Other names: William John
Locations in this story: Shaftesbury, DorsetFrance & FlandersSturminster, DorsetEnmore Green, ShaftesburyLaundry Lane, ShaftesburyChristies Lane, Shaftesbury
Story: William John Gray was born on 19th December 1895 in Shaftesbury, Dorset, the son of George Henry Shefford Gray and Elizabeth (Bessie) Jane Gray (née Rideout). Apart from military service, William lived all his life in and around Shaftesbury. On 6th May 1915 he enlisted with the Dorsetshire Regiment (Service No. 14503) and in time achieved the rank of Sergeant. He served with the 5th and 6th Battalions in France and Flanders and was awarded the Military Medal. He was demobilized on 15th March 1919 and on 20th August was presented with his Military Medal at Shaftesbury Town Hall. In 1921 he received the Victory and British War medals. He married Bessie Phillips Elsworth in Enmore Green, Shaftesbury, Dorset, on 22nd November 1925 and they went on to have six children. By the time of the 1939 Register, William was living at 9 Laundry Lane, Shaftesbury, Dorset, working as a Cowman. William and Bessie were living in Christies Lane in Shaftesbury at the time of his death on 31st December 1967. The death was recorded in 1968 at the Sturminster, Dorset, Registry and he was buried in the Town Cemetery, Shaftesbury, on 4 Jan 1968. William's brothers Stanley Gray and Percy Rideout also served in the conflict.