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14 February 2010

Driver George Tuckey Wray of Blackwood

George Wray was born in Eastwood, SA in 1898 and attended Unley High School. He served for four years in the senior cadets and one year in the Citizen's Forces, and after leaving school was apprenticed to the Union Engineering Company in Adelaide for four years.

He enlisted on 4 May 1917 at the age of 19 and was allocated to the Mechanical Transport Reinforcements. His older brother Frank Hewett Wray had enlisted two years earlier and was serving with the 3rd Australian General Hospital. After a couple of months training at Mitcham Camp (in modern-day Colonel Light Gardens), he was transferred to Broadmeadows Camp on the outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria. His reinforcements embarked at Melbourne on 30 October 1917. George arrived in England just after Christmas 1917 and after two months driving duty in London was sent to France in March 1918. He initially drove siege artillery ammunition trucks before being detached from the 6th Mechanical Transport Company to General Monash's Australian Corps Headquarters, probably as a staff car driver. He served out the rest of the war on this detachment.

After a two week leave in England in early February 1919 he had a stint in hospital before he was shipped back to Australia in June 1919. His brother Frank ended the war as a staff sergeant with the 3rd Australian General Hospital and was once mentioned in dispatches. George was discharged in August 1919 and lived with his parents in Fullarton.

In 1924 George married Frances Ethel Clark and they lived in Netherby where they raised their two children Margaret and Granville. Frances died in August 1936. In 1939, George moved to Main Rd, Blackwood and married Daisy Hewett and they had one child, Helen who was born in 1940. During the 1940's George and his brother-in-law Harry Hewett laid the piping for the irrigation of the Blackwood Bowling Club in Simla Pde. George and Harry looked after the irrigation of the Bowling Club for many years, and George served for many years as Treasurer, also serving terms as Vice President and President of the Club. A motor mechanic by trade, George was a manager at the Adelaide Cooperative Society garage until 1957, then at Hannan Brothers until he retired. The family lived in the district until the 1980's, and throughout that time George was a very active golfer, lawn bowler and keen member of the Blackwood RSL. His daughters remember him as a very kind and loving father with a great sense of humour, who was well respected in the community. George died in 1981 at the age of 83 and was cremated at Centennial Park. His name is inscribed on a window in St Saviour's Anglican Church, Glen Osmond, on the Myrtle Bank Memorial and the Unley Town Hall honour roll.

Photo: Courtesy of Margaret Herbstreit and Helen Ashby (George's daughters)
Colour Patch of the Mechanical Transport Companies: Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

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