GRAY, JOHN BANNISTER 16711 Private 9th Battalion 27th Brigade 9th Division
THE CAMERONIANS (SCOTTISH RIFLES)
Born Leyland Enlisted Preston Living Leyland
Killed in Action France / Flanders 14th July 1916
Ref: ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’, Part 31.
Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser Sat. 26th August 1916
Official information has been received by Mr Robert Gray of 35 Turpin Green Lane, Leyland of the death in action on July 14th, 1916 of his son John Bannister Gray, Scottish Rifles.
Pte Gray was 22 years of age and joined the Scottish Rifles at Hamilton on January 11th, 1915. He worked at the Bleachworks and was in the choir in the Parish Church (his photograph is in this issue of the ‘Guardian’. A similar report, with photo, appears in the Chorley Weekly News of the same date).
Leyland St. Andrew’s Parish Magazine September 1916
‘FOR KING AND COUNTRY’
The past month has brought heavy tidings to many homes in Leyland: details follow of six men who have died recently including:-
John Bannister Gray, Scottish Rifles, an old choir boy, was killed in action in France on July 14th, 1916, where he had been on service for over a year. A Memorial Service was held for the six men on Thursday August 31st, 1916.
John Bannister’s name is 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
With no known grave, Pte Gray is commemorated on the:-
THIÈPVAL MEMORIAL, SOMME, FRANCE
His name appears on Pier 4, Face D.
Son of Robert and Elizabeth Gray, 35 Turpin Green Lane, Leyland. Age 22.
The Thièpval Memorial is located a little south of the village of Thièpval, which is 6.5 km north-east of Albert. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), it is considered one of the finest buildings of his distinguished architectural career.
This massive structure, standing 150 feet high, dominates the old battlefield and is a fitting tribute to the 72,085 men –
“ THE MISSING OF THE SOMME ”
Leyland St. Andrew’s Baptismal Register
April 13th, 1894: Bapt. John Bannister son of Robert and Elizabeth Gray of Leyland, warehouseman. Twin with Lily.
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
Lancashire Daily Post Saturday, July 13th, 1918
GRAY – In loving memory of John Bannister Gray, killed in action July 14th, 1916.
‘Oh! for the touch of a vanished hand And the sound of a voice that is still.’
From his sister Alice and Bob, also little Lizzie, Bank House, Tarleton.
Note 1:- John B. Gray died during the ‘Battles of the Somme’, 1st July-16th November, 1916. The 9th Division, of which the 9th Scottish Rifles was a part, was fighting in the ‘Battle of Bazentin’, 14th-17th July when he was killed in action.
Note 2:- John’s brother Robert also died in the war. He died of wounds September 23rd, 1918.
Note 3:- No. 35 Turpin Green Lane in 1916, became No. 91 after th re-numbering of Leyland in the 1930s.
Gray, John Bannister. WE Waring 2003