Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lieutenant Thomas Stanley Reay PS/3182

There were 5 Thomas Reays in the CWGC database, only one had the middle initial S and he was from Liverpool.
photo from entry in Liverpool's Scroll of Fame

Thomas Stanley Reay was born on 3rd February 1894 and baptised in St James Church on 1st April the same year. The baptism record (below) shows that his parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Thornley Reay. They lived at 27 Mount Street and Thomas Snr was a baker. This photograph is of Thomas Senior circa 1881.

image source ancestry.co.uk

Thomas's mother was formerly Elizabeth Thornley Stephenson.

The 1901 census shows the family still lived at 27 Mount Street, Thomas Snr was now a baker shopkeeper and an employer. Thomas Stanley has been enumerated as Stanley Reay and he was the youngest of their 5 children on the census return.

In the 1911 census Thomas Stanley again used his middle name (and transcribed by ancestry.co.uk as Manley) Aged 17, he was a theological student. He was living at 18 Cumberland Street with his parents and 3 siblings.
The census also shows us that Thomas Snr was at this time a flour dealer and shop keeper and employer. It also shows that the Reay family had 5 surviving children out of 8 and their house had 8 rooms for 6 people.

The following text is from Liverpool Scroll of Fame Part I: commissioned officers which was published in 1920, unfortunately no further volumes were published due to lack of demand.

Lieutenant Thomas Stanley Reay,
10th Battalion,
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
The Church sustained a severe deprivation by the loss of so many young men who had ordinarily been destined for its ministry. Lieutenant Thomas Stanley Reay was especially well-equipped for his chosen vocation by reason both of his upright and manly character and his intellectual gifts. For some years he had looked forward to ordination as the entry to that fuller service to which he aspired. But then the war intervened and he went forth immediately as a Christian warrior, moved by that high conscientiousness that always distinguished him, and ready to give his life for the freedom of England.
He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Reay and he lived with them at 18 Cumberland Avenue, Sefton Park. His father was a prominent member of St James Church, Toxteth and had been vicar’s warden during his son’s boyhood. Stanley was thus brought into close touch with the vicar, and had spent his holidays with the Rev. Mr Watt, Vicar of St Dunstan’s Earle Road, after the latter had gone to Peebles, that clergyman having developed a very strong friendship with him.
Up to the age of seventeen his education was at Liverpool Institute, and it was in furtherance of his desire to seek Holy Orders that he then entered Selwyn College, Cambridge. Not only was assiduous in his studies, but he brought the same keenness and relish into the sporting fields, where he was an athlete of some versatility. He was a member of various teams connected with his College, and was particularly devoted to rowing. Having gained his colours in 1914 he rowed for his college in the Lent races of that year. 
Such were his happy “varsity” days and he was nearing the time when, in accordance with his long cherished hopes, he would begin his clerical career, when the call to arms resounded through Europe. For him that call had an inevitable and immediate reply. He had no hesitation about following the hard pathway of duty. Straight away he joined the Public School Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers – he was one of the original members – and went to France with them in November, 1915.  So gallantly did he conduct himself that after a few months of active service he was sent home to train for a commission, and in due course he was gazetted to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. 
Lieutenant Reay went abroad once more in October, 1916, and for eighteen further months he was engaged in a great deal of hard fighting on the Western Front. No officer could have had a clearer or more manly appreciation of his duty as the holder of a commission of His Majesty. No doubt it is to this that one can attribute the extraordinary faith of his men in his leadership. No once, but many times, they confessed that they felt a certain amount of additional security when following him, and his invariable thoughtfulness for them won their unbounded respect. Even when he had been wounded – so seriously that he died the next day – his concern was for those subordinates who had also been injured. 
It happened on the 28th February, 1918. Lieutenant Reay was showing a small party of men what work they had to do, when the enemy sent over several shells, which fell quite near to where the group was standing, and he and three others were wounded. Stretcher-bearers went out at once, and the young officer allowed them to carry him so far, then insisting that the other cases should be brought in and their injuries bandaged. Reay talked quite cheerfully to one of his chums, sent back messages praising the work of the stretcher-bearers, and professed to be suffering no pain. Thus the news of his death came as a shock, and it was also an occasion of sincere grief on the part of those many friends, military and civilian, who knew so well his sterling worth. 
No one, indeed, who knew anything about Reay would doubt that, had he survived the perils of warfare and fulfilled his vocation, he would have been a fine example of manly Christianity. Sport, as we have shown already, appealed to him in an exceptional way, and he always loved any other activity that stimulated and invigorated either the mind or the body. In his outlook on life there was nothing in the least degree mean or cramping. He was in some measure an idealist, but he was also intensely practical, and his was invariably a happy and sunny disposition. Thus was he a typical Englishman – an Englishman who lived with a robust ardour and geniality of spirit and who died with that uncomplaining fortitude that befitted such a true son of the Empire.


Thomas Stanley Reay's medal card (below) shows that he was a private in the 21st Royal Fusiliers and became a Lieutenant in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. He The first entered the theatre of war France 14.11.15 and died of wounds 1/3/18. His father's name and address are on the reverse.

The card shows his regimental number to be PS/3182.
Thanks to information on The Long Long Trail, I believe the prefix denotes it was a public schools Battalion which suggests he was still a theological student when he enlisted.

The following information from The Long Long Trail may explain why he changed regiment and rank.

21st (Service) Battalion (4th Public Schools)Formed at Epsom on 11 September 1914 by the Public Schools and University Men's Force.
26 June 1915 : attached to 98th Brigade, 33rd Division.
Landed in France in November 1915.
27 February 1916 : transferred to GHQ; disbanded on 24 April 1916 with many of the men being commissioned as officers.

source: ancestry.co.uk

UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Name:Thomas Stanley Reay
Death Date:1 Mar 1918
Regiment:Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
Battalion:3rd Battalion
Type of Casualty:Died of wounds
Comments:Att 10 B

the comments section indicates that he was attached to the 10th Battalion.

The 3rd Battalion was a reserve Battalion, and the 10th a Service Battalion (see details at The Long Long Trail)

Probate calendar entry:
A list of soldiers commemorated on family headstones in Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool compiled by Richard Daglish can be viewed at the Allerton Cemetery website. It contains the following information:

 REAY, THOMAS STANLEY, Lieutenant, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 3rd Bn. attd. 10th Bn., 24, 01/03/1918, Son of Thomas and Elizabeth T. Reay, of 18, Cumberland Avenue, Sefton Park, Liverpool.
5. CE ??  


Anonymous said...

Officers did not have numbers in WW1, so the number applies only to service as an 'other rank'.

Amanda said...
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