David Gray an American by marriage. He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead by Chris Dixon. An American by marriage. He could have stayed out of the war. Like thousands of others, he chooses not to. David’s parents lived in Ontario, Canada. This may have influenced his decision to join. Whatever the reason David attests on the 8th February 1916 at London, Ontario. Born in 1875 he is forty years old. He gives his wife address as London Ontario, although they both lived in Hinkley Avenue, Detroit. The Ontario address was that of David’s mother so perhaps they were both staying there while David completed his training. Time for the both of them was rapidly running out. David boarded the SS Lapland at Halifax on the 24th April 1916, three days short of his 41st Birthday. He arrives at Liverpool on the 5th May and is transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe. From here he is posted to the Canadian (General?) Base Depot in France
Immediately after his arrival in France, he is taken on the strength of the 18th Battalion. Eleven days later on the 29th August, he joins them in the field. Just over two weeks later the 18th Battalion is at the Brickfields and the Battle of Fler-Courcellette it is the 15th September. For such an important battle, part of the wider battle of the Somme. The 18th Battalion’s war Diary gives very little away.
“The Battalion moved in fighting order from Brickfields. Took up position on the right of frontage allotted to 4th Can Inf Bgde viz 18th right 20th centre 21st left.
6:24 am Battalion attacked German front and second lines to a depth of 1200 yards and held the position gained(both objectives gained)”
David Gray was shot in the head, the bullet entered the right ear and exited the right cheek, another gunshot resulted in a compound fracture of his right femur. At first, he is admitted to 13th Stationary Hospital Boulogne. On the 19th October, he is transferred to the Manor Court Hospital in Folkestone. By now David is seriously ill and his condition is deteriorating.
At 4:15 am 23/11/1916 David dies.
He is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery
He was 41, not 37 when he died.