This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Raymond Gregory Thomas
1st Battalion Welsh Guards
Raymond, known as “Greg” to all who knew him was born in Barry, South Wales, on the 29th September 1954; the son of Ruth and Raymond Percival Thomas, brother to Linda, Nigel, Cathy, Moira, Lacey, Jayne and Donna. The family home was, and continues to be, in Barry, South Glamorgan. His father was an ex-army man who served in Burma/Java, he was attached to the Ghurkas during WW II. After the war his father turned his hand at being a Fishmonger/Greengrocer, and then his father died in February 1981, following a short illness.
Greg followed his father in his love of snooker, darts and skittles. His mother Ruth also comes from Barry, and during the WW II worked in the Land Army, stationed in Wiltshire. From his mother he inherited his dark colouring. Greg was the fourth member of a family of eight, with the five elders being closer, as there was only just over 1 year between each of them. Then there were the youngest 3 members of the family, (known as the 3 babies).
Greg, like his brother and sisters attended Gladstone Road Primary School. Greg along with one of his sisters were the more academic of the family, during school years, but had no true vocation until joining the army with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
Greg went off shopping in Cardiff with his sister Moira one day, and came back having joined the forces, this was after just popping in to have a look at the army recruitment office to see what army life would be like. It was to the surprise of all the family and echoed by his father’s words, “I’ll believe that when I see the travel warrant”, that was in 1976.
Greg pictured on exercise 1982 and in a suit 1981
In 1982, Greg set sail with his Battalion aboard the QE2 from Southampton.
Greg in a cabin and in the bar on the QE2
On June 8th, 1982, he was on board the Sir Galahad, anchored at Bluff Cove and the rest is history. Like many families across Great Britain during this conflict we were absorbed by what was going on and awaiting any news that became available. Greg’s battalion, 1st Bn Welsh Guards had just become part of 5 Airborne Brigade, replacing 1st Bn Royal Regiment of Wales, in which two of his brothers in law were serving. An added worry was the fact that we were arranging his younger sister, Jayne’s, wedding to be held on the 11th June 1982. During that week and on the 9th June, we were told he was missing in action. Despite the bride’s reluctance to continue with the ceremony, and with no definite news, we went ahead with a very subdued and tense day. Confirmation was not received until the eve of the wedding.
Many tributes were paid to Greg by his comrades who fought, and in 1983 on the ‘Pilgrimage to the Falklands’ his mother and 2 sisters, Lacey and Donna joined other bereaved family. This helped in the ‘coming to terms with events stage’.
Locally the dignitaries of the community added Greg’s name on to the Roll of Honour, in the Hall of Remembrance, standing beside the names of the other local servicemen who fought and died during the World Wars for their country.
A tribute was also paid to Greg by his friend at his local ‘watering hole’, who decided as a mark of respect to rename his favourite bar, “Greg’s Bar”, a plague designed and made by a close friend and erected and registered by the brewery immortalised his name officially. This enabled his friends to toast him regularly. Unfortunately, the pub was eventually destroyed by fire and since demolished. Greg’s memory will always live on regardless!