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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

22. Fred and Les Ray in 1930s and 1940s.

Fred and Les, Bert Ray's two single brothers who got Bert and his family to Australia, took what work they could during the Great Depression.

In 1930 Les was living at 61 Roby St., Mascot and gave his occupation as labourer. In 1933 he was living at 136 Sutherland St., where Bert and his family had also lived. He saw a lot of Nell, Bert and their children. Sylvia, in particular, loved Les, his stories and the time he had for children.

In 1934 Les married Ida Fenton, a local girl. The two were wrapped in each other. Both families thought it a great match. In 1935 Ida died in childbirth, along with the child she carried. Les was distraught. Early in 1936 Les left Sydney on the Orsova, arriving in London on 20 May and giving his address as 60 Bath Rd., Hounslow, an address also used by his mother.

Les Ray and Perce Keen

He spend time with his cousins, brothers, sister and his mother.

In 1938 he married Christine May Kilby (known as May) in Rochford, Essex. Barbara, their only child, was born in 1942.

Les worked for some time, and throughout WWII, as the second cook on merchant ships around the coast of Britain and across to North America.

May had family in New Zealand, and in 1946 May and Barbara migrated to New Zealand, with Les following early in December 1946, working his way as second cook on the TEV Hinemoa, new ship for the Union Steamship Co for ferry service between north and south islands of NZ. the Hinemoa left the UK on 21 Dec 1946, called at Fremantle for few hours, and arrived in Wellington on 26 Jan 1947.

Fred & Clare Ray with John, Ann, Dawn, Rex and Sylvia c. 1945

Fred stayed in Miranda, in the vicinity of the
nursery that gave him his initial work in Australia, although that work was not reliable after 1929. He turned his hand to anything, including it seems, a crematorium. In 1935 he married Clarice Amy Davies, known as Clare, the daughter of a Miranda poultry farmer. Like Fred, Clare was up for adventure. By 1939 they had four children. The fifth was born in 1943. They travelled to Adelaide with a circus in the late 1930's and spent several years in Adelaide.

Before 1949 Fred and his family were back in Jannali, near Miranda, where Fred got a job as a postman - work he continued for the rest of his life.

When Fred and his family were in Sydney, he and Bert were in touch and visited each other regularly. Clare got on well with Nell and visited her by train during the week.

Fred and Les also remained in touch.


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