My Paternal Family
Uncle: Frank Wray (born 1899)
Margaret, who was expecting their fourth child (David Neil Wray, born 18 March 1937) when Frank died, claimed parish relief in 1936-7. John Wray left Preston School on 6 April 1936 and Daphne (having come back to Preston after a short spell at Finsbury, London) was removed from Preston School on 19 April 1940 as the family was moving to London. After WW2, Margaret’s children were living in north-east Surrey. My mother associated the family with a garage at Mitcham, London - and once again she was right!
July 1912
In April 1915, Frank was a witness at the inquest in the death of George Jackson, of Heath Farm, Breachwood Green, Herts who had died during a ‘great (snow) storm:
Frank enlisted in the army in 1917 when he was eighteen. That year he was sent to fight on the western front. He fought at the battles of the Somme, Cambrai, Ypres and Neuve Chapelle. He also took part in the retreat and advance of 1918, when he was wounded. After the Armistice, he was sent into Germany with the army of occupation and served on the Rhine. He returned to England in 1920 when he was ‘demobbed’. In 1921, Frank was living with his parents and siblings at Chequers Cottages, but was ‘out of work’. On 2 June 1924, he married Margaret Campbell at St Martins, Preston, Herts. Margaret was from Scotland and a housemaid for Mr Vickers at Temple Dinsley, Preston.
Frank and Margaret were living in one of the newly-built bungalows along School Lane from 1928 to 1930. Then they moved opposite Frank’s parents to another new house at 9 Council Cottages, Chequers Lane. It was Frank who notified the registrar of his father’s death in 1934. By then, Frank and Margaret had produced three children: Douglas E Wray (born 1925, died 1926), Daphne McIntyre Ruth Wray (born 28 July 1929), John C Wray (born 6 March 1927). Frank died, aged 36, from pneumonia. He was buried at St Martins Church, Preston on 15 October 1936.
Philip J Wray b.Sept Qtr 1954 Valerie Wray b,Sept Qtr 1958
It is difficult to to be sure of what happened to Margaret and her children after they left Preston, but I’ll write the information I have been able to trace. I looked for the family in the 1939 Register. I found the following household at 184 Upper Wrotham Street, Gravesend, Kent:
A David Neil Wray died in the Merton, Surrey area (which includes Mitcham) in 1990. The birth-date associated with him is 18 March 1937. The birth of Margaret’s son, David N Wray, was registered in the Hitchin RD in the June Qtr of 1937. Margaret’s father was Neil Campbell. There is probably enough evidence here to conclude that these Davids are one and the same. Above David’s name in the Register, a name has been redacted. From its tail (which is visible) this may be another Wray and the tail of another letter can be seen in the date column - is this a ‘J’ - might this be Daphne, who was born in July? It appears that one or maybe two of Margaret’s three surviving children are in this household. What had happened to Margaret? Had she remarried? Had she died? Was she perhaps the Margaret Bateman noted in the 1939 Register? My initial reaction was that this Margaret was not Margaret Wray because her stated birth date (1907 or even 1897) was not close to when she was born (ie 1900/01). Then I found a marriage of Frederick J Bateman to Margaret Wray at Merton RD in 1968. 2) I accessed some of the Public Member trees on Ancestry (much as I distrust many) and found a consensus that FJB was born in Liverpool and married Margaret Campbell (sic) in 1968. They likely obtained the marriage certificate to know her maiden name. The clincher is that someone has posted Margaret's birth as being in Scotland on 25 July 1900. The day and month tally with the info given in 1939 - even if the year is wrong by several years. This also means that Margaret is the mother of Michael Leon Bateman who was born SE Surrey on 23 July 1944. His mother’s surname was given as Campbell. Frederick and Margaret left it a long time before marrying!
John C Wray is easier to trace - albeit with some help from Mum’s memory. The advertisement shown right is of a Wray garage at Mitcham. I found details of its directors online. They were John Charles and Eileen Rosemary Wray. (John married Eileen R Tilley.) John was noted as having been born in January 1927. They lived at 17 Farm Lane, Purley, Surrey (see below) There is also a record that J C Wray was on the executive committee of Mitcham Cricket Club and was also a Vice President of the club. He was a cricketing enthusiast, as was his father, Frank. Again, this may be circumstantial evidence that this John (who died in 1921) is my cousin and the son of Frank and Margaret.
Died: Dec Qtr 1960
17 Farm Lane, Purley, Surrey
Frank was the tenth child born to Alfred and Emily Wray on 17 July 1899 at Preston, Herts. He was baptized just over a year later, on 14 October 1900. He started school two days before his third birthday.
Frank earned a reputation as a good village cricketer, opening the bowling for Preston in tandem with his brother Sam. He was a right-handed batsman and an opening, fast-medium bowler, ‘a very useful all-rounder’. He was playing in 1920 when he took 6 wickets for 14 runs in one match and a ‘hat-trick’ of wickets in another game. In 1923, (when the photograph below was taken) he scored 73 not out in one match and 33 and 5 -14 against another team. In 1924, a newspaper reported that ‘the Wray brothers (Frank and Sam) were as usual on the wicket’ after taking four wickets apiece for less than ten runs. In the 1926 season, ‘the Wray brothers destroyed side after side’. The two brothers were included by D Frost in his ‘Best-ever Preston XI’.
Frederick J Bateman m.1968 Merton RD
Michael Leon Bateman b. 23 July 1944 SE Surrey