Henry Robert Rayment (who came to be known by friends and family alike as “Bob”) was born on 7th October 1892 at Bermondsey in London, the fifth son of Joseph Thomas Rayment, a foreman letter press compositor, and his wife Chrissie Ellen Rayment née Hayward.
When he was about four years old his family moved from London to Ulverston, a small town in Lancashire where his father had secured a job at the Otto printing works, and so it was in Ulverston that Bob later started school.
After leaving school he was apprenticed as a shoemaker at the Queenwood Company, a specialist Shoe Shop in the town, but it later suffered financial difficulties and went into liquidation. He soon got work at the shoemaking department of the Co-operative Society where he completed his apprenticeship and remained until the First World War.
He was a member of the local Territorials and when the war broke out in 1914 he was at camp in Wales but within a few weeks he was shipped over to France where he served through some of the bloodiest battles of the War.
At about Eastertime in 1916 he returned from France as his time had expired (when joining the “Terriers” he had signed on for a limited period and this was now completed). He was then a Sergeant and refused all offers to continue his service, as he had had more than enough of the war.
He took up his old job at the Co-op but it was only for about three months because he was then called up for service again. He just told his mother that he had to go for a medical but in reality he knew that he would not return. He was engaged to be married but being fully trained he was soon shipped off to Salonika as a Private in the 9th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and it was there in April 1917 that he was seriously wounded in the head by shrapnel.
He was later moved to St. Elmo hospital in Malta but died there on 10th November 1917 after a risky operation to remove some of the shrapnel. He was buried at the Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta aged 25.
Perhaps the saddest part of this whole story lies in the simple fact that, although he was in hospital for more than six months before he died, it proved impossible for his fiancé to visit him because of the war situation, and so they never actually saw each other again.
[The author is indebted to the late Frank Rayment, who was Bob’s youngest brother and the author’s fourth cousin once removed, for providing much of the above information.]