A W Cray

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© Newbury Weekly News

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Sexton at Newtown Road Cemetery, Mr. Cray standing at the cemetery lodge door.
©Pamela King
Sexton at Newtown Road Cemetery, Mr. Cray standing at the cemetery lodge door.

 

SOLDIER AND SEXTON

 

 

Death of Mr A.W. Cray

 

A soldier who since his return to civilian life has spent a great deal of his time and energies in welfare work for ex-service men, is being mourned by many of his old comrades. Mr Alfred Walter Cray, of 65 Newtown Road, Newbury, died last week from bronchial pneumonia following influenza, at the age of 70.

Mr Cray served for twenty-three years with the 14th/20th Hussars in India, France and Germany. In 1914 he was one of General French's “Contemptible little Army” who sampled the displeasures of the Ypres Salient. He was wounded in the hand. When hostilities ceased he went with the Army of Occupation to the Rhineland. His military service ended in 1922.

He joined the Newbury branch of the Old Contemptibles Association and Newbury British Legion. He was also a prominent member of the R.A.O.B.

 

O.C.A. Mainstay

 

Mr Cray was an ex-service man who could be depended upon to do anything asked of his without ostentation. He believed in perpetuating the comradeship of the trenches and army life. He would visit a sick member or do a kindly act for anyone in need. Billy Cray was never found wanting. He was one of the mainstays of the social work of the Old Contemptibles' Association.

The same spirit of helpfulness marked his work for the R.A.O.B. As a member he said he “specialised in benevolences”. He had filled practically every office in the Newbury and District Province, attaining the rank of Roll of Honour. He was Provincial Grand Primo in 1948.

For the last twenty-five years he carried out the duties of sexton at the Old Cemetery in Newtown-Road. His wife died in 1923 and he is survived by three sons and four daughters.

 

The Funeral

 

The standards of the Old Contemptibles' Association and British Legion were dipped in salute as the coffin, which had been covered with the Union Jack, was lowered into the grave at the Municipal Cemetery, Shaw, on Saturday. The Rev. R.R. Woodfield officiated. Members of the R.A.O.B. dropped ivy leaves into the grave in accordance with their ritual.

Family mourners were Mr and Mrs Alf. Cray, Mr Sidney Cray, Mr and Mrs Stanley Cray (sons and daughters in law), Mrs D. Bastin Mr and Mrs J. Farrell, Mrs E. Randall, Mrs B. Wells (son in law and daughters), Mrs J. Brownell (sister), Mr T. Rawlings (brother in law), Mrs King (housekeeper), Mr W. Honey, Mr J. Farrell (grandson), and Mr and Mrs A. Earnshaw.

From Newbury Weekly News, February 8 1951, page 2.

 

Sources:Newbury Weekly News, February 8 1951, page 2

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