James Cyril GRAY MM

GRAY, James Cyril

Service Number: VX32559
Enlisted: 28 May 1940, Mildura, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 2nd/24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Orrorroo, South Australia, 6 January 1916
Home Town: Morkalla, Mildura Shire, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer/Grazier
Died: Natural causes, Victoria, 10 April 1992, aged 76 years
Cemetery: Wangaratta Cemetery, Victoria
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World War 2 Service

28 May 1940: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN VX32559, Mildura, Victoria
28 Jun 1941: Honoured Military Medal, Siege of Tobruk
6 Jun 1942: Promoted 2nd AIF WW 2, Warrant Officer Class 2
20 Dec 1945: Discharged 2nd AIF WW 2, Captain, SN VX32559, 2nd/24th Infantry Battalion

James Cyril Gray and the 2/24th Battalion

James Cyril Gray enlisted on the 25th of May 1940 in Mildura and commenced full time war service on the 16th June 1940. He was initially posted to the 2/40th Battalion on the 19th July 1940, but was later transferred to the 2/24th Battalion on the 21st August 1940. Gray embarked along with his battalion for the Middle East theatre of war on the 16th November 1940. Private Gray was appointed to Lance Corporal (LCPL) at sea before arriving in the Middle East on the 17th December 1940.

LCPL Gray and the 2/2th Battalion entered Tobruk on the 10th April, where they spent the next eight months fighting in defence of the city. Gray was promoted to Corporal on the 13th February 1941. For “remarkable coolness, bravery and leadership” CPL Gray was awarded the Military Medal on the 28th June 1941, for actions on the 24th April and 1st May in the Defence of Tobruk. Gray was promoted to Sargent on the 14th August 1941, but was then evacuated in September with Diarrhoea and spent about 2 weeks in hospital before returning to duty.

On the night of the 20th October the majority of the 9th Division, except the 2/13th Infantry Battalion, was evacuated by sea to Alexandria. The 2/24th was then transferred to Palestine and Syria and undertook rest and garrison duties. Between December 1941 and February 1942 SGT Gray attended the AIF Middle East Infantry School to undertake his Company Sargent Major course. Gray was then appointed acting Warrant Officer Class Two in March but was not officially promoted until the 6th June 1942.

In July 1942 the 2/24th was rushed with the rest of 9 Division to Alamein to defend the northern sector for four months. WO2 Gray attended the Middle East Officer Cadet Training Unit from 8th July 1942, which meant that he missed the fighting at Alamein during that same period. After finishing officer training on 9th November 1942, Gray was appointed Lieutenant and allotted duty in 2/24th Battalion on the 17th November 1942. The 2/24th left Alamein in early December for Gaza on its way back to Australia, where it arrived in Melbourne on the 25th February 1943.

The 2/24th was reorganised for jungle warfare and in September 1943 participated in the 9th Division’s amphibious landings at Red Beach, northwest of Lae, Papua New Guinea. LT Gray was wounded in action on the 11th September 1943 but remained on duty. On the 7th February LT Gray arrived back in Australia disembarking in Townsville. Five months later he was hospitalised with Maleria BT on the 4h July 1944, but by the 30th July 1944 had recovered.

After returning from service in New Guinea the 2/24th was granted leave before conducted extensive training in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland. In April 1945 the 9th Division was transported to Morotai in preparation for amphibious landings on Borneo. The 2/24th was the reserve battalion for the landings at Tarakan on the 1st May 1945. On the 2nd May the 2/24th Battalion was tasked with securing the Tarakan airfield.

On the 3rd May Charlie Company, of which LT Gray was second in command, attacked RIPPON at 1810, a feature directly overlooking the Tarakan airfield. After taking heavy fire a retreat was called at 1910. Four had been killed and eight wounded including company commander Captain Eldridge. As a result LT Gray assumed command of the company.

A second attempt to take RIPPON was not embarked upon until the 4th May but was again soon called off due to heavy shelling and multiple casualties. It was not until 1530 on the 5th May that Charlie Company was able to occupy RIPPON. This outcome meant the Tarakan airfield was finally secured. After securing Tarakan airfield the 2/24th saw heavy fighting in the hills overlooking Tarakan airfield. The 2/24th fought hard along ‘crazy ridge’ and it was not until the 20th June that the Tarakan campaign ended, with the capture of the last main objective known as Hill 90.

LT Gray was promoted to Captain on the 9 July 1945, but was subsequently evacuated on the 25th July 1945 due to contracting Ancylostomiasis (Hookworm). Capt. Gray was discharged from hospital on the 13th August two days before the war ended on the 15th August 1945. Gray then went via Morotai back to Australia, arriving in Brisbane on the 5th November 1945. Capt. Gray returned to Victoria where he discharged on the 20th December 1945.

Capt. Gray’s ‘Dispersal Data Form’ upon discharge indicated he was ‘undecided’ about whether he wanted to return to his pre war occupation as a self employed ‘Contractor & Farmer’. He also indicated that he was interested in ‘Land Settlement’ assistance, but not state run training courses. After the war Gray married Norah and had three children, eventually also becoming a ‘dearly loved’ grandfather. James Cyril Gray lived to be 76 and died on the 10 April 1992. He is buried in Wangaratta Cemetery.

James Cyril Gray's headstone reads:

In loving memory of James Cyril Gray 6.1.1916 - 10.4.1992.
"Loved husband of Norah (...) loved father of Alan, Marion and Noel."
"Dearly loved by all the grandchildren."
"Always in our hearts."

Read more...
Showing 1 of 1 story

Biography contributed by Thomas Paterson

James Cyril Gray and the 2/24th Battalion


James Cyril Gray enlisted in on the 25th of May 1940 in Mildura and commenced full time war service on the 16th June 1940. He was initially posted to the 2/40th Battalion on the 19th July 1940, but was later transferred to the 2/24th Battalion on the 21st August 1940. Gray along with his battalion embarked for the Middle East theatre of war on the 16th November 1940. Private Gray was appointed to Lance Corporal at sea before arriving in the Middle East on the 17th December 1940.

Along with the rest of the 2/24th Battalion, Gray entered Tobruk on the 10th April where he spent the next eight months fighting in defence of the city. Gray was promoted to Corporal on the 13th February 1941. For “remarkable coolness, bravery and leadership”, CPL Gray was awarded the Military Medal on the 28th June 1941, for actions on the 24th April and 1st May in the Defence of Tobruk. Gray was promoted to Sargent on the 14th August 1941 but was then evacuated in September with Diarrhoea, and spent about 2 weeks in hospital before returning to duty.

On the night of the 20th October the majority of the 9th Division, except the 2/13th Infantry Battalion, was evacuated by sea to Alexandria. The 2/24th was then transferred to Palestine and Syria and undertook rest and garrison duties. Between December 1941 and February 1942 SGT Gray attended the AIF Middle East Infantry School to undertake his Company Sargent Major course. Gray was then appointed acting Warrant Officer Class Two in March but was not officially promoted until the 6th June 1942.

In July 1942 the 2/24th was rushed along with the rest of 9 Division to Alamein to defend the northern sector for four months. WO2 Gray attended the Middle East Officer Cadet Training Unit from 8th July 1942, which meant that he missed the fighting at Alamein during that same period. After finishing officer training on 9th November 1942, Gray was appointed Lieutenant and allotted duty in 2/24th Battalion on the 17th November 1942. The 2/24th left Alamein in early December for Gaza on its way back to Australia, where it arrived in Melbourne on the 25th February 1943.

The 2/24th was reorganised for jungle warfare and in September 1943 participated in the 9th Division’s amphibious landings at Red Beach, North-west of Lae, Papua New Guinea. LT Gray was wounded in action on the 11th September 1943 but remained on duty. On the 7th February LT Gray arrived back in Australia disembarking in Townsville. Five months later he was hospitalised with Maleria BT on the 4h July 1944, but by the 30th July 1944 had recovered.


After returning from service in New Guinea the 2/24th was granted leave before conducted extensive training in the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland. In April 1945 the 9th Division was transported to Morotai in preparation for amphibious landings on Borneo. The 2/24th was the reserve battalion for the landings at Tarakan on the 1st May 1945. On the 2nd May the battalion was tasked with securing the Tarakan airfield.

On the 3rd May Charlie Company, of which LT Gray was second in command, attacked RIPPON, a feature directly overlooking the Tarakan airfield, at 1810 hours. After taking heavy fire a retreat was called at 1910. Four had been killed and eight wounded including Company Commander Captain Eldridge. As a result LT Gray assumed command of the Company.

A second attempt to take RIPPON was not embarked upon until the 4th May but was again soon called off due to heavy shelling and multiple casualties. It was not until 1530 on the 5th May that Charlie Company was able to occupy RIPPON. This outcome meant the Tarakan airfield was finally secured. After securing Tarakan airfield the 2/24th saw heavy fighting in the hills and on the ridges overlooking Tarakan airfield. The 2/24th fought hard along ‘crazy ridge’ and it was not until the 20th June that the Tarakan campaign ended, with the capture of the last main objective known as Hill 90.

LT Gray was promoted to Captain on the 9 July 1945, but was subsequently evacuated on the 25th July 1945 due to contracting Ancylostomiasis (Hookworm). Capt. Gray was discharged from hospital on the 13th August two days before the war ended on the 15th August 1945. Gray then went via Morotai back to Australia, arriving in Brisbane on the 5th November 1945. Capt. Gray returned to Victoria where he discharged on the 20th December 1945.

Capt. Gray’s ‘Dispersal Data Form’ upon discharge indicated he was ‘undecided’ about whether he wanted to return to his pre war occupation as a self employed ‘Contractor & Farmer’. He also indicated that he was interested in ‘Land Settlement’ assistance but not state run training courses. After the war Gray married Norah and had three children, eventually also becoming a ‘dearly loved’ grandfather. James Cyril Gray lived to be 76 and died on the 10 April 1992. He is buried in Wangaratta Cemetery.

In loving memory of James Cyril Gray 6.1.1916 - 10.4.1992.

"Loved husband of Norah (...) loved father of Alan, Marion and Noel."

"Dearly loved by all the grandchildren."

"Always in our hearts."

 

Read more...

Biography contributed by Thomas Paterson

James Cyril Gray enlisted on the 25th of May 1940 in Mildura and commenced full time war service on the 16th June 1940. He was initially posted to the 2/40th Battalion on the 19th July 1940, but was later transferred to the 2/24th Battalion on the 21st August 1940. Gray embarked along with his battalion for the Middle East theatre of war on the 16th November 1940. Private Gray was appointed to Lance Corporal (LCPL) at sea before arriving in the Middle East on the 17th December 1940.

LCPL Gray and the 2/2th Battalion entered Tobruk on the 10th April, where they spent the next eight months fighting in defence of the city. Gray was promoted to Corporal on the 13th February 1941. For “remarkable coolness, bravery and leadership” CPL Gray was awarded the Military Medal on the 28th June 1941, for actions on the 24th April and 1st May in the Defence of Tobruk. Gray was promoted to Sargent on the 14th August 1941, but was then evacuated in September with Diarrhoea and spent about 2 weeks in hospital before returning to duty. 

On the night of the 20th October the majority of the 9th Division, except the 2/13th Infantry Battalion, was evacuated by sea to Alexandria. The 2/24th was then transferred to Palestine and Syria and undertook rest and garrison duties. Between December 1941 and February 1942 SGT Gray attended the AIF Middle East Infantry School to undertake his Company Sargent Major course. Gray was then appointed acting Warrant Officer Class Two in March but was not officially promoted until the 6th June 1942. 

In July 1942 the 2/24th was rushed with the rest of 9 Division to Alamein to defend the northern sector for four months. WO2 Gray attended the Middle East Officer Cadet Training Unit from 8th July 1942, which meant that he missed the fighting at Alamein during that same period. After finishing officer training on 9th November 1942, Gray was appointed Lieutenant and allotted duty in 2/24th Battalion on the 17th November 1942. The 2/24th left Alamein in early December for Gaza on its way back to Australia, where it arrived in Melbourne on the 25th February 1943.

The 2/24th was reorganised for jungle warfare and in September 1943 participated in the 9th Division’s amphibious landings at Red Beach, northwest of Lae, Papua New Guinea. LT Gray was wounded in action on the 11th September 1943 but remained on duty. On the 7th February LT Gray arrived back in Australia disembarking in Townsville. Five months later he was hospitalised with Maleria BT on the 4h July 1944, but by the 30th July 1944 had recovered.

After returning from service in New Guinea the 2/24th was granted leave before conducted extensive training in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland. In April 1945 the 9th Division was transported to Morotai in preparation for amphibious landings on Borneo. The 2/24th was the reserve battalion for the landings at Tarakan on the 1st May 1945. On the 2nd May the 2/24th Battalion was tasked with securing the Tarakan airfield.

On the 3rd May Charlie Company, of which LT Gray was second in command, attacked RIPPON at 1810, a feature directly overlooking the Tarakan airfield. After taking heavy fire a retreat was called at 1910. Four had been killed and eight wounded including company commander Captain Eldridge. As a result LT Gray assumed command of the company.   

A second attempt to take RIPPON was not embarked upon until the 4th May but was again soon called off due to heavy shelling and multiple casualties. It was not until 1530 on the 5th May that Charlie Company was able to occupy RIPPON. This outcome meant the Tarakan airfield was finally secured. After securing Tarakan airfield the 2/24th saw heavy fighting in the hills overlooking Tarakan airfield. The 2/24th fought hard along ‘crazy ridge’ and it was not until the 20th June that the Tarakan campaign ended, with the capture of the last main objective known as Hill 90.

 LT Gray was promoted to Captain on the 9 July 1945, but was subsequently evacuated on the 25th July 1945 due to contracting Ancylostomiasis (Hookworm). Capt. Gray was discharged from hospital on the 13th August two days before the war ended on the 15th August 1945. Gray then went via Morotai back to Australia, arriving in Brisbane on the 5th November 1945. Capt. Gray returned to Victoria where he discharged on the 20th December 1945. 

Capt. Gray’s ‘Dispersal Data Form’ upon discharge indicated he was ‘undecided’ about whether he wanted to return to his pre war occupation as a self employed ‘Contractor & Farmer’. He also indicated that he was interested in ‘Land Settlement’ assistance, but not state run training courses. After the war Gray married Norah and had three children, eventually also becoming a ‘dearly loved’ grandfather. James Cyril Gray lived to be 76 and died on the 10 April 1992. He is buried in Wangaratta Cemetery.  

 

 James Cyril Gray's headstone reads:

 

In loving memory of James Cyril Gray 6.1.1916 - 10.4.1992.

"Loved husband of Norah (...) loved father of Alan, Marion and Noel."

"Dearly loved by all the grandchildren."

"Always in our hearts."

Read more...