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Home / News / Lieutenant Colonel R A (Ray) Gourd
Home / News / Lieutenant Colonel R A (Ray) Gourd

Lieutenant Colonel R A (Ray) Gourd

Published 10:54 on 16 Nov 2019

We are saddened to report the death of Ray Gourd, long-time member of the RAYC on Friday, on the1st November 2019 aged 99.

Having first joined the RAYC in 1951, Ray became a stalwart of Gunner Sailing, serving on the committee continuously for 35 years in the roles of Offshore Secretary, Rear Commodore (Offshore) and Vice Commodore, including 21 years as Hon Treasurer and as a Trustee. He was an RYA Instructor and Examiner and a JSSC/JSASTC Nicholson 55 skipper, in which capacity he led many Adventurous Sail Training cruises, sharing his passion for sailing with countless novice sailors and with all his crewmates.

In 2004 Ray was awarded the Royal Artillery Medal, for 60 years service to the Regiment, in particular for service to Gunner Sailing.

The funeral service will be on Tuesday 3rd December at 11:00 in St Peter & St Paul's church in Thruxton. Refreshment will follow in the village hall, then at 14:00 we shall proceed up to Tidworth Military Cemetery for the committal at 14:30. All are welcome to attend either, or both events. Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, to SSAFA.

Ray's obituary, which will also appear in Gunner Magazine, is published in full, below:

GOURD - Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Raymond Alfred, RA. Died, aged 99, on 1st November 2019, at home in Winterbourne Earls, Wiltshire. Ray Gourd was born in London on 17th July 1920. A WWII veteran, he began his military career in the TA in 1938, aged 18.He was mobilised during the Munich crisis that same year and deployed to provide AA defence of outer London, and again in August 1939 to Southern England and East Anglia. Promoted to Sergeant in January 1940 aged 19, he met and fell in love with Connie Ireland who was serving in the ATS, though it was to be six long years later before they were able to be married, after the war. Ray was commissioned in 1940 and continued to serve in AA defence of RAF bomber airfields in East Anglia and in Bristol during major air raids on the petrol and oil installations at Avonmouth Docks.

Having been accepted for transfer to the Indian Army, Ray embarked from Greenock on a troop ship in 1942 and, after a brief spell training Indian recruits, was transferred to a Field Force unit on operations and posted to HQ SEAC in Delhi, later moving to Kandy in Ceylon, during Mountbatten's period as SAC. In 1944, following a conversion course at the School of Artillery (India), Ray was posted first to 10th Indian Field Regt and subsequently to 7th Indian Field Regt as it withdrew from the Third Arakan Offensive to prepare for Operation Zipper, the planned invasion of Malaya which, due to the ending of the war in the Pacific, was never fully executed.

Returning to the UK in January 1946, Ray was finally able to marry Connie, them having been reunited beneath the clock at Waterloo Station. On completion of No 3 Long Gunnery Staff Course Ray served as an IG at S of A Manorbier and on the DS at Mons Officer Cadet School. There followed a posting to Malta with 36 HAA Regt where, as a Troop Commander, Ray led a large army detachment, under the command of the Royal Navy, to carry out rescue work and humanitarian relief following a major earthquake in the Ionian Islands in 1953.

After a further IG appointment, at the AA Command School and Practice Camp at Weybourne in Norfolk, in 1956 Ray was posted to 45 Field Regt in Dortmund, serving as Troop Commander, Battery Captain and Battery Commander. Posted to the War Office in 1958 as GSO2 he took a major role in the introduction of the AD GW system Thunderbird 1 and the specification and planning for Thunderbird 2.His final regimental posting, in 1960, was to rejoin 36 Regt, by then a Guided Weapons regiment in Shoeburyness, which was hurriedly sent to West Germany in 1961 in response to the construction of the Berlin Wall.

After another spell at Manorbier, Ray was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1964 and posted as SO1 (Air Defence) at HQ NORTHAG in Rheindahlen. In 1966 Manorbier beckoned again and Ray became CO Admin Wing, followed by SI HAD Wing in 1969.

Posted to a Special List staff appointment at HQ SW District in 1970, Ray had a minor flirtation with show business as Producer of the penultimate Tidworth Tattoo in 1975, his voice immortalised on the ensuing vinyl commemorative album.

After retiring from the Active List, Ray took up an RO appointment as Station Staff Officer at Barton Stacey, bringing what he maintained was a little Gunner elegance to an otherwise all Sapper station!

Having first joined the RAYC in 1951, Ray became a stalwart of Gunner Sailing, serving on the committee continuously for 35 years in the roles of Offshore Secretary, Rear Commodore (Offshore) and Vice Commodore, including 21 years as Hon Treasurer and as a Trustee. He was an RYA Instructor and Examiner and a JSSC/JSASTC Nicholson 55 skipper, in which capacity he led many Adventurous Sail Training cruises, sharing his passion for sailing with countless novice sailors and with all his crewmates.

In 2004 Ray was awarded the Royal Artillery Medal, for 60 years service to the Regiment, in particular for service to Gunner Sailing.

Throughout his long career, Ray was ably supported by Connie who was the consummate army wife, always entering fully into Regimental life and setting up 27 different homes, in one period moving house 13 times in 12 years.Connie died in 2013 and Ray is survived and fondly remembered by their son and daughter and four grandchildren.

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