The AIF Project

Alfred Stuart GRAY

Regimental number6266
Place of birthScone, New South Wales
SchoolScone Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationRailway station master
Address'Adair', Robert Street, Artarmon, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 10.5"
Weight166 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs O J G Gray, Adair, Robert Street, Artarmon, Sydney, New South Wales
Enlistment date15 August 1915
Place of enlistmentWarwick Farm, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 20th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/19/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 9 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death31
Age at death from cemetery records31
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
32
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Alfred and Olive GRAY, Scone, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 9 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 26 October 1916. Marched in to 1st Training Bn, Larkhill, 8 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 February 1917; taken on strength, 2nd Bn, 12 February 1917.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 28 April 1917.

Admitted to 2nd Field Ambulance, 12 May 1917 (conjunctivitis); transferred to 5th Australian Division Rest Station, 12 May 1917; to 9th Casualty Clearing Station, 13 May 1917; discharged to duty, 27 May 1917; rejoined unit, 27 May 1917.

To School of Instruction, 17 June 1917; rejoined unit, 19 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917. Buried. Unofficial burial report dated 18 September 1918 stated: 'Unofficially buried place of casualty within 200 yds. of trench, supports near Zonnebeke. Rifle placed to mark grave.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 1201002, 2002 Sergeant-Major MURPHY, 2nd Bn (patient, No 4 Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 4 May 1918: 'We were near Paschendaele (sic) in a Trench - holding a support trench. A shell burst over the trench and Corporal Gray and the officer named Lieut. Oughton were both killed. Gray was hit and killed instantly. We buried the officer and Gray together in a shell hole nearby. I helped bury them and we made a rough cross and put their names and numbers on.'

Second statement, 3603 Pte V. SMITH, A Company, 2nd Bn, 18 June 1918: 'I saw him killed at Anzac Ridge near Ypres, when he was hit by a piece of shell in the back of the neck and death was instantaneous. We were deepening [the] trench at the time of casualty, which took place about 9.30. a.m. on October 4th 1917 ... I saw him buried at place of casualty on the field and grave was marked by a rifle.'

Third statement, 1947 Pte J. GALLAGHER, 2nd Bn, 6 August 1918: 'We were in supports near Zonnebeke at the time, and Gray was deepening the trench when a minnewerther or shell landed almost on top of him killing him outright. We pulled him to the top of the trench, and buried him there at once. We put a bayonet in the ground to mark the spot.'

Fourth statement, 6236 Pte A. CROSS, 2nd Bn (patient, New Court Hospital, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Birmingham, England), 13 September 1918: 'I saw him on Oct 4th 1917, lying on a stretcher dead. He was buried within 200 yards of the trench. It was a shell-hole, deepened - there was a rifle put at the head.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, GRAY Alfred Stuart
Red Cross File No 1201002

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