View Full Version : Frank James GRAY - RAF officer ?
Hi, I have just started out attempting to track down relatives for my family tree and looks like it could be addictive.
I have a photograph of my great grandfather but cannot find any information about him whatsoever.
I am told by relatives that he was Major Frank James GRAY and in 1934 is listed on a marriage certificate as a retired civil servant ! In this year he was in the Aylesbury area and had a wife called Florence and a daughter called Marjorie GRAY (elusive at the moment) who married a Leslie J BEECH of Aston Clinton, Aylesbury.
The photo that I have of Frank GRAY shows him wearing a flat cap with double braiding on the peak, the crest insignia is difficult to ascertain but is a crown above wings (possibly)
In all it is a little confusing at the moment and I am sure that if i were to identify him then this would take me significantly forward.
Any ideas as to why his name doesn't seem to appear anywhere, and what his ranking would have been ?
Thanking you in advance...............
07-04-2009, 4:55 PM
Do you have his marriage certificate to Florence? that would give his occupation at that time. Also Marjorie's birth certificate.
There is a marriage of a Frank Gray to a Florence Cox at Wycombe, Buckinghamshire in Dec 1911 on FreeBMD but I cannot see Marjorie's birth. If Frank was in the army her birth could have been abroad.
07-04-2009, 4:59 PM
A Frank James Gray does appear in the London Gazette in connection with a 1918 RAF promotion:
Here's the previous page, which gives details on the group promoted:
07-04-2009, 5:08 PM
I don't think I was reading the previous posting on the Gazette properly. Looks like this Frank James Gray was awarded the O.B.E.
Here's another mention of him in the Gazette:
07-04-2009, 5:13 PM
Is he dead? M
Had a look 1984 - 2006 deaths no sign there.
Is he dead? M
I would suspect so - an earlier post states that he was a retired civil servant in 1934.
08-04-2009, 2:39 PM
UPDATE - Further information given by Tommo
Just to update the questions posed on the thread
1 - Yes, Frank is dead
2 - No, I don't have a birth or marriage certificate
3 - further research shows that the cap that he is wearing is of an raf officers so may well fit the information that he received the OBE as per the gazette.
08-04-2009, 6:43 PM
The photo that I have of Frank GRAY shows him wearing a flat cap with double braiding on the peak, the crest insignia is difficult to ascertain but is a crown above wings (possibly)..............
The double braiding (in gold) would meant he was of air rank i.e. above Group Captain. Could he have transferred from the army to the RAF?
Thanks for all your assistance, I am somewhat naive here, would a high ranking officer be thought of as a retired civil servant as this is stated on the marriage certificate of his daughter ?
08-04-2009, 8:47 PM
Depends whether he retired from the services and moved sideways in to a civil servant job. Has been known to happen if he had specialist knowledge that was required for a project.
08-04-2009, 9:00 PM
Do you know his date of birth? There are several Frank Grays born Wycombe Bucks area and to be sure of having the right one you need your father's birth cert and his father's birth cert.
To answer the last question . Yes. It is perfectly reasonable to suppose he took a Civil Service post on leaving the services in order to supplement his RAF pension.
He may even have been a civil servant before going into the RAF and went back to his old job. It would depend on his length of service etc etc.
Even a Wing Commander with a fat pension will do something after leaving the services.
Some Civil Service jobs required First Class Oxbridge degrees! Marie
10-04-2009, 10:23 AM
No sign of Frank James Gray in the Royal Air Force lists 1920, 1922 and 1929. This fits with the London Gazette entry saying he was on the unemployed list in 1919.
Since he is later described as a Retired Civil Servant it seems likely that he became a Civil Servant on leaving the RAF in 1919/20.
The double braiding on his cap in the photograph you have remains unexplained. The London Gazette entries describe him as Captain (acting Major) when he received his OBE, and Captain when he went on the unemployed list, so he didn't reach 'air' rank. But this was the transition period between the Royal Flying Corps and the forming of the RAF (hence the Army ranks), so maybe the uniform arrangements were not fully settled at that time?
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