Sapper George RAYNS

Canadian Engineers
5th Field Company
Service Number:
Date of Death:
28 May 1917
Cemetery / Memorial:

Personal History:

George was born on 19th February 1889, the youngest son of George (Basket maker) and Maria (née Hall) Rayns. He was born at 6 Belmont Terrace, Buxton, and had 3 older siblings, Mira, Harriet Ethel and Francis William. (1891 Census RG 12/2779)

In 1901 (Census RG 13/270) the family was at the same address, being run as a 'Lodging House'. Ten years later, (1911 Census RG 14/21241) still at the same address, George was the only child still living at home, employed as a "House Plumber". (Later the family moved to 54 Acton Road, Long Eaton, Notts).

At some stage in the next 5 years George emigrated to Canada and married Florence (who after the War re-married to become Mrs Pounder). They lived at 860 Cameron Street Regina, Saskatchewan. At the time of his enlistment George was 5' 5½" (1.66 m) tall, had a 'dark' complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. He gave his religion as 'Church of England'.

Military History:

George enlisted into the Canadian Engineers on 10th May 1916 at Regina, Saskatchewan. The 5th Field Company formed part of the 2nd Canadian Divisional Engineers. The Company originally left Halifax, Nova Scotia on 18th April 1915, arriving at Avonmouth on the 29th. They embarked at Southampton on 15th September 1915, arriving at Le Havre the following day.

As George did not enlist until May 1916, he could only have arrived in France early 1917, probably not long before The Battle of Vimy Ridge, (9th - 12th April 1917). Later in the year the Division was engaged during the Battle of Arleux. (28th -29th April) and the Third Battle of the Scarpe (3rd - 4th May), including the capture of Fresnoy.

The War Diary for the 2nd Division has little to add after the capture of Fresnoy and without his Service papers there is little to know about the circumstances of George's death, only that he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. He is the only man from his 5th Company to have lost his life on the 28th. George's Burial Register entry simply states: "Previously reported missing, now for official purposes presumed to have died".


· CEF Burial Register, 649-R-7154

Link to CWGC Record
The Vimy Memorial
George's name on the Vimy Memorial
  about the Battle of Vimy Ridge