Peter Reginald SPRAY
Rank: Gunner
Number: 736120
Unit: D Battery, 46th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 3 November 1917
Age: 21
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

Peter was the youngest son of John and Lizzie Spray.John was a carpenter by trade and his work had meant the family moved house fairly often. Their first child, John, was born in Manchester in about 1888. They then lived in Buxton for most of the 1890s and Archibald, Peter and Olive were born there. When the Census was taken in 1901, they were at 15 Gladstone Road, Chester before a final move to 17 St Paul’s Street, Stockport by the time of the War.

Nothing else is known about Peter’s life except that, reporting his death, the local newspaper mentioned his “sweetheart”, a young woman known only as Pam. When he originally joined the army, probably in the late spring of 1915, he was assigned to a Territorial Brigade of the Field Artillery – the 2nd/1st Cheshire Brigade and was given the service number of 2156. This dates his enlistment to prior to the end of 1916 as, at the beginning of 1917, Territorial soldiers were given new six-digit numbers. At some point whilst overseas, he was transferred to the 46th Brigade.

3 November 1917 was a quiet day in Belgium. The heavy fighting around Ypres which had started on 31 July had subsided as almost all of the British objectives had at last been secured. The Brigade was to the south of the town at Messines and its War Diary entry for the day records “Intermittent hostile shelling throughout day in vicinity of battery positions”. Peter and another local man, Ernest Pickston, were killed in the bombardment. They have no known grave and it is very probable that there was nothing left of them to bury.

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