GRAY, ROBERT 28418 Private 7th Battalion 51st Brigade 17th Division

THE BORDER REGIMENT

Born Leyland  Enlisted and Living Leyland

Died of Wounds  France / Flanders  23rd September 1918

Formerly 32627 The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Ref: ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’, Part 39.

Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser Sat. 12th October 1918

Official intimation has been received by Mr and Mrs Gray of 35 Turpin Green Lane, Leyland of the death from wounds received in action on September 23rd, 1918 of their youngest son Pte Robert Gray of the Border Regiment. Had he lived until October 2nd he would have attained his majority.

He joined up December 1st, 1916 and worked as a packer at the Bleachworks. Mr and Mrs Gray have now lost two sons in the war whilst their eldest son is a Prisoner of War in Germany.

Leyland St. Andrew’s Parish Magazine October 1918

We are grieved to add three more names to our Roll of Honour: Tom Morris, Grenadier Guards; Clement Wareing, 6th Northants, and:- ‘Robert Gray of the 7th Border Regiment, who died of wounds in France September 23rd, 1918 and was a member of our Sunday School.’

Leyland St. Andrew’s Parish Magazine November 1918

A Memorial Service was held on Wednesday evening, 23rd October 1918, for Richard Towers, Loyal North Lancs. Regiment; James Wane, Royal Naval Reserve; and Robert Gray, the Border Regiment. All three had been in our Sunday Schools and had been confirmed in our church.

The Tower and Gray families had already suffered bereavement in the War.

A Memorial Inscription is on the family grave in St. Andrew’s Churchyard-western section: first their parents Robert and Elizabeth Gray, then:-

Also, John Bannister and Robert, sons of the above

Killed in action in France 1916 and 1918.

Leyland St. Andrew’s Baptismal Register

19th Nov. 1897 Bapt: Robert son of Robert and Elizabeth Gray of Leyland, warehouseman.

Robert Gray’s name appears on the following local memorials:-

War Memorial, Church Road, Leyland

Mural Plaque in St. Andrew’s, Leyland

St. Ambrose Memorial, Moss Lane, Leyland

Mural Plaque in St. Ambrose, Leyland

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Robert Gray is buried in the:-

THILLOY ROAD CEMETERY, BEAULENCOURT, FRANCE

Grave Ref: Row C  Grave 10. Son of Robert and Elizabeth Gray, 35 Turpin Green Lane, Leyland. Age 20.

Beaulencourt is a village 3 km south-east of Bapaume on the road to Péronne (N17). Thilloy Road Cemetery is about 1 km west of Beaulencourt on the north side of the minor road to the small village of Ligny. The C.W.G.C. signpost on the N17 indicates where to leave the Péronne road, others lead the way to the cemetery which is easily accessible by car.

Note 1:- The 7th (Service) Battalion was formed at  Carlisle September 7th, 1914 as part of

Kitchener’s Second Army, moving to Wool in the 51st Bde 17th Division. July 15th, 1915 landed at Boulogne. On September 22nd, 1917 they absorbed the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry (21 officers and 239 men) now dismounted after serving as XI Corps Cavalry Regiment, becoming the 7th (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion.

Note 2:- The 17th Division, of which the 7th Borders was a part, was fighting in what was known as ‘The Battles of the Hindenburg Line’ at the time of Robert Gray’s death: just which particular engagement has not been established.

Note 3:- Robert’s brother John also died in the war: he was killed in action on July 14th, 1916.

Note 4:- No. 35 Turpin Green Lane, became No. 91 after the re-numbering of Leyland in the 1930s.

Gray, Robert. WE Waring 2003