In Memoriam

Ken Ray. Killed in Action.
by Oscar Walters

First published in The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania). RAY. —In Memoriam of K. G. Ray, killed in action, August 4, at Pozieres. [...] Inserted by his comrades of the 13th Engineers.

This version based on copy of in The Westralian Worker


WHERE the trees are torn and dying
And the battle-planes are flying,
Where the star shells split the darkness;
He is sleeping peacefully;
And the howitzers’ loud screaming
Shall not wake him from his dreaming,
Where the hearts of men are tested
In the hell of Picardy.

Grandly did he stand the testing,
But for ever he is resting,
Where the shrapnel shall not find him
And he cannot see the flares;
Deep his sleep but great his glory,
Brief is his immortal story:
“Only say I fought for freedom
In the trenches at Pozieres.”

(By Oscar Walters, now in France, and onetime secretary of the Miners’ Union at Sandstone.)


#4932 Spr Kenneth Gavan Ray

Kenneth Gavan Ray was a sapper from Hobart who served in the 13th Field Company Engineers alongside Oscar Walters. He was killed in action on the night of , at the age of 21. He served with his three brothers also in the same company, and though they buried him on the night of his death, in the confusion he was officially declared missing and it was not until mid-1917 that he was confirmed killed in action. His gravesite was lost and has not been identified.

A memorial plaque.#4932 Spr Kenneth Gavan Ray 13th Field Co Engineers Killed in action, Pozieres on 4th August 1916 Age: 21 years 5 months Carpenter Church of England 17 Quayle St, Sandy Bay No known grave, name appears on Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France. First enlisted 12th Bn on 24/8/1914 but discharged due to age. Re-enlisted with parental permission as a Private on 9/6/1915 with 1st Aust General Hospital Unit and embarked 17/6/1915. Son of Frederick Charles and Alice Ray, later of 11 Gladstone St, West Hobart. Educated at Albuera Street State School and then undertook a 5 year apprenticeship at Stabb & Son. Served three years in Senior Cadets and 1 year in AASC. Transferred to 13th Fd Co in Egypt 17/5/1916. Brother of Frederick Charles (#3567 Pte 12th Bn), Stanley Lyell (#1629 Pte 15th Bn) and Leslie George (#587 Pte 7th Bn); all transferred to 13th Fd Co. First reported as 'missing' on 4/8/1916, Kenneth was buried by Frederic on the battlefield. Despite this. not officially declared 'killed in action' until 25/6/1917. Tree #106 Original tree planted 3/8/1918 Plaque 15/2/2007
Ken Ray's memorial plaque at the Soldiers Walk in Hobart. CC-BY 2.0 Alan Levine