Robert Herbert Rayment was born in London in the year 1879 and soon came to be known by his family and friends as “Bertie” in order to avoid confusion with his father, who bore the same first name as himself. He was sixth of the eight children of Robert Rayment (a City of London chimney sweep) and Alice Mary Rayment née Bayly, but was their only son.
Having had a relatively uneventful childhood he left school and, like his four older sisters before him, he took up the occupation of Law Writer in the City of London. None of his sisters or himself ever married and for many years they all lived happily together with both their parents, at a house in Clarence Place off Clapton Square in Hackney.
With the coming of the First World War “Bertie” served as a Rifleman in “C” Company, 6th Battalion London Regiment (City of London Rifles), but on 18th September 1916 tragedy struck when he died of wounds. Although the records show him as aged 33 at the time of his death, this is clearly a mistake because he is known to have been born in the year 1879.
He was buried at St. Pierre Cemetery in Amiens, France and his grave (III C 6) was regularly visited by the rest of his family until such time as they each became either too old or too ill to carry on doing so.
His parents survived both him and Florence (one of his seven sisters) by a considerable number of years, but they never really got over the tragic loss of their only son.
With the death of his last surviving sister Ida on 4th November 1977, it is sad that all of the family records, photographs and mementos, including Bertie’s war medals, simply disappeared!
Most of the above story only came to light because in late 1997, as part of the Rayment Society’s One-Name Study programme, the author happened to have interviewed Bertie’s second cousin, the late Miss Marjorie Rosina Rayment, who was the executrix and sole beneficiary of Ida’s Will.