No. 907115, 5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment)
Died of wounds on Thursday 23 August 1917 (aged 25)
Etaples Military Cemetery, France (Grave XXII. Q. 9)
Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)
Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance
Memorial Tablet in Findlater, Saskatchewan
Holywood and District War Memorial
First Holywood Presbyterian Church Memorial Plaque
First Holywood Presbyterian Church Lectern
Family Grave Headstone (side panel) in St Elizabeth’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Dundonald, Co Down
Thompson Gray was born in Knocknagoney on 15 December 1891 (he declared 15 December 1893 at attestation) and he was a son of Robert Alexander Gray (born 21 November 1854) and Letitia Gray (nee Herriott, sometimes Harriott) who were married on 14 December 1880 in Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards. When Thompson Gray’s father registered Thompson’s birth in Castlereagh on 8 January 1892 his forename was registered as Ernest. When he was being baptised in First Holywood Presbyterian Church on 9 February 1892 his forename was registered as Thompson and that is the name he was called thereafter.
Robert Alexander Gray was a farmer and contractor and he and Letitia had ten children:
James (born 2 October 1881 in Knocknagoney)
Elizabeth (Eliza, born 11 February 1883 in Knocknagoney)
William John (born 13 October 1884 in Knocknagoney)
Maggie (born 12 September 1886 in Moorpark, Knocknagoney; died 15 December 1886)
Thomas Alexander (born 10 November 1887 in Knocknagoney)
Robert (born 29 March 1890 in Knocknagoney)
Ernest (Thompson, born 15 December 1891 in Knocknagoney)
Mary (Minnie, born 10 March 1895 in Knocknagoney; married Robert Anderson 12 November 1925)
Henry Halliday (Harry, born 25 April 1897 in Knocknagoney)
Edwin (born 25 December 1898 in Moorpark, Knocknagoney)
The Gray family lived in Moorpark, Knocknagoney.
Thompson Gray attended Ballymiscaw National School and on 12 June 1903, when he was 11, he was initiated as a member of the Juvenile Branch of the Good Templar Order. When he left school, he worked for a time as an apothecary’s apprentice before moving to Findlater, Saskatchewan, Canada to join his brother William who was already farming there. Thompson Gray worked as a farmer in Findlater before he enlisted on 23 February 1916 at Regina, Saskatchewan. He cited his mother Letitia as his next-of-kin and her address was Moorpark, Holywood, Co Down. In his attestation papers, it was noted that Thompson Gray was 5 feet 7 inches tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. Private Thompson Gray served with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment) and he was 25 when he died of wounds on 23 August 1917 – exactly 18 months after he enlisted. He sustained a gunshot wound in the neck on 15/16 August 1917 and was taken to No.18 Casualty Clearing Station before being transferred to No.22 General Hospital, Dannes Camiers where he died. He was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in France.
Private Thompson Gray is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM); in the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance (Page 246); on a Memorial Tablet in Findlater, Saskatchewan; on Holywood and District War Memorial; on the Memorial Plaque in First Holywood Presbyterian Church and, also in that Church, on a lectern which was presented in 1968 by his sister, Mrs Minnie Anderson. He is also commemorated on the Family Grave Headstone (side panel) in St Elizabeth’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Dundonald, Co Down.
Private Thompson Gray’s father Robert died on 17 March 1937 (aged 70) and his mother Letitia died on 21 June 1938 (aged 76).