Private John Pay

Service: 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
Service No: 15890

Date & place of birth: 1893 in Rogate
Date & place of death: Between 10 and 13 March 1915 (aged about 22), in France

There is some doubt as to who John Pay was. Military records state that  a John Pay born in Guildford enlisted in Portsmouth, but there is no record of his birth. However, there was a John Pay who was born in Rogate and it seems most likely that this was the person commemorated on the Rogate War Memorial. There is also a John Pay listed on the Petworth War Memorial although it has not been possible to find a connection to Petworth.

Family background

John Pay was the eldest of at least eight children of Thomas George Pay, who was born in Rogate, and was a shepherd and his wife Aves Pay nee Petter, who was also born in Rogate.

In 1901, the family lived on Terwick Common close to Dangstein. At that time there were four children and John was at school.

By 1911, the family had moved to Vicarage Farm in Slade Lane. Thomas George was still a Shepherd while John was a Labourer on a Gentleman’s Estate.

Military service

Private John Pay enlisted in Portsmouth. His service number indicates that he enlisted in about April 1912.

Death & commemoration

Pay went to France with his battalion on 12 November 1914.

He is recorded as being killed in action between 10 and 13 March 1915 and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial and was awarded the clasp 2/2595. The “clasp” indicates service under fire at some time between 5 August and 22 November 1914, thus making him an “old Contemptible”. 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project