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Alexander Herbert Gray

Bert, as he was always referred to, was born in 1883, the fifth son, and only fifteen months after Lyall with whom he was linked throughout his life. Not only did their apprenticeships at the locomotive works at Kittybrewster overlap following the village school and Mackie Academy, places which they would also have attended for much of the same time, but Bert later joined Lyall in Montreal where they both lived out their lives.

Sadly, little is known about Bert's life in Canada save that he worked in Montreal as an engineer using the skills he had acquired during his apprenticeship. It seems likely that he may well have followed or even been enticed by Lyall to join him as for at least some time he managed the Auto Electric Company in Montreal, a business set up by Lyall. However, his emigration to Canada must have been some years after Lyall's for Lyall to have been sufficiently established to be able to offer him employment; but how he was occupied in the interim is not known. Mrs Douglas Gray recalls a story about his driving a rather smart (Rolls-Royce?) motor car chassis (repeat 'chassis'!) in Stonehaven 'for a whisky baron'. She also remembers him as a big man - unlike most of his brothers - ' tall, broad and handsome'.

He joined up in the Canadian Army in the First World War and served in France. Either en route there or on a leave he stayed with his parents in Oak Villa and a photograph of him in uniform standing on the steps of the house is remembered but has not survived. This seems to have been the only time he visited the United Kingdom.

He married in 1919 Marie Desmaissaman who was French; whether he met her when in France or back in Canada is not known but it was probably the former as difficulties were experienced in tracing her relatives after she died. She and Bert seem to have lived throughout their married life in Montreal. They had no children.

For some reason Bert made no effort to maintain family ties, other than with Lyall to whose home he and Marie made a practice of going for Christmas dinner. His eldest brother Gordon wrote to him following the First World War but stopped when his letters were not answered.

Bert died in 1943 at the early age of 60 from, or so it is thought, a fatal heart attack suffered at his bowling club, lawn bowling being a sport of which he was very fond. Marie survived him for 28 years and died in 1971.

Contributed by Mrs Douglas Gray, Mrs Gwen Gray and Ian Gray.