Remembrance Day: The Bray brothers
Thomas Bray married Clara Perry in 1883 and eventually settled in Sutherland where they lived until Thomas’s passing in 1919. His final years spanned WWI and his thoughts would have been with his three of his sons, Albert, Henry and John who were fighting in a foreign land.
Albert was born in January 1889 and was the third son, and first to enlist. He was initially rejected due to dental problems but successfully enlisted in August 1915 and with his brother Henry, sailed on HMAT Medic.
He was wounded in action in France in August 1916. Gassed, shell-shocked and suffering bruising to his back, Albert was treated in the field before being transferred to hospital for three months. In May 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Mobile Veterinary Section but had multiple serious illnesses, eventually forcing him home in January 1919. The gassing in Gallipoli caused him a debilitating illness in his later years and he passed away aged 57.
Henry was born just a year later than Albert and enlisted two weeks after his brother and sailed together to France. In July 1916 he sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand and as a result, two fingers had to be amputated. He was invalided to Australia in May 1917 and shortly after discharged. He served again in WWII and died aged 87.
John was the third son to enlist, joining the AIF in January 1916 at 18 years. His mother was so distraught at the thought of losing three sons to the war, she wrote a letter to the army appealing for John to be discharged on medical grounds. He was successfully discharged from camp however did later follow his brothers, joining them in France in late 1916. On June 7, 1917, John was gassed in a major battle at Messines and spent the following years in and out of hospital suffering its’ effects.
John returned to Australia in May 1919, eventually settling in Sutherland. In 1951 their family home was destroyed by fire and they lost all their possessions.
Veterinary Mobile Unit