Bray, George Llewellyn

George Llewellyn Bray was the son of Pryce Bray and his wife Susan, of Newtown, Montgomeryshire. According to the website Montgomery Baptisms, available on Find My Past, he was baptized there on January 1st, 1897.

In the 1901 Census for Wales, the family are living at Broad Street, Newtown. Head of the family is Pryce Bray, age 44 and a domestic gardener, born at Kerry, Montgomery. His wife Susan is 40, and the children are Charles, 17 and a bus driver, Ethel 12, Frank 8, and George who is 4. All speak English.

We next encounter George when he enlisted in the Army on June 9th, 1915 at Manchester. His service records exist, they are among the “burnt documents,” and give the following details. His job was a shop assistant, and he was 19 years old. He was 5ft 6ins tall, and his weight was 126 lbs. His chest measurement was 36 ins, with a 3inch expansion. He had two scars in the middle of his left thigh, and a mole in his right axilla (armpit), and a mole on his left buttock. His next of kin was his father, Pryce.

George, presumably after training, joined the Expeditionary Force in France on January 13th 1916, embarking on the SS Onward at Folkestone. He was appointed to paid Lance Corporal on January 1st 1917, and appointed acting Corporal on March 2nd 1917.

It is also noted in his records that he was reprimanded and ordered to pay for new items for “losing by neglect”, one pair of gas goggles, and one gas helmet.

The website Soldiers Who Died in the Great War confirms the known details. There is no card for George in the Archives at Hawarden.

George was killed in action on April 28th1917. After his death his home service was reckoned as 218 days, and his service in France from January 13th 1916 until his death as 101 days, making a total of 319 days. His effects and property were returned to his father Pryce, these were letters, photos, cards, 2 notebooks, 1 cap badge, and 2 wallets. Mr Bray later received monies owing to George Llewelyn amounting to £5 17s 5d in August 1917, and in 1919 a war gratuity of £9 10s.

After a soldier’s death, relatives were required to complete Army form W5080, listing all living relatives of the deceased. Mr Pryce Bray was still living at Bank Cottage, Broad Street, Newtown. George’s mother was dead, and three brothers were listed as serving in the forces, these were John Edward 28, serving at Plymouth, Charles Pryce 36 at South Yorkshire, and Frank 28 at Portsmouth. Only Harold 17, was at home, as was sister Ethel, 31. Eldest sister Annie, 34, was in Canada. There were also 4 nephews and nieces.

George Llewelyn is also commemorated on the website “Newtown Remembers”. Much of the information is similar to that noted above, but we also learn that he was apprenticed to Charles Griffiths and Son, Broad Street, Newtown, Tailor and Draper.

George is also named on the memorial at St David’s Church, and also the United Reform Church, Newtown.

George Llewellyn’s connection with Prestatyn appears to be connected to his pre-war occupation with the drapery and clothing trade. He was apprenticed in Newtown to C.A. Griffiths, Clothier and Hatter, Newtown. In the Prestatyn Weekly January 29th 1916, a long letter is printed, written by George Llewellyn Bray to Mr and Mrs G. Jones, “Paragon”, Prestatyn.

According to the website “Prestatyn and district through the ages”, the Paragon was one of the first shops built in the town, and was in the High Street. George and Edith Jones from Denbigh had purchased a piece of land to build their shop, which they opened in 1914. George ran the menswear department, while Edith ran the millinery. It later sold household drapery, and boy’s and youth’s clothing. The Paragon was an impressive building, known locally as “Jones the Outfitters.”

It seems very likely that George was working at some point for Mr and Mrs Jones, which would explain why he wrote the letter to them. The letter describes his crossing to France where he has been sleeping under canvas for a week, and also describes the voyage with about 500 men on board, in stormy conditions with waves completely covering the deck. He had now arrived at the base and was expecting to be sent to the firing line very shortly.

There is no card for George Llewellyn in the archives at Hawarden, and it is very likely that Mr and Mrs Jones would have put forward his name for inclusion on the Prestatyn Memorial.

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