Reginald George Rayment was born on 24th January 1891 at Bengeo in Hertfordshire, England, the seventh and last child of a coachman named Isaac Rayment and his wife Jane Rayment née Knight.
Reginald married Ethel Mary Fortnum at St Michael and All Angels Church in Paddington, London on 2nd August 1913 and they then worked together at Hertford Castle, he as the Head Gardener and she as a Housemaid.
On 20th July the following year the marriage was blessed with their only child, a daughter whom they named Gladys May, but only four days later the First World War broke out.
Reginald tried to join the army but, having been rejected three times due to his varicose veins, he was finally accepted by the Grenadier Guards in May 1916. By August 1916 he was a private fighting in France but then on 24th December that same year he was shot in the head and killed at the age of 26.
At the time of his death that Christmas Eve, his daughter Gladys was just two years old and in the breast pocket of his uniform he had been carrying a photograph of her, together with her mother Ethel and himself, at Hertford Castle.
Because of the nature of his injuries this family photograph taken at Hertford Castle was the only way in which his body could be readily identified, thus enabling him to buried later in the Guards Cemetery at Combles in Picardie, Northern France.
It is sad to relate that the crumpled photograph (shown above left) was said to have sustained most of its damage when Reginald’s head was suddenly jerked backwards at the time that he met his death, but his daughter Gladys is known to have treasured it until she died almost one hundred years later.
On a lighter note, it is perhaps nice to know that the Magnolia trees that Reginald planted before the Great War can still be seen growing in the grounds of Hertford Castle.