Private John Gray was born in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on April 13th, 1874. The middle of nine children, John emigrated to Canada with his younger brother Edgar in 1903. Prior to his enlistment he was living in Oak Bay, Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with his wife Edith (née Dyson) and their four young children Alex Dyson, Olive Emmie, John Harvey, and Edna Jean. He worked as an upholsterer for David Spencers Co.
On March 23rd, 1916, he enlisted in Victoria with Canadian Army Medical Corps. Shipping for England on board the S.S. Olympic in July of 1916, he was sent to the Cheriton C.A.M.C. Training Depot before proceeding to France in September of 1916. On arrival he was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital, C.A.M.C. where he served out the remainder of his time overseas until his demobilization on May 24th, 1919.
The letters in the collection were written during the war by John Gray to his daughter Olive who would have been between the ages 5 and 8 at the time. The typed transcriptions of the diaries and notebook were done by Olive Collington (née Gray), most likely in the early 1990’s. In "Collection Contents" below the diaries can be read under the "Diary Entries" heading, and the notebook under "Memoirs"; Gray's "Active Service Canadian Pay Book" is under "Printed Matter."
Pte. John Gray’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 524785) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.