ONE of the largest gatherings of people seen in Grays for some time assembled on Sunday afternoon when the funeral took place of the late Private William Reed, Essex Regiment, of West Street Grays, who died in hospital at Southend following wounds received in action.
Full military honours were rendered, and both in High Street en-route, and at the cemetary the utmost respect was shown towards one who had made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country.
A firing party and detachment of men from the Middlesex Regiment at Purfleet Camp attended and the coffin covered with the Union Jack bore the deceased soldier’s cap, belt and side-arms, together with several floral tributes. The coffin was drawn on a gun-carriage by the lads of the training ship “Exmouth”, and the cortege started from the old High Street, the Grays Silver Temperance Band playing the “Dead March in Saul”.
The band had been specially augmented for the occasion, several old members now on service being enabled to return to Grays for this purpose. The arrangements were in charge of Mr. H.W. Wilson. The Grays Recruiting Officer, while excellent order was kept en-route and at the cemetary by a body of police and special constables under P.s. Rennett.
The mourners were Mr and Mrs Reed (parents), the Misses Reed (sisters), Mr and Mrs G. Reed, Mr and Mrs Kemp, Mr and Mrs Stock, Mrs Fitch, Mrs Hasell, Mr J. Croxford and Miss E. Carter. There were a large number of floral tributes.
Messrs Thompson and Son conducted the funeral arrangements.
At the cemetary the crowd was augmented by a still larger number of people but the excellent arrangements for keeping order enabled all to participate in the last rites without undue crowding, the assembly being drawn up in a large square around the grave.
The Rev. J.R. McKinley officiated and at the graveside alluded to the sacrifice the deceased soldier had made. There was no need to sorrow for him, who, although he had passed beyond the veil, was still doing his share in the great and glorious struggle which was being waged.
At the conclusion of the final rites the customary three volleys were fired over the grave and the sounding of the “Last Post” closed an impressive service.