Category: Military
Rank: Sub-Lieutenant, then Lieutenant in 1916. In 1939, Commander of Sussex Division Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR)
Regiment or Ship: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Occupation: Land Valuer in Land Valuation Office, Eastbourne and a House Agent in family business, John Bray & Sons, 5, Devonshire Terrace, Bexhill.
Date of Birth: 1888
Place of Birth: St. Leonards
Address: Royston, Buckhurst Road (By 1914), Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Father:  John Bray b.1844, Estate Agent and Auctioneer. By 1914 he was a widower. He was also Alderman of the Borough. Founder of John Bray and Sons, auctioneers and estate agents. In 1918 he had a stroke and died in 1921.


Cicely Evelyn, (known as Evelyn)   N0002 BRAY Cicely Evelyn (Sister)

Ethel   N0001 BRAY Ethel (Sister)

Mary, married Edward Clayton  N0005 BRAY Mary Francis (Nurse)

Margaret Sybil, died July 1916

Gertrude, married Walter Charles Morgan

Isabel, married Major French, RAMC

Agnes, married Dr. John Shemmonds

Charles Reginald Bray, Served in Army Service Corp.



First World War Experience

In 1914 he was already a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and he was mobilized in March 1914. Bexhill Observer, (29th August 1914) reports that Sub-Lieutenant Bray “took a very active part in the mobilization of the R.N.V.R. from Hastings and St. Leonards, when the Chief Officer was temporarily away”. He served on HMS Alsatian, flagship of the 10th Cruiser Squadron patrolling between the Faeroes and Iceland. By October 1916 John Bray is reported to have been promoted to Lieutenant and on HMS “Cockchafer”, a shallow draft Insect class river gunboat said to have patrolled off the Southeast coast. Hospital and troop ships were targeted by U-boats in this area.

In 1918 he joined HMS Caracoa, a light cruiser of the Ceres class, part of the Grand Fleet based in Scapa Flow and Rosyth. The Grand Fleet took part in the Battle of Jutland but HMS Caracoa does not seem to have been present as she was sunk during the Second World War in 1942 in a collision with the Queen Mary when on convoy escort duty).

Bexhill Observer of 21st June 1919, in reporting the “Good Service Records” of members of the Conservative Party Primrose League, says “Lieutenant Bray, R.N., was on the Staff of an Admiral in the North Sea; and in the Irish Sea narrowly escaped with his life.” No further details of the latter incident have been found.

John Bray was demobilized early in 1919 and returned to rebuild the family business, John Bray and Sons. He remained in the R.N.V.R. and by 1939 was Commander of the Sussex Division. He served throughout World War Two.

W0072 (2) BRAY John (Lieutenant) Transcription. Bray family war contribution. 29th August 1914 Observer


Additional Information

He was a member of the Conservative Party Primrose League before the war.

Other addresses: 2,St John’s Road, St. Leonards-on-sea

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