Raymond MAIN

Badge Number: MS953, Sub Branch: Broken Hill, NSW

MAIN, Raymond

Service Number: 6116
Enlisted: 21 September 1916, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 11 December 1894
Home Town: Welland, Charles Sturt, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Motor driver
Died: Natural causes, Geralton, Western Australia, 11 July 1960, aged 65 years
Cemetery: Dongara Cemetery, W.A.
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

21 Sep 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6116, Broken Hill, New South Wales
6 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6116, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
6 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6116, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
1 Sep 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6116, 27th Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne, GSW (right arm and left hand)
5 Oct 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 6116, 27th Infantry Battalion

Raymond Main by Mari Walker

RAYMOND MAIN – his story

Raymond MAIN was the fourth child of Edith Rose and Henry Main. He was born on 11 December 1894 at Brown Street, Hilton. His birth certificate showed that Henry and Edith Rose were living in Pearson Street, Hilton, at the time of Raymond’s birth. Henry’s occupation was given as ‘painter’. From school records of Raymond’s sisters (Ruby and Wynnie), in 1895 the family were living in Pearson Street.

By 1896 the family were living in Rose Street, Thebarton and between 1897 and 1899 they were living in Bagot Street, Thebarton. Edith Rose’s sisters, Ellen and Elizabeth, were also living in the Thebarton area.

It is believed that Raymond’s father, Henry, had his first ‘attack’ when he was aged 32 years which would make it around 1898. (Further information about Henry can be found in his story)

In 1903 the family were living in Fisher Street, Mile End, and it is around this time that Edith Rose and the children left Henry. There is evidence that between 1908 and 1915 Henry was hospitalised several times.

Raymond was enrolled at the Thebarton Primary School 17 December 1900. His registration number was 3634 and the family address was given as Bagot Street, being a distance of two miles from the school. He started in junior school in 1901 and may have stayed in junior school in 1902. On 10 September 1903 he was transferred to the Rocky River Primary School.

In early 1906 Raymond’s mother, Edith Rose, and possibly several of his siblings were living in Strathalbyn and later that year, the family was living in Crystal Brook. It was in Crystal Brook that Raymond’s sister, Ruby, married Percival John Roberts on 6 October 1909 in the Methodist Church.

Later, it is understood that the rest of the family went to live in Broken Hill, probably to find work. Raymond’s sister, Daisy, married Harold Venner in Broken Hill on 10 December 1913.

On 7 March 1914, Raymond married Ivy Myrtle (nee Gray) in Broken Hill and their first child, Raymond Ivan Balfour Main was born on 19 April 1915 .

World War One was declared on 28 July 1914 and at the beginning of the War, numbers of men wanting to enlist were very high and sometimes men were turned away. As the War continued, numbers declined, especially as casualty rates continued to rise. By 1916 there was a shortage of men volunteering so posters were used as a tool to encourage men to enlist. Perhaps that is why Raymond enlisted on 21 September 1916 – there was considerable pressure on men to enlist at that time as you were considered a coward if you failed to enlist.

Raymond enlisted in Broken Hill but had to come to Adelaide for initial service training at the Mitcham Barracks. At an unknown time, Raymond, his wife and son had come down to Adelaide and were living at Welland. On Raymond’s service record Ivy’s address was given as c/o F Abotomly, Gawler Avenue, Welland. Perhaps this was a type of boarding house.

Raymond’s service record indicated he was given the rank of Private with the service number of 6116 and he served with the 27th Battalion, 17th Reinforcement, Australian Imperial Force (AIF). His Unit embarked from Adelaide on 6 November 1916 on board the HMAT A19 Afric. They arrived in England on 9 January 1917, and were later sent to France on 9 April 1917. Raymond had scabies in May 1917 and was sent to hospital, later rejoining his battalion on 17 June 1917. A few days later, on 26 June 1917, Raymond was again sent to hospital, this time suffering a sprained ankle. He then rejoined his battalion on 12 July 1917.

Photograph (right) Raymond in his World War One uniform

After returning to his battalion in July 1917, the 27th Battalion fought in Belgium and on 15 March 1918 Raymond was granted leave to England. He returned to his unit on 29 March 1918. In April 1918 the battalion was once again back in France returning to the battlefields of the Somme. Raymond was wounded in action (gunshot wound to right arm) in France on 2 September 1918 during the battle of Mont St Quentin and was invalided to England 4 September 1918.

The following is a little about the battle of Mont St Quentin :
“The end of August 1918 found German troops at their last stronghold at Mont St Quentin - overlooking the Somme River and the town of Péronne. Mont St Quentin was a vital strategic area to control. This area was key to the German defence of the Somme line and Lieutenant General Sir John Monash was keen to capture it and thus possess a valuable position.
The 2nd Australian Division crossed the Somme River on the night of 31 August, and attacked Mont St Quentin at 5 am, from the unexpected position of northwest. It was a difficult position as it was an uphill fight for the troops, across very open ground where they were vulnerable to attack from the German-held heights above.
By 7 am, the troops had gained the village of Mont St Quentin and the slope and summit of the hill, by working in small groups. The five German divisions were confused and dispersed, and many had fled. By midnight on 31 August, Monash's troops had captured 14,500 prisoners and 170 guns since 8 August. Allied troops also broke through lines to Péronne by 8.20 am on 1 September. However, the Germans quickly regrouped and launched a counter-attack, and the first day of September saw fierce fighting and heavy losses. Germans attacked and heavily shelled Péronne. Much of the fighting was hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Australians were pushed back off the summit of Mont St Quentin, and lost Feuillaucourt. Relief battalions were sent, and with their reinforcement, all the areas were retaken by the Australians, but at the cost of 3,000 casualties.
After heavy and exhausting fighting, the Australians established a stronghold on the area and forced the complete withdrawal of the Germans from Péronne. By the night of 3 September, the Australians held Péronne. They captured Flamicourt the next day, and advanced 2 miles to the east. Monash said of the Mont St Quentin and Péronne campaign that it furnished the finest example in the war of spirited and successful infantry action conducted by three divisions operating simultaneously side by side.
The fight had also included battalions from every Australian state. British Commander General Lord Rawlinson remarked that this feat by the Australian troops under Monash's command was the greatest of the war.”

On 25 September 1918 Ivy Main was advised by the Military that Raymond had been wounded. In December 1918 Raymond was discharged from hospital to serve with Depots at Sutton Veny. On 19 December 1918 Raymond reported sick with tonsillitis to Delhi Military Hospital at Tidsworth and was discharged to duty on 31 December 1918.

On 1 October 1918 Raymond’s sister, Wynnie, wrote to the Secretary of the Red Cross Bureau seeking information regarding Raymond being wounded. A reply was sent on 18 November 1918 advising that the Red Cross Bureau were “in receipt of a cable, dated London, November 4th, from our Red Cross Commissioners in which they notify that Private Main was discharged to the 2nd Command Depot, Weymouth, on September 24th last, for convalescence.” (Wynnie was living at 2 Hillview street, Dulwich.)

On 4 January 1919 at Tidsworth he committed the offence of using insubordinate language to his Superior Officer and was awarded 14 days detention and forfeited 14 days pay. On 19 January 1919 he returned to the Depots but on 6 February 1919 he again committed the offence of neglecting to obey an order, being found in the town of Tidsworth without leave. He was awarded 5 days punishment.

On 16 February 1919 Ivy Main wrote to the Military asking for any information about Raymond as she hadn’t heard from him for four months. The last news she had heard was from her Auntie who had received a letter from Raymond saying he was going to stay over in England and she wanted to know if the Military could compel him to return to Australia.

On 25 May 1919 Edith Rose write to the Military asking what was happening about Raymond as his wife had received a wire about 12 March 1919 saying he had embarked for Australia. They had stopped writing to him, and had been expecting him on every boat since Easter. Edith Rose Pomeroy was living at 2 Hillview street, Dulwich which meant she was living with her daughter, Wynnie and her husband Hurtle Thredgold. The Military responded saying that no official news had been despatched to Ivy Main and that when arrangements were made for Raymond’s return, a cable would promptly be transmitted to his wife.

On 7 July 1919 embarked on the HMAT Boorara for return to Australia. A newspaper report of 2 August 1919 advised that Ivy Main had received word from the Military regarding Raymond’s return: “Mrs. Main, of Newton-street, Railway Town, has been advised by the military authorities that her husband, Private R. Main, A.I.F. Depot Headquarters, is returning to Australis by the transport Boorara, which left England on July 6, and will probably arrive in Melbourne about August 16. Private Main, who enlisted in Broken Hill, has been on active service for about three years. He worked on the mines prior to enlisting. He has been twice wounded, once seriously.”

On Wednesday 27 August 1919 the HMAT Boorara docked in Melbourne : “THE BOORARA CONTINGENT. The disembarkation and finalisation of returning troops to the Commonwealth by the transport Boorara yesterday was carried out with the usual smoothness and despatch. The troopship berthed at Port Melbourne at 10.30 a.m., and, headed by the band of the 1st Brigade, the procession of motor cars proceeded to the Sturt-street depot via the city, where enthusiastic welcomes were accorded to the soldiers by the numerous strong posts. The Boorara carried 96 Victorians, 14 Tasmanians and 33 South Australian troops. The latter will leave Melbourne for Adelaide on Wednesday next, at 4 p.m., and the Tasmanian contingent will be repatriated by the first available transport, encamping in the meantime at the Domain camp. Very stormy weather was encountered by this troopship between the equator and Capetown. When the boat was a day's sail from Albany one of the soldiers, said to have been in a mentally weak condition, jumped overboard. A long and thorough search was made by lifeboats, but no trace of him could be found.”

Raymond was discharged from the Army on 5 October 1919 and by November 1919 he was again employed on the mines in Broken Hill. At this time his address was given as 75 William Lane, Broken Hill. Raymond continued to work on the BHP mine until 5 December 1921 when he left his employment.

It is unknown what Raymond did after he left the employment of the mine but about February 1924 Raymond and Ivy had their second child, a daughter named Thelma. Sadly Thelma died on 16 October 1924 when she was eight and half months old. Her death certificate states the following: “Died at Broken Hill & District Hospital, New South Wales. Father: Raymond Main, labourer; Mother: Ivy Myrtle Gray. Informant: R Main, father, 157 Newton Lane, Broken Hill. Cause of death: gastroenteritis, length of illness: 24 days. Medical Attendant: SCM Hiatt, date last seen: 16/10/1924. Date of burial: 18/10/1924, place of burial: General Cemetery, Broken Hill, Minister and Religion: WJ Bailey, Methodist. Undertaker: Fred J Potter & Son, Witnesses: J Perkins, T Wadge. Registered 17/10/1924 Broken Hill.”

In 1925 Ivy left Raymond because of his heavy drinking and his abuse and ill-treatment of her (see divorce proceedings information, below). This was probably about the time that Raymond threw away his Victory Medal (as recorded in his Army service record). Also, his service record included information that Raymond had his appendix removed in 1925 although I am unable to substantiate this.

On 11 March 1929 a letter had been sent to the Office in Charge, Base Records, Melbourne, from EJ Baldwin, Acting Secretary, Police Department, “advising that the Commissioner desires me to forward Victory Medal inscribed “6116 Pte R Main, 27 Btn, AIF” which was found in Argent Street, Broken Hill on 26 February 1925, and handed to the Police. I have to state that up to the present time the medal has not been claimed, and the whereabouts of the person to whom it was apparently issued, are unknown.” On 22 March 1929, EJ Baldwin, Acting Secretary, Police Department, Sydney, acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Captain, Base Records, together with Victory Medal, being the property of Private R Main.

In May 1940, Ivy Main began divorce proceedings against Raymond: “MAIN v. MAIN. Ivey Myrtle Main petitioned for a divorce from Raymond Main on the grounds of desertion.
Mr. J. J. Davoren appeared for the petitioner. There was no appearance of the respondent.
Ivey Myrtle Main, the petitioner, residing at 169 Argent-street, deposed that she was married to the respondent at 89 Newton-street on March 7, 1914, according to the rites of the Methodist Church. There were two children of the marriage, Raymond Ivan Balfour Main (14), and Thelma Rose Main (deceased). They lived with her father till her husband enlisted for the war. After the war they lived together at her father's place. Her husband used to drink heavily, and often used to abuse her and treat her badly. Following his conduct she left him in 1925. She followed him to a house in Iodide-street. Later -she saw him and she asked him what he was doing in the house, and he struck her. She went to the Police Station, and later got an order for maintenance of £1 for herself and 10/ for the child from him. After the order for maintenance her husband went away and she had never seen him since. She did not know where he was now. Ethel Herbert, of 109 Argent-street, also gave evidence. His Honor found the desertion proved.”

On 20 December 1930 Ivy’s divorce from Raymond was granted: “IN DIVORCE. (Before Mr. Justice Stephens.) DECREES ABSOLUTE. His Honor made absolute the decrees nisi granted in the following suits and declared the marriages dissolved - . . . Ivy Myrtle Main v Raymond Main, . . .”

It is unknown when Raymond arrived in Western Australia but it appears that he then changed his name to Leonard Douglas Grey.

Raymond MAIN alias Leonard Douglas GREY

On 1 March 1938 Leonard writes from Mullewa*, Western Australia, to the War Pension Department in Perth asking if they would kindly inform him of the correct way to apply for a pension for an injury caused at the war.

[*Mullewa is a town in the Mid West region of Western Australia, 450 kilometres north of Perth and 98 kilometres east-northeast of Geraldton.]

On 4 March 1938 the Acting Deputy Commissioner replied. ‘I would be obliged if you would fill in the enclosed pro forma and return at your earliest convenience.’ Again on 14 March 1938 the Deputy Commissioner writes to Leonard saying he has not had a reply to his earlier letter.

On 23 March 1938 Leonard responds saying “I wish to state that I didn’t fill them in as I have got a job in the meantime that I can do at a living wage and seeing I have always managed along since the war by getting light jobs I have always got on alright. Things were looking very black when I wrote you but now having work I will endeavour to still carry on without applying for a pension. Thanking you for your courtesy.”

On 23 July 1940 Leonard Douglas Grey enlisted at Claremont, Western Australia. He gave his date of birth as 11 December 1901 in Townsville, Queensland. His occupation was Motor Driver, his marital status was single, his religion was Atheist, and his next of kin was a Mrs J Cooper, 37 Francis Street, Perth (friend). He was given the rank of Private with the service number WX4920.

Leonard was granted pre-embarkation leave from 27 November 1940 to 5 December 1940 but failed to ‘appear at place of parade appointed’ on 11 December 1940 and was awarded the punishment of guard duty and confined to barracks for 8 days.

On 21 December 1940 he married Ruth Mary Cook in the Wesley Chapel, Perth, Western Australia. He gave his name as Leonard Douglas GREY, aged 40 years, a bachelor, employed with the Australian Imperial Forces, his place of birth as Townsville, Queensland, residing at Northam, Western Australia. He listed his father as Leonard Grey, occupation of painter and his mother as Edith Rose Hart. (This was the confirmation required to confirm that Leonard Douglas Grey and Raymond Main were one and the same person!)

Leonard’s wife gave her name as Ruth Mary Hewitt, her age as 34 years, a divorcee, as of 4th December 1940, and her birthplace as Hastings, England. She was living at 91 Milligan street, Perth, Western Australia. Her father was named as William Hewitt, retired, and her mother was Mary Anne Burroughs.

His service record next of kin information was changed to Mary Ruth Grey, with the marriage date of 28 December 1940.

Leonard embarked for overseas on 3 January 1941, disembarking in the Middle East on 2 February 1941. On 21 February 1941 in Palestine he was transferred to the Australian Headquarters Guard Battalion. On the 1st April he was graded as Group III Driver Mechanic.

On 6 April 1941 Leonard was absent without leave for nine hours and was awarded seven days confined to barracks and forfeited a day’s pay.

On 5 May 1941 Leonard embarked from the Middle East for return to Australia for special duty arriving in Sydney on 27 May 1941. He was then forwarded to Perth on 18 June 1941 and on 4 July 1941 Leonard went before the Medical Board. Part 1 of the form was a ‘Statement by the patient concerning his own case’ which asks the question ‘What is the disability (wound, disease, injury) of which you complain? Leonard’s answer was ‘I find nothing wrong’

Part 2 of the form was a ‘Statement by Medical Officer in charge of the case’ which gives the following information: 1. Provisional diagnosis of the disability in respect of which the patient is to be brought before the Board – hypertension, tachycardia
2. Date of origin of disability – April 1941
3. Place of origin of disability – Greece
4. Indicate the main features in the patient’s (a) History (b) Clinical examination – no complaints
5. What, in your opinion, is the cause of the disability – War Service
6. If you consider the disability to have been due to conditions associated with Service, describe them – Tension of War

Part 3 of the form was the ‘Opinion of the Medical Board’
1. Diagnosis of disability – Hyperpiesia
2. Give brief description etc – Tachycardia, tremor, either premature senile or age mistake
3. Is the disability permanent – yes – and yes, it will increase
4. To what extent is the patient’s working capacity affected by his disability in regard to civil employment (i) at present – Nil at present (ii) permanently – disability will increase
5. Is the disability (b) Constitutional – yes
6. (a) Has the disability been aggravated by (i) Service abroad – Yes and (b) What degree of the disability, if any, was present on enlistment? – 100% predisposition
10. Do the Board recommend discharge from the Service as permanently unfit – Yes, immediately.

On 23 July 1941 a Form Z.19 ‘Returned Soldier’ Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, Repatriation Personal Particulars Form, was filled out stating that at 22 August 1941 Leonard would receive 8/- per diem (including 2/ def.) with 3/- per diem allotted to Ruth Mary Grey as his dependent. The form stated he was married in Perth on 21 December 1940 and that the marriage certificate had been sighted. The date up to which pay allotment and/or dependant’s allowance will be paid was 22 August 1941.

On 23 July 1941 Leonard underwent a second medical examination that found he had a severe nasal problem for which an operation was advised. He was therefore discharged medically unfit as from 22 August 1941.

On 11 July 1942 Leonard again enlisted, this time at Meekatharra, Western Australia. This time he gave his date of birth as 11 December 1894 (which was correct) but still gave his birthplace as Townsville, Queensland. His next of kin was his wife, Ruth Grey, and he was posted as a Private to the 16th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps with the service number W76903. He was discharged on 7 February 1943.

On 25 August 1943 Leonard write from “Bellaranga” via Arrino (see note below*) to the Deputy Commissioner, Repatriation Commission, stating that he has been in ill health for some time. His doctor had said that his nose is the trouble and he had been advised to have an operation by a specialist. He asks if it would be possible for the Repatriation doctor to examine him and pay the cost, or most of it, as he is not in a position to pay much. He is working on a farm in the Morawa district and states he is married and not in receipt of a pension. He states he was discharged on 22 August 1941, medically unfit. Discharge number 55126, Driver LD Grey, HQ Guard Battalion.

[*Located halfway between Three Springs and Morawa, Bellaranga Farms is 300km north of Perth and 170km from the coastal port town of Geraldton. Arrino is a small town in the Mid West region of Western Australia. The town is located between Mingenew and Three Springs on the Midlands Road]

On 1 September 1943 Leonard received a reply to say that he was not eligible for medical treatment at the expense of the Department as they did not consider his disability to be due to War service. Several forms were included so he could make application for acceptance of his disability.

The 1943 Western Australian Electoral Roll showed Leonard Douglas Grey, Tractor Driver, living with Ruth Mary Grey, domestic duties, at Bellarang’A, Arrino, in the sub-district of Irwin, in the District of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

In January 1946 Leonard must have been in Perth and it was here that his truck was stolen : “Two Vehicles Missing. International truck No. MO89, owned by Leonard Douglas Grey of Morowa, disappeared between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. yesterday from near the Red Lion Inn in Aberdeen Street, Perth.”

From a later newspaper report, the truck was apparently stolen by one Kenneth John Morrisey : “FALSE PRETENCES. Labourer Gaoled. Before Mr. K. J. Dougall, S.M., in the Perth Police Court yesterday Kenneth John Morrisey, (34), labourer, pleaded guilty to two charges of having obtained money by false pretences and to a third charge, of having attempted to obtain money by false pretences. . . . Morrisey pleaded guilty to a fourth charge of having on January 8 unlawfully assumed control of a motor truck valued at £60, the property of Leonard Douglas Grey. On each of the charges the accused was sentenced to one month's imprisonment, the terms to be cumulative. Sgt. R. H. Hickson prosecuted.”

On 29 September 1947 Leonard again wrote to the Repatriation Commission ‘to apply for the £10 advance for tools so would you send me up the right form to fill in. At present I am share farming at Gutha*. My battalion was WX4920, Driver LD Grey, 2/28th Battalion AIF transferred to HQ Guard Battalion AIF.’

[*Gutha is a townsite in the Mid West region of Western Australia, 32 kilometres north of Morawa.]

On 13 October 1947 Leonard received a reply from the Deputy Commissioner enclosing ‘application forms for your completion in detail and return to this Department, together with the essential requirements as indicated in the attached pamphlet.’

The 1949 Western Australian Electoral Roll showed Leonard Douglas Grey, Tractor Driver, living with Ruth Mary Grey, domestic duties, this time at Mingenew, in the sub-district of Irwin, in the District of Moore, Western Australia.

On 22 July 1955 Leonard’s wife, Ruth, died in the Victoria District Hospital, Geraldton. Her age was given as 51 years with her death being the subject of a Coronial inquiry. A note on her death certificate read : “notification of cause of death not received at date of registration.”

A later addition to the certificate gave the following information: “The entry in column four (1) is now replaced by the required particulars as follows: [Death by] natural causes, toxic myocardidis, acute peritonitis, rupture of perinytric abcess (Rt) Rt renal calculi (As determined by inquiry held at Geraldton on 25 August 1955 by KH Hogg, Coroner) Entry authorised by the Registrar General on the 29th August, 1955.”

Ruth’s death certificate gave her place of birth as Hastings, England, but she had lived in New Zealand for 21 years and in Western Australia for 29 years. Her parents’ names were unknown. She was married to Leonard Douglas Grey on 28 December 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand, and had the following children: Walter 22 years; Gwen 25 years; Yvonne 21 years; Von deceased; Ronald deceased; and Leslie deceased.

Ruth was buried on 25 July 1955 in the Church of England portion of the Dongara cemetery by R.W. Laurie, Minister of the Church of England. The Funeral Director was Beverley L Sheldon for Aidan Pinder, Funeral Director, Forrest Street, Geraldton, Western Australia.

A number of years ago the author had made enquiries as to whether or not a grave marker had been placed on Ruth’s grave. A letter received from a Mrs Joan Downes, researcher, of Geraldton, stated that she was sure there had been a wooden cross, painted white, with the wording ‘GRAY, Ruth Mary, wife of Len D. died 22 July 1955, aged 51 years.’ This was recorded in a list of Memorial Inscriptions, as at 7th December 1957. By 1982 when the Western Australia Genealogical Society recorded an update of their inscriptions, there was no listing of either GRAY or GREY.

Leonard’s war service file from the National Archives of Australia contained a letter dated 4th May 1956 from the Director of Social Services, Perth, addressed to the Officer-in-Charge, Army Records, Melbourne, which said that Leonard Douglas Grey had applied for an age pension from the Department of Social Services. The letter said that Leonard had served in the Army during World War I under the name of Raymond Main and gave further details on his service. On 16th May 1956 a reply was received from AIF Base Records advising that there was “no record of Leonard Douglas Grey, however records were held for N6116 Private Raymond Main, 27th Battalion, who enlisted at Broken Hill on 21 September 1916, declaring his to be 21 years 9 months. No record is held to indicate that Main and Grey are identical.”

The author is of the belief that Leonard did not receive any form of pension from the government of Australia – see paragraph following regarding a letter dated 11 October 1960.

On 11 July 1960 Leonard Douglas Grey died in the Victoria District Hospital, Geraldton, Western Australia and was buried in the Anglican portion of the Dongara cemetery on 13 July 1960 by R.W. Laurie, Minister of the Church of England. The Funeral Director was Aidan Pinder of Geraldton, Western Australia.

Leonard’s death certificate gave his cause of death as “coronary thrombosis (minutes only), ischaemic heart disease (several years), hypertension (several years) (contributory cause): influenzal bronchitis (7 days).” Other details from the death certificate were: “Place of birth unknown, name of parents unknown, widowed, place of marriage given as Auckland, New Zealand on 28 December 1919, to Ruth Mary (surname unknown).”

On 26 September 1960 the Funeral Director, Aidan Pinder, sent a letter to the Secretary, Repatriation Department, enclosing a claim form for the funeral of the late Leonard D Grey of Dongara. In that letter, he said he sent the form to the Secretary, RSL, Dongara, to complete, but he [the Secretary] only put in a few details and posted the form back to him unsigned. He was therefore signing the form and sending it direct to the Repatriation Department. Furthermore “The President of the RSL, Dongara, authorised the funeral which totalled £45.5.0. They have paid £20.5.0. leaving £25.0.0. to come from your Department. I trust you will oblige and send it on to me direct.
I may mention that I buried deceased wife in 1955 and £38.1.6. is still owing on the account. So you will realise I don’t want to be caught on this one as well.”
Written on this letter were the words ‘there are no next of kin’.

On 11 October 1960 the Deputy Commission (Repatriation Department) responded to Mr Aidan Pinder, Funeral Director, Forrest street, Geraldton, in the matter of Leonard Douglas Grey’s death. The form stated Leonard’s last known address as Gutha, Western Australia, his date of birth as 11 December 1901 and his date of death as 11 July 1960 at Geraldton, Western Australia. The Deputy Commissioner responded that Leonard ‘cannot be traced as an invalid, age or TB pensioner’ and that he was not receiving a pension from this Department and therefore any funeral benefit under the Social Services Act would not be paid by this Department.

On 13 October 1960 a letter was received by the Deputy Commissioner, Repatriation Department, from the Public Trust Office, Perth, responding to a letter from the Department dated 11 October 1960. The Public Trust Office replied: “The only assets in this estate were cash £12 and a small purse which when sold realised an amount of 10 pence. The balance of the estate £6.6.2d., has been paid to the Returned Soldiers’ League, Dongara Sub Branch on account of the funeral expenses of the deceased.”


Leonard Douglas Grey had married Ruth Mary Cook in Perth, Western Australia, on 21 December 1940. Ruth had indicated that she was a divorcee. This we know to be correct.

In 1928 Ruth had married a Robert Cook in New Zealand and in May 1940 Robert Cook had filed for divorce : “THE LAW COURTS. Today's List. NISI PRIUS.-At 10.30 a.m. before the Chief Justice: Petitions In divorce: Robt. Cook v. Ruth M. Cook:”
“DIVORCE COURT. Sixteen Undefended Cases. In the Divorce Court yesterday the Chief Justice (Sir John Northmore) granted decrees nisi in the following undefended cases, the petitioner being mentioned first in each: Robert Cook from Ruth Mary Cook
Ground: Desertion. Counsel: Mr. V. O. Fabriclus. Decree returnable in six months.”

A further newspaper report gave more information as to why Robert Cook had filed for divorce from Ruth: “Deserts Invalid. A man whose wife left him and whom he claimed had entered a house of ill-fame was this week granted a dissolution of their marriage.
Robert Cook, invalid pensioner, of Swanbourne, told the Court that he married Ruth Mary Cook in New Zealand in 1928.
Shortly after the marriage they came to Western Australia to live.
Up to about 1932 their married life was happy but his wife then began to go out with other men.
One day when he returned to their home in Perth he found his wife had gone and taken her belongings.
He later discovered she was an inmate of a house of ill-fame in Perth.
A decree nisi returnable in six months was granted on the ground of desertion.
[Before the Chief Justice, Sir John Northmore. Mr. V. O. Fabricius represented the petitioner.]”

From Ruth’s marriage and death certificates it has been ascertained that Ruth’s birthdate was probably around 1905 but was she born in Hastings, England? The Free BMD website lists a birth in the September quarter of 1906 for a Ruth Mary Hewitt, born in Hastings, England. Ruth’s marriage certificate gave her father’s name as William Hewitt and her mother as Mary Anne nee Bourroughs. It is therefore possible that Ruth was indeed born in Hastings, England.

Ruth’s death certificate raised many questions as the certificate contained a number of falsehoods. Ruth did not marry Leonard Douglas Grey on 28 December 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand. As far as the author is able to ascertain, Leonard (alias Raymond Main) never visited New Zealand.

No record of any children has been found either in New Zealand or Western Australia.

Following further research, it is possible that Ruth Mary Hewitt left London, bound for New Zealand, on 12 November 1909 with her mother and older brother (see below ).

The ship Corinthic arrived in Wellington on 27 December 1909 . The family had been travelling in the second class saloon but there is no mention of a Mr William Hewitt.


Raymond Main’s wife, Ivy Myrtle nee Gray, divorced Raymond in 1930 on the grounds of desertion. She married Charles Stanley Drake in 1931 in Broken Hill, New South Wales.

On 6 February 1935, Charles Drake died : “DEATH OF MR. C. DRAKE. The death occurred last night of Mr. Charles Stanley Drake, aged 37 years, at his home at 164 Lane-lane. Mr. Drake waa born at Launceston, Tasmania, and came to Australia shortly after the war, arriving in Broken Hill in 1919. He was a member of the Returned Soldiers'
Association and leaves a widow and one son. The funeral took place this afternoon, the cortege leaving his late residence. The interment was made in the Church of England Cemetery. The funeral was under the direction of Tom J. Malton.”

Charles Drake was laid to rest in the Broken Hill cemetery on 7 February 1935 : “LATE MR. C. S. DRAKE. The interment was made in the Church of England Cemetery yesterday afternoon of the remains of Mr. C. S. Drake, the cortege leaving his late residence at 164 Lane-lane. Mr. W. H. Heslop represented the Returned Soldiers,' League. The burial service was conducted by Archdeacon J. H. A. Chauvel. Messrs. R. G. Shaddock, H. J. Howell, and W. H. Heslop (Returned Soldiers' League), P. Bray, E. Corey, and G. A. Darby (friends) were the bearers. Tom J. Mallon had charge of the funeral arrangements.”

Late in 1936 Ivy again married, this time to Edward James Thomas who had recently filed for divorce from his estranged wife : “DESERTED BY WIFE. Miner Seeks Divorce. Edward James Thomas petitioned for a divorce from Dora Thomas on the grounds of desertion in the District Court this afternoon before Judge Coyle.
Mr E. R. Hudson appeared for petitioner. Respondent did not attend.
The petitioner, who is a miner and resides at 151 Newton-lane, said: I married respondent on September 24, 1921, at Mr. Tuck's residence, Broken Hill. My wife's maiden name was Thomas.
To His Honor: She was under age. At the time she was living with Mrs. Collins. She consented to the marriage.
Continuing, the petitioner said: After the marriage I remained living in Broken Hill with my wife until June 6, 1924, when she left me. She went to Brisbane to see her mother. She had my consent. At that time there were two children of the marriage - Dorothy Hope and Edward Arnold - whom she took with her.
SENT HER FARE. I corresponded with my wife for 12 months, and sent her money each fortnight. I asked my wife to return and sent the fare over to her. I got no reply to the letter.
I had inquiries made in Brisbane and from that time ceased sending money to her every fortnight.
Some years later -in 1926 - I sent money for her to bring the children home, but instead of her returning with the children my mother-in-law brought them. She stayed a week, and went back again. The children have been living with me since that time, and I have heard nothing from my wife. I refrained from taking proceedings earlier as I hoped she would come back. I ask for the custody of the children.
To His Honor: We were on good terms when she left.
Elizabeth Ellen Gribble, married woman, residing in Bismuth-street, said petitioner, his wife and two children boarded at her residence. "Mrs. Thomas told me she was going to see her mother," said witness, and said you will never see me again Mrs. Gribble." I said, "You only say that now." She said. "I mean it. I don't want Mr. Thomas." I have never seen her in Broken Hill since she left.
His Honor found both issues proved.”

A report in ‘The Advertiser’ of Wednesday, 17 April 1963, said there had been a fatal accident: “Edwin James THOMAS, 65, of Jennifer Street, Rosewater, was killed in a head on crash between a station sedan and a utility on the Broken Hill Road between Oodlawirra and Nackara. Injured in the accident were Ivy Myrtle Thomas, 65, wife of the dead man, severe head injuries; Keith Francis John Fraser, 29, of Jennifer Street, Rosewater, and his daughters, Kerry 2 and Heather 8 (who suffered major injuries) and Cheryl 7 and Evelyn 5 (who suffered minor injuries).”

The accident occurred on the Tuesday following the Easter long weekend in 1963 when three people were killed. Sadly, one of the people killed was Ivy’s third husband, Edward James Thomas, incorrectly reported as Edwin James Thomas. Edward was buried in the Cheltenham cemetery.

Ivy died on 27 August 1988, aged 90 years and was buried with her husband in the Cheltenham cemetery .

From the Cheltenham cemetery record site, it states that Ivy had previously been living in the Adelaide suburb of Paradise .

Raymond Main’s son:

Raymond and Ivy Main’s son, Raymond Ivan Balfour Main, was born on 19 April 1915 in Broken Hill, New South Wales.

On 28 September 1934 Raymond junior married Agnes Gertrude McGowan. Their first child, Valda Mary Margaret, was born on 29 August 1935, and their next child, Brian Raymond John, was born in 1939.

On 24 June 1940 Raymond enlisted in the Australian Army to serve during World War Two. His service number was SX6613 and from his service record held at the National Archives of Australia , he gave his date of birth as 19 April 1914 although his actual date of birth was 1915. He gave his next of kin as Violet Main although it is believed he was still married to Agnes. At this time the author has no knowledge of who Violet Main actually was!

Thirty recruits for the Second A.I.F. had been accepted and left Broken Hill for Adelaide on the night of Monday 24 June 1940 : “. . . will leave by tonight's express for Adelaide, where they will enter the Wayville Reception Depot. The men to leave are:- . . . Raymond Main, . . .
Another eight men were accepted during the week end. They were: . . . Raymond Main.
Two men were rejected as medically unfit and two were deferred.
Out of the 14 applications Lieut. W. J. Stevens, local recruiting officer, said that 10 men were married.”

Raymond would serve with the 2nd/3rd Machine Gun Battalion and on 30 June 1942 Raymond faced a court martial . Raymond had absented “himself without leave in that he at Sandy Creek on the 11 April 1942, absented himself without leave from Sandy Creek Camp from 0640 hours until 1400 hours on 31 May 1942.” Raymond was arrested at Broken Hill and pleaded guilty to the charge. He was taken to the Wayville Detention Barracks where he spent four days, then two days at Adelaide Military Gaol, and five days at Adelaide Oval. He was sentenced to fourteen days detention.

No further information on Raymond’s war service is known.

On 13 May 1944 Raymond’s wife, Agnes, died in the Broken Hill Hospital, aged 32 years : “PASSING OF MRS. A. MAIN. The death occurred at the Hospital late on Saturday evening of Mrs. Agnes Gertrude Main at the age of 32 years. She was born in Broken Hill, and leaves a husband and two children. The funeral, which was of a private nature, took place today, leaving her late residence, 151 Newton Lane, Railway Town, at 11.30 a.m. The interment was made in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Father F. Bongiorno officiating. The bearers were Messrs. E. J. Thomas, W. Gribble, J. Porter, L. Gribble. Fred J. Potter & Son had charge of the funeral.”
“MAIN.-The Relatives and Friends of Mr. Raymond Main (AIF) and Family are respectfully informed that the remains of their late beloved Wife and Mother (Agnes Gertrude) were peacefully laid to rest in the Roman Catholic Cemetery This Day (Monday) at 11.45 a.m., Father F. Borgionio officiating. Fred J. Potter & Son, Oxide Street, Phone 725. Funeral Directors.
MAIN.-The Relatives and Friends of Mr. McGowan, Mrs. E. J. Thomas and Families are respectfully informed that the remains of their late beloved Daughter, Daughter-in-law and Sister (Agnes Gertrude Main) were peacefully laid to rest in the Roman Catholic Cemetery This Day (Monday) at 11.45 p.m., Father F. Bongiorno officiating. Fred J. Potter & Son, Oxide Street. Phone 725. Funeral Directors.”

Following Agnes’ death, Raymond may have married Violet May (surname unknown). She died at Waikerie, South Australia, on 20 April 1955 and was buried in the Waikerie cemetery. Violet’s death registration indicated that she was fifty nine years old and her headstone in the Waikerie cemetery reads: ‘Violet May Main, died 20 April 1955, mother of Kathleen, Heather and Doreen’. As Violet was possibly married previously, the children may not be Raymond’s but from Violet’s first marriage.\

Raymond died on 18 May 1964 in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. His death certificate gave the following information: “cremated at Centennial Park crematorium, buried 20 May 1964’. His marital status was given as ‘divorced’, his age was forty nine years, his occupation was given was ‘retired labourer’, with his usual residence given as ‘24 Montpelier Street, Exeter’. Raymond died of ‘peritonitis and duodenal perforation, 23 hours, acute duodenal ulcer, years.’ The informant was his son, Brian, whose address in 1954 was given as 87 Gateshead Crescent, Mansfield Park.

Raymond Ivan Balfour MAIN’s children

Raymond’s first child was Valda Mary Margaret, born on 29 August 1935 in Broken Hill. From further research, Valda announced her engagement to Keith Fraser in October 1954 : “THE ENGAGEMENT has been announced of Valda Margaret, only daughter of Mr. Main, of Adelaide, and the late Mrs. Main, to Keith Fraser, formerly of Gippsland, Victoria.”

Valda married Keith Francis Fraser in 1955 in Broken Hill. From the Sands and McDougall almanacs held at the State Library, the family lived in South Australia for a period of time but eventually moved to the Albury area in Victoria. From Ivy Main’s third husband’s death notice in the ‘The Advertiser’ of Wednesday, 17 April 1963, it was ascertained that Valda and Keith had four daughters.

Valda died on 15 June 2014 and her ‘In Memoriam Condolences’ page published in The Border Mail on 16 June 2015 read: “Fraser, Valda Marg. - 29.8.1934 - 15.6.2014 Treasured memories of a much loved mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. Loved forever. - From your family. Xxx”

Raymond’s second child was Brian Raymond John who was born in 1939 in Broken Hill. It is known that he married and had children but when the author contacted him, he was reticent to share very much information.

Certificate 1327 (From Unley Public Library, 19 March 1996)
Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888-1954) Wednesday 6 October 1954
http://ryersonindex.org/search.php and tributes.bordermail.com.au/obituaries/bordermail-au/obituary.aspx?n=valda-fraser...


Military Bio WW1

D.O.B: 11th SEPTEMBER 1894
DIED: 11th JULY 1960

Private Raymond Main enlisted into the 27th Battalion, 17th Reinforcements Australian Imperial Force on the 21st day of September 1916 at Broken Hill NSW after over 4 years in the cadets. He embarked in Adelaide on the “HMAT Afric” on the 7th day of November, disembarking in England and marching into the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone on the 9th day of January 1917.

On the 5th day of April he embarked at Rollestone and disembarked on the 6th day of April at Estaples, France. He joined the 27th Battalion at Scot Re Doubt Camp on the 8th day of April 1917. They marched out to Bapaume on the 14th day of April and laid wire for posts and were assigned road making duties until the 19th day of April when they relieved the 20th Battalion in the front line. On the 26th day of May 1917 Private Main was admitted to the 14th Australian Field Ambulance with Scabies and was discharged on the 17th day of July and rejoined the 27th Battalion at Senlis. They moved to Renescure until the 12th day of September 1917 and marched to Montreal Camp near Reningelst arriving on the 15th day of September 1917 with ammunition for the front line.

On the 17th day of September the 27th Battalion arrived at Westhoek Ridge, Ypres and was engaged in trench war fare until the 21st day of September when they marched back to Monteal Camp. On the 1st day of October they marched out to Westhoek Ridge and ANZAC Ridge, returning to Steenvoorde on the 11th day of October for 16 days rest before marching to Albert ReDoubt. On the 31st day of October the Battalion relieved the 23rd in the front line until the 2nd day of November. They were assigned fatigue duty on the 5th day of November 1917at Ypres and moved onto Steenvoorde on the 9th day of November. On the 15th day of December they moved out to the Ploegsteert area. The 27th Battalion was relieved on the 9th day of January 1918 and moved to Red Lodge. On the 27th day of January they marched to Bellebrune. All throughout February 1918 the Battalion was in the Henneveau Area for rest, sporting games and training.

On the 15th day of March Private Main proceeded from Belgium to England on leave and rejoined the 27th Battalion in Belgium on the 29th day of March 1918 on the front line at Frelinghien. The 27th Battalion was relived and marched back through No 1 camp Kortepyp for Fletre on the 3rd day of April. On the 6th day of April they marched for Baizauex on the front line. On the 30th day of April the 27th was relieved and marched to Amiens until the 12th day of May when they marched for Franvillers. On the 10th day of June 1918 the Battalion was heavily involved in the Battle of Morlandcourt and the Battle of Hamel on the 4th day of July 1918.

On the 8th day of August the Battalion was in the first wave at the Battle of Amiens and on the 1st day of September 1918 were in the attack on the enemy line at Mont. St Quentin where Private Main suffered a Gun shot wound to his right upper arm and left hand and was admitted to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance and transferred to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to No 11 Stationary Hospital, Rouen the following day and embarked to England on the 4th day of September. He was admitted to the Central Military Hospital, Weymouth the following day and discharged to No2 Westham Camp, Weymouth, Dorset on the 24th day of September 1918. On the 2nd day of September 1918 he was taken on strength at Sutton Veny. He suffered Tonsilitis on the 9th day of December and transferred to Tidworth Military Hospital, Wiltshire and discharged on the 30th day of December to the Training Depot.

On the 4th day of January 1919he was charged and convicted of using insubordinate language to a superior Officer. He was awarded 14 days detention and transferred to Lewis Detention Barracks, Tidworth, England on the 7th day of January and discharged from detention on the 19th day of January.

Private Main was found without leave in Tidworth on the 6th day of February 1919 and charged with neglecting to obey an order. He was awarded 6 days in the Lewis Detention Barracks. He embarked at Southampton, England on the “HMAT Boorara” on the 6th day of July 1919, disembarking in Australia on the 26th day of August 1919.

Private Raymond Main was discharged from the AIF on the 5th day of October 1919

He served for: Total effective period of 998 days
Active service in Australia 89 days
Active service overseas 909 days


British War Medal
Awarded in recognition of the immense sacrifice during the First World War

Victory Medal
Issued to all those with either the 1914-1915 Star or British War Medal or both

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Paul Lemar

On 11 July 1960 Leonard Douglas Grey died in the Victoria District Hospital, Geraldton, Western Australia and was buried in the Anglican portion of the Dongara cemetery on 13 July 1960 by R.W. Laurie, Minister of the Church of England. The Funeral Director was Aidan Pinder of Geraldton, Western Australia. - Nat Lemar