Sergeant

Charles Roderick (Rory) Gray

Conflict: 
WW2
Additional Information: 

Son of Douglas Wanklyn Gray and Emma Milicent Gray, of Hororata, Canterbury.

References:
  • CWGC
NZ WAR GRAVES
CONTRIBUTED

Public Contributions:


Submitted by: Andrew Gibson
Relationship to casualty: Father was best friend to Charles - served together.
Charles (a.k.a. Rory) was born in Christchurch on 20th Oct 1924, one of 4 children to parents Douglas Wanklyn Gray and Emma Millicent Gray (nee Hall). His father Douglas had served as a pilot in the... Read More
Charles (a.k.a. Rory) was born in Christchurch on 20th Oct 1924, one of 4 children to parents Douglas Wanklyn Gray and Emma Millicent Gray (nee Hall). His father Douglas had served as a pilot in the RNAS (and possibly the RAF once formed) during WW1, reaching the rank of captain. He also flew for a short while post-war with the Canterbury Aviation Company at what is now Wigram. By 1926 the family were farming in a remote area of Northern Wairarapa - south of Pongaroa. This property ‘Glenwai’ is still farmed today and is right at the end of Sugarloaf Rd - roughly halfway between Pongaroa and Castle Point. Due to the remoteness of this area he was almost certainly home-schooled, as are children at Glenwai to this day. He however followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Wanganui Collegiate 1939 – 40. In 1943 he joined the RNZAF as an aircraft hand 6th Oct 1943 – listed as being a farmhand on the family farm. Subsequent postings: 26 May 1944 remustered as a pilot under training; 2EFTS 27 May 1944; 3EFTS 19 Aug 1944; 1SFTS 30 Sep 1944; wings presented 9 Mar 1945; promoted to Sgt 11 March 1945; NCO course Woodbourne 20 Mar 1945; Ardmore 25 May 1945; 2OTU (for conv to P-40) 21 Jul 1945. On 4th August 1945 he was apparently covering for another pilot who was unwell when he took off in Harvard NZ1035, along with Harvard NZ1048, to perform air-air practice attacks (both single crewed). At approximately 0930hrs both aircraft collided, crashing on farmland at Parewanui (near Ohakea) and killing both pilots. Charles had completed 138hrs solo – 85 of those on Harvards. His funeral service was held at All Saints’ Church, Palmerston North on Tuesday 7 Aug 1945 at 2pm. By 1946 his parents had left the district and moved to Glenroy near Hororata (Canterbury) where his mother hailed from. They lived in the Hall family (mother’s family) homestead ‘Gunyah’ which still stands but is no longer in the family. The house was severely damaged in the Sept 2010 earthquake. Douglas Gray died on 25th Feb 1969 and Emma Gray on 3rd Nov 1973. Both are buried in the Hororata cemetery. Thanks to Anne Finnie & Charlotte Robertson who have helped fill in some of the gaps. [NZWGT - record since amended.]


Personal Tributes:

Charles (a.k.a. Rory) was born in Christchurch on 20th Oct 1924, one of 4 children to parents Douglas Wanklyn Gray and Emma Millicent Gray (nee Hall). His father Douglas had served as a pilot in the ... Read More
Charles (a.k.a. Rory) was born in Christchurch on 20th Oct 1924, one of 4 children to parents Douglas Wanklyn Gray and Emma Millicent Gray (nee Hall). His father Douglas had served as a pilot in the RNAS (and possibly the RAF once formed) during WW1, reaching the rank of captain. He also flew for a short while post-war with the Canterbury Aviation Company at what is now Wigram. By 1926 the family were farming in a remote area of Northern Wairarapa - south of Pongaroa. This property ‘Glenwai’ is still farmed today and is right at the end of Sugarloaf Rd - roughly halfway between Pongaroa and CastlePoint. Due to the remoteness of this area he was almost certainly home-schooled, as are children at Glenwai to this day. He however followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Wanganui Collegiate 1939 – 40. In 1943 he joined the RNZAF as an aircraft hand 6th Oct 1943 – listed as being a farmhand on the family farm. Subsequent postings: 26 May 1944 remustered as a pilot under training; 2EFTS 27 May 1944; 3EFTS 19 Aug 1944; 1SFTS 30 Sep 1944; wings presented 9 Mar 1945; promoted to Sgt 11 March 1945; NCO course Woodbourne 20 Mar 1945; Ardmore 25 May 1945; 2OTU (for conv to P-40) 21 Jul 1945. On 4th August 1945 he was apparently covering for another pilot who was unwell when he took off in Harvard NZ1035, along with Harvard NZ1048, to perform air-air practice attacks (both single crewed). At approximately 0930hrs both aircraft collided, crashing on farmland at Parewanui (near Ohakea) and killing both pilots. Charles had completed 138hrs solo – 85 of those on Harvards. His funeral service was held at All Saints’ Church, Palmerston North on Tuesday 7 Aug 1945 at 2pm. By 1946 his parents had left the district and moved to Glenroy near Hororata (Canterbury) where his mother hailed from. They lived in the Hall family (mother’s family) homestead ‘Gunyah’ which still stands but is no longer in the family. The house was severely damaged in the Sept 2010 earthquake. Douglas Gray died on 25th Feb 1969 and Emma Gray on 3rd Nov 1973. Both are buried in the Hororata cemetery. Thanks to Anne Finnie & Charlotte Robertson who have helped fill in some of the gaps.


Casualty

Service Number: 
4313159
Name:
Charles Roderick (Rory) Gray
Rank: 
Sergeant
Date of Birth:
20 October 1924
Place of Birth:
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Date of Enlistment:
Not known
Unit:
Royal New Zealand Air Force

Casualty Details

Cause of Death:
Killed in aircraft accident
Date of Death:
04 August 1945
Day of Death:
Saturday
Age at Death: 
20
Conflict: 
WW2

Embarkation Details

Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Cemetery

Cemetery Reference: 
20. 8. H.
Cemetery Location: 
New Zealand
Charles Roderick (Rory) Gray
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