James Snowden (Jim) GRAY

Badge Number: S22954, Sub Branch: Arno Bay

GRAY, James Snowden

Service Numbers: 568, S51
Enlisted: 23 February 1915
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: Infantry Training Battalions
Born: Orroroo, SA, 19 July 1895
Home Town: Orroroo, Orroroo/Carrieton, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carrier
Died: 27 February 1984, aged 88 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Barmera (Upper Murray) Garden of Memory Cemetery
Buried on the 29th February 1984 Section- G.O.M.SECTION G Plot/Grave/Niche- 5 RD Grant Number- F 58 Burial/Order Number- 3206 Row D
Memorials: Mannanarie Roll of Honor WW1, Orroroo Baptist Sunday School Roll of Honour, Orroroo District Roll of Honour WW1, Orroroo Public School Roll of Honour, Yongala Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

23 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 568, 27th Infantry Battalion
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 568, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT A2 Geelong
31 May 1915: Involvement Private, 568, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note: ''
31 May 1915: Embarked Private, 568, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
18 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 27th Infantry Battalion
27 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 568, Anzac Police, Duty at Port Said. When on active service, absent from the barracks on the 6th of October 1916, reprimanded and reduced to ranks.
7 Nov 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion
5 Dec 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, Overseas
6 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 568, 10th Infantry Battalion, G/Seas in Alexandria
5 Feb 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 27th Infantry Battalion, Taken on strength
15 Mar 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 10th Infantry Battalion
28 Apr 1918: Wounded Lance Corporal, 568, 10th Infantry Battalion, Shell wound to arm in France. Taken to Etaples- 30.4.18 Left Etaples for England- 3.5.18 Arrived in Banningham, England-4.5.18 Dartford Hospital- 31.5.18
19 Aug 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 27th Infantry Battalion, Rejoined in France

World War 2 Service

25 Jun 1940: Involvement Sergeant, S51
25 Jun 1940: Enlisted Wayville, SA
25 Jun 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, S51, Infantry Training Battalions
28 Aug 1944: Discharged
28 Aug 1944: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, S51, Infantry Training Battalions

Help us honour James Snowden Gray's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Olivia Sheehan

James Snowden Gray was born in Orroroo on July 19th, 1895, as the thirteenth child of Alfred David Gray and Harriet Gray (née Lindo). He was known to many as Jim, was single and worked as a carrier with his brother Fred, before enlisting on February 23rd, 1915, in Keswick, with the service number 568.

On May 31st, 1915, after several weeks of training, Jim embarked on board the HMAT A2 Geelong as a Private with the 27th Battalion, C Company. They made their way to Egypt where they trained until September 4th, 1915. On September 12th, 1915, they joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

On October 3rd, 1915, Jim was awarded ‘three days fatigue’, for disobedience of orders while at Gallipoli. During those three days he would probably have been carrying ammunition to the firing line, generally through forbidden territory to help capture trenches.

On October 10th, 1915, he fell ill and was taken to the 7th Field Ambulance. Two days later he was diagnosed with myalgia and was transferred to Moudros, Greece. A further diagnosis of rheumatism was made six days later and he disembarked from Alexandria, Egypt to Heliopolis in Cairo, Egypt. On November 15th, 1915, he was taken to the Helouan Convalescent Camp with rheumatism and fifteen days later he was discharged from the camp to a Training Camp in Giza, Cairo.

On April 23rd, 1916, he again fell ill in Abbassia in Cairo with measles and smallpox, and his next of kin was notified. He was discharged from the hospital in Abbassia and re-admitted to Number Four Auxiliary Hospital, Abbassia on June 3rd, 1916. He was later discharged on June 26th, 1916, to Tel-el-Kabir Training Camp.

While in Abbassia, Jim was promoted to Lance Corporal on July 18th, 1916. However, on October 6th, 1916, he was absent from the barracks without leave during active service in Port Said, Egypt. This occurred after he had been taken on strength from the 27th Battalion to the ANZAC Provost Corps, and thus he was reduced back to Private.

Jim was transferred to the 10th Battalion, and embarked overseas from Egypt on December 6th, 1916. He proceeded to join the unit and was taken on strength in France on February 5th, 1917.

Once again Jim was promoted to Lance Corporal on March 15th, 1917, this time with the 10th Battalion. On December 25th, 1917, Jim discontinued his service with the 10th Battalion from Belgium and proceeded on English Leave until rejoining on January 14th, 1918. 

On April 28th, 1918, Jim was wounded in action while serving in France with a shell wound to the arm. During his treatment and recovery, he was taken to Etaples, France and then transported to England, where he arrived in Banningham. He was taken to the Dartford Hospital on May 31st, 1918, and was then transferred to the Number Three General Division Camp on June 10th, 1918.

Two months later on August 9th, 1918, Jim was absent without leave from the camp and lost three days’ pay. He also received two days of number two field punishment. Number two field punishment involved hard labouring work, similar to what a prisoner would have been required to do, with the exception by law to not be attached to a fixed object. He then marched back to the A.I.F division as an exwounded on August 17th, 1918, and rejoined the 27th Battalion on August 19th, 1918, in France.

Jim finally returned to Australia via Port Macquarie from England on March 28th, 1919, but was admitted to the ship’s hospital with scabies at sea on April 29th, 1919. He was then discharged to duty on May 7th, 1919, and was officially discharged from the army on July 27th, 1919.

After returning to Orroroo Jim continued helping his brother with the carrying business. He married Hilda Frances Mary Gray (née Hales) on September 22nd, 1920. For the next nine years they continued living in Orroroo and had four daughters. They then moved to Cootra East for the next nine years on a farming property called Caraloo. After bad years and drought forced them off the land, they moved to Adelaide, which also gave their daughters better opportunities.

Jim rejoined the army in November, 1940 until September, 1944. After he was discharged he became a contract builder in Adelaide until 1952 when they moved to the Eyre Peninsula, this time in Cowell where he continued to be a contract builder. They moved to Arno Bay in 1965 where he retired due to ill health. He made his last move to Berri to be closer to his children and to get better medical assistance. He died on February 27th, 1984, and was buried on February 29th, 1984, in the Barmera Cemetery.


Jim was awarded:

Victory Medal, no. 3506

British War Medal (also known as General Service), no. 3547

1914/1915 Star, no. 6512


Olivia Sheehan July 2016