Private Henry (Harry) Gray


Henry Gray was born on 6 January 1892 at 95 St Mary's Terrace, Belfast, the fifth of six children of factory manager William McCarroll Gray and his wife Margaret (née Fee). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Cliftonville Road, Belfast, with his widowed mother and two siblings and working as an apprentice in the weaving business.

Gray enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 21 August 1914 (No.1024 – later Corps of Hussars No.71203). He gave his occupation as 'weaving factory overseer'. On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

Gray had a number of disciplinary breaches over the next two months. On 11 May at Busnes he was awarded one hour's pack drill for being absent from parade, on 3 July at Estaires, two days' Field Punishment No.2 for being absent from roll call, and two days later, three days' Field Punishment No.2 for not complying with an order.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps through 1916 and 1917.

On 9 January 1918 Gray left the regiment for duty at the Machine Gun Base Depot at Camiers, then eleven days later returned to the UK, where he was transferred to the Tank Corps (No.307580). Fifteen men of the 1st NIH Regiment had transferred to the Tank Corps earlier that month.

After training to the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington near Wareham, Gray returned to France on 12 June 1918. No further information has been discovered about his service with the Tank Corps, apart from one record stating that he was attached to the 3rd Tank Carrier Company.

On 31 March 1919 Gray was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.