WW1 Casualty: Private 228860 Joseph Bray -
Private 228860 Joseph Bray
Original picture courtesy of the Bray family
||2nd Bn, South Wales Borderers
|Date of Death
||Age at Death
Ledeghem Military Cemetery
|CWGC Family Details (if shown)
||Son of Joseph and Emily Bray, of 26, Cross St., Prescot, Lancs
Birth registered Q3 1898, Prescot, 8b, 709
||1901 Census -
Joseph Bray, aged 29 and a house painter, and his wife Emily (26), daughter Clara (4) and son Joseph (2), lived at 26, Duke Street, Prescot
1911 Census -
Joseph Bray (39,a House Painter) his wife Emily Louisa (36) and their children Clara (14), Joseph (13), Sydney (10), Thomas (2) and newborn John, lived at 17 Duke Street, Prescot. Joseph and Emily had been married for 15 years.
||Died of Wounds
||Theatre of War
||France & Flanders
||Previously served as 21632, South Lancs Regiment
|Research Ref. No.
On 24th May 1915 Joseph Bray he attested into the 11th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment in Prescot. He gave his address as 26, Cross Street, Prescot and noted that he was aged 19 years and 1 month. His occupation was recorded as “Bricklayer”, he was unmarried, stood just over 5 foot 1 inches in height and had a 32 inch chest measurement. His medical report further stated that he weighed 102 pounds, his physical development was “good” and he was rated 6 out of 6 for vision in both eyes.
His next of kin was recorded as his father, Joseph Bray, at the same address.
He trained with the 11th Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment, and on 4th March 1916 he sailed from Folkstone for France with them, arriving at Etaples the following day. His record states that he stayed in Etaples until 20th July 1916, at which point he moved to Rouen, then joining the battalion in the field on 2nd September 1916.
Eventually, on 29th November 1916, it was found that he was actually under age, his date of birth being 4th August 1898, and on 11th December 1916 he was sent back to England.
An extract from Joseph Bray’s service record, showing when he was identified as being under age
His record shows a transfer into the Herefordshire Regiment on 18th December 1916, then a further transfer to the Monmouthshire Regiment on 29th December 1916.
It is not clear what he will have been doing in England, but on 19th July 1917 he was once again overseas, arriving at Rouen on 20th July.
He joined the 9th Entrenching Battalion of the South Wales Borderers on 16th March 1918, then moved to the 2nd Battalion on 23rd April.
Joseph Bray was wounded on 15th October 1918 and on 6th November 1918 it was recorded that he had died on 15th October from his wounds. (In October 1918, his battalion was in the area of Ypres as part of the final allied advance. For more details of the actions on 15th October, refer to the record for Private George Parkin, who also served with the battalion and fell on the same day).
An army letter was sent to this father on this date advising him of his son’s death. A further (undated) note on his record shows that he was buried at Ledegham and that his father was informed of this on 11th April 1921. This suggests that he was buried close to a Casualty Clearing Station but that his grave was moved into one of the concentration cemeteries in the period of post-war battlefield clearance.
Joseph Bray was entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
On 16th May 1919, his father completed a statement of next of kin for the army records office. In addition to his father, the form records his mother as Emily Bray of the same address, and also shows his brothers as Sydney, aged 17, Thomas (15) and John (8), and his sisters as Clara (22), Louisa (5) and Lena, aged 1. All were unmarried and lived at their parents address. The form was witnessed by William Beesley, J.P., of 40 St Helens Road, Prescot, a Poor Law Justice of the Peace.
The Parish Magazine reported on 28th December 1918 “Five more names for our Roll of Honour” and included “Pte. Joseph Bray 20, S. Wales Borderers, died in hospital in France 15th October 1918, of 26 Cross Street”.
Joseph Bray’s Medal Index Card is a poor quality scan. It shows his service with the South Lancashire Regiment and the Monmouthshire Regiment, and lists his entitlement to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal