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  • Family grave and headstone, Tickhill St Mary churchyard. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
Person Details
Tickhill, Yorkshire
He was born in Tickhill abt 1888/1889 the eldest son and second of the five children of Robert (b. Derby) and Frances Gregory (b. Kendal). In 1891 Robert (33) and Frances (28) were living in Tickhill, Yorkshire, with their three children, Lavinia Anne ('Vina') age 4, John (2) and Henry William (Harry) age 1, who were all born in Tickhill. They were still living in Tickhill at the time of the next census in 1901 when both Robert and Frances gave their occupations as hawker. They now had two more children, Ethel (8) and Iva (7), also born in Tickhill. Sadly, Iva died on 11 July 1902 at the age of 8 yrs 6m. By 1911 only Lavinia was still in the family home with her parents. John appeared on the census as a servant ('horseman') living in Styrrup, Nottinghamshire, in the household of Henry John Gregory (b. Kent) and his wife Sarah (b. Styrrup) and their family. There is no indication on the census form that John is related to the family but the common surname suggests this to be the case. When John enlisted in September 1915 he gave his address as c/o Mrs Colthouse of Styrrup, and the newspaper report of his death describes him as being from Styrrup. John's mother died on 21 March 1913 age 50 and his father on 12 July 1916 aged 58 years. The form completed for the Army in 1917 by John's next of kin gives the names of his three surviving siblings: Harry (Henry William) age 27 of Doncaster Road, Tickhill, Lavinia Anne Cooper also of Doncaster Road, Tickhill, and Ethel Hall (26) of West Gate, Tickhill, and her two daughters, John's nieces, Florence and Elizabeth.
In 1911 he was a servant whose occupation was horseman. He was a motor driver when he enlisted in 1915.
07 Jun 1917
28
199655 - CWGC Website
M2/120466
Residence c/o Mrs Colthouse, Styrrup, Bawtry, Yorks. He enlisted in Doncaster.
Private
Army Service Corps
He served in the Mechanical Transport attached 14th Motor Ambulance Convoy. His army service record (short service engagement) survives and from this it appears that before the war he served in the York & Lancs Regt Special Reserve, entry on record annotated '(purchased)'. He attested on 6 September 1915 and joined at Grove Park on 8 September 1915. He was on Home Service to 27 September, embarking SS Alexandra at Southampton on 28 September 1915, disembarking in Rouen the following day. He was then attached to 567 HT Coy, 14th Motor Ambulance Convoy. One period of leave is recorded from 25 January 1917 to 4 February 1917. The ASR contains documents relating to John's death from multiple injuries which he sustained when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a railway engine. A Court of Enquiry was convened at HQ 14th MAC on 29 June 1917 by order of the Camp Commandant 2nd ANZAC, and statements were made by three witnesses, including the engine driver, L/Cpl Harris, who presented statements to the President of the Court, Capt AC Mackay ASC (MT), and two members, a lieutenant from the NZ Pioneers and 2nd Lieut HS James ASC (MT). The statement by L/Cpl Harris, the engine driver, is badly damaged but it appears that he was running a light engine No 2306 from Baillieul to Clapham Junction and, in accordance with regulations, sounded the whistle as he approached the level crossing. He saw a motor cycle approach which collided with the engine; after stopping the engine he found the motorcyclist by the side of the road, badly hurt. A second witness, L/Cpl Horton CB, 43rd Bty, Wellington Infantry NZ Expeditionary Force, stated that, 'on June 7th 1917 I was standing near the New Zealand Crossing and saw the accident. I noticed a motor cyclist approaching and at the same time heard the engine whistle, an attempt was made to warn to the motorcyclist but it was too late, and an accident was inevitable. Once the engine had passed, I saw the deceased lying on the road and assisted (-) hospital. The engine cannot be seen from that side when approaching the crossing and the only warning (-) the whistle, which the cyclist did not appear to hear.’ Another witness, probably an officer serving with No 1 New Zealand Field Ambulance, confirmed the sequence of events, 'This is to report that No M2/120466 Gregory J, attached 14th Motor Ambulance Convoy at the Ravelsberg Rear Station railway crossing, while on a motor cycle, collided with (-) engine and has been seriously injured. The engine (-) was driven by No 149308 Sapper JJ Harris RE. The accident was seen by several, including myself. The engine driver gave the usual loud blast on the whistle before entering the hospital and while passing through. He is in no way to blame for the accident.' The Court of Enquiry made its report into the accident and this was examined by Capt. BM Bentinck for General Commanding Second Army, AHQ 3.7.17, who then submitted his report, 'All papers relating to the accidental death of No M/2/120466, Pte Gregory, J, ASC, MT, are forwarded herewith. No further action is proposed.’ The office of the Lieutenant-General Commanding 2nd ANZAC Corps, HQ' agreed the findings of the Court. John had been taken to 53rd Casualty Clearing Station after the accident where he died of his injuries the same day. He was buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord) (grave ref. III.C.282). He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Thy will be done' CWGC gives age at death in June 1917 as 27 although ASR gives age on enlistment in September 1915 as 27; age at death was probably 28 as recorded on the family gravestone (see below). Inscription on family headstone in St Mary’s churchyard, Tickhill, ‘To our dear brother John Gregory who died on active service June 7th 1917 aged 28 years. Also Frances, mother of the above who died March 21st 1913 aged 50 years. Also Robert, husband of the above, who died July 12th 1916, aged 58 years. Also Iva Gregory, died July 11th 1902, aged 8 years & 6 months.' He is commemorated on the Tickhill memorial in St Mary's churchyard, Tickhill, Yorkshire (WMA 28067). Inscription, 'In grateful memory of the men of this parish who in the Great War 1914-1918 gave their lives for King and Country'. The names are listed in order of date of death, 'Pte J Gregory 7 June 1917'. Nottinghamshire Archives (ref. PR 23,108/1-12), newspaper cuttings (Harworth), 26 January 1918, Photocopy of newspaper report (newspaper not specified): 'STYRRUP DCM. Mr and Mrs JH Gray, Styrrup, Bawtry, received on Saturday, the Distinguished Conduct Medal [MiD] from the War Office won by their second son, Corporal Joseph Gray, RFA …Two other soldiers from Styrrup have been killed viz Jack Gregory, Mechanical Transport, and Frank Arrand KOYLI.' John's personal effects and medals were sent to his sister, Lavinia.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Family grave and headstone, Tickhill St Mary churchyard. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
    John Gregory - Family grave and headstone, Tickhill St Mary churchyard. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
  • Parish memorial, Tickhill St Mary (WMA28067). Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
    John Gregory - Parish memorial, Tickhill St Mary (WMA28067). Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
  • Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
    Parish church of Tickhill St Mary, Yorkshire - Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).