Service to be held to mark centenary of Huntingdonshire soldier’s death

Samuel James Ray, far left, as a youngster with his family

Samuel James Ray, far left, as a youngster with his family - Credit: Archant

The death of a Molesworth teenager who died before he could see combat in the First World War is to be marked 100 years to the day.

Private Samuel James Ray, from the Cambridgeshire Regiment, died on April 16, 1917, at a training camp in Halton, Lancaster, aged 19, of septic pneumonia and natural causes.

A century on and a commemoration service is set to be held at St Peter’s Church in the village, with organisers hoping dozens of family members will gather to remember.

“We have already been in contact with some of his descendants and having family at the service always makes it more special,” Spike Ray, of the Royal British Legion’s Riders branch Cambs876remembered project, said.

Pte Ray’s service is to be a significant occasion for Spike Ray and his family as it was discovered the pair are distant relatives.

“This one is a bit more special for me as Samuel is a first cousin twice removed – it will certainly be very poignant,” said Mr Ray.

Some of Mr Ray’s family will be attending the service but the family and the project are reaching out to long-lost relatives, as it was believed that the Pte Ray was one of a large family living in the Molesworth and Brington area.

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The service will take place on April 16 at St Peter’s Church from 2pm, during which the Last Post will be played.

Born in Rushden to Benjamin and Emily Ray, Pte Ray’s family moved to Molesworth in 1911 where he worked as a farm labourer before enlisting.

Cambs876remembered has been running since the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War to commemorate all of the 876 soldiers and officers of the Cambridgeshire Regiment who lost their lives during the conflict, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Riders will hold 244 services in 2017 and 357 in 2018, having held 175 in 2016.

Anyone interested in attending the service should go to