917

Service No: 7150

Additional information: Son of James T. and Millicent Gray; husband of Emma Gray, of Balmain, Littlewood St., Hampton, Victoria, Australia. Native of Balmain. New South Wales.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: B. 22.

Cemetery: SOMER FARM CEMETERY

Balmain is a really beautiful suburb in Sydney, built on the harbour.

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While Harold Gray's documents aren't available online, I thought some people might be interested in seeing the documents of:

Pte Patrick (Paddy) William Hoare, who was in the same battalion (8 AIF) and was killed just a few days before Pte Gray. Both Gray and Hoare are also buried next to each other in the same graveyard at Somer Farm. So the descriptions and details given, in Hoare's records, will be similar (if not identical) to 'our' man.

Click here to look at the Red Cross Records (7 pages) of Pte Patrick William Hoare

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Hi Annette

The 8th Battalion was indeed the battalion that was portryed in the mini series 'Anzacs'.

They along with the other 2nd Brigade battalions were recruited from Victoria from August 1914 onwards and saw service from Gallipoli to the Armistice.

RT

That's very interesting info about Hoare.

I had a look in the 8th Battalion history when I got home and the same photo was in that publication though it was enlarged and it definately looked like a rifle Gray was leaning on.

It also had the following information. The 8th Battalion's trench had just been raided at night and prisoners taken. The 8th attacked the Germans in the open and retook all but two Australians.

"After the Australians returned to their lines just before 6am, Lt Reg Brindsmead led out a patrol to search for two missing Australians, L/Cpl Les Armstrong & Pte James Bell (Both POW). While scouring No Mans Land for their missing cobbers, Brinsmead and L/Cpl Harold Gray were both killed by an enemy sniper"

Regards

Andrew

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I notice that 2Lt Brinsmead (from Leopold, Victoria) was awarded the Military Cross. Was the award for this action (if so, was L Cpl Gray nominated for the MM?), or was it from a previous occasion....??

It's a pity that Brinsmead's Red Cross records are not available online....

I also wonder why Gray's body was recovered, and Brinsmead's (apparently) was not - as he is remembered only on the Menin Gate.

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Hi RT

I wondered that also about Brinsmead being commemorated on the Menin Gate, while Gray has a grave.

I'm pretty sure that he was awarded the MC for some action in Third Ypres but will endeavour to find out more.

Cheers

Andrew

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The 8th Battalion history records that in the attack on the 20th September 1917, Lt Brinsmead took over the company when his OC was wounded and reached all objectives alotted to it.

While it doesn't mention any award given I'd say it was a good chance that the MC was for this.

Regards

Andrew

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And you're correct, Andrew.....

A quick look at the LG reveals:

From the London Gazette, dated 15th March 1918

2nd Lt. Reginald William Brinsmead, Infy.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to

duty. When his company commander became

a casualty in an attack he displayed

great skill .and initiative in leading his company

to the capture of the final objective.

Through his determination and untiring

energy the position was consolidated and the

defence organised.

In the LG, there is mention of Lt Col Horace Clowes Brinsmead, MC 24 AIF. Might they be related....??

By one of those bizarre quirks of fate, on a page of the London Gazette (26th May 1916), which mentioned "Brinsmead," I have just found the notice announcing the death of Captain Sir Charles Seely, one of my Isle of Wight Rifles Officers; this notice has never showed up on a search I have done before - using the crappy LG search engine - so this has made my day :D

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Hi RT

It's great when co-incidences like that happen.

In regard to Brinsmead being related to the Lt-Col of the 24th Bn I'll look further into it, but it could be possible as both the 8th & 24th Battalions were recruited from Victoria.

Cheers

Andrew

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Dear Andrew.

You can ask the National Archives of Australia to digitise your relatives service record . It takes about two weeks.You can do it online. So far I have done three realtives in this way

RegardsGreg

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Thanks Greg, but no one I've been talking about in this thread is a relative. Plus I'd say the NAA staff are probably quite sick of me putting applications in to get records digitised so I've been giving them a break over Christmas. :D

Regards

Andrew

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