Michael Gray (British Army officer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sir Michael Gray
Born (1932-05-03)3 May 1932
Beverley, East Yorkshire
Died 13 March 2011(2011-03-13) (aged 79)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1950–1988
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment
16th Parachute Brigade
South West District
South East District
Battles/wars Malayan Emergency
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Gray KCB, OBE, DL (3 May 1932 – 13 March 2011) was a senior British Army officer who was General Officer Commanding South East District from 1985 to 1988, Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment from 1990 to 1993 and Lieutenant of the Tower of London from 1995 to 1998.

Military career[edit]

Gray's father Lieutenant Frank Gray, RNVR was killed in action in 1940.[1] He was educated at Beverley Grammar School, Christ's Hospital, Horsham and at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.[1]

He enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1950. He was commissioned into the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1952 and served in Malaya for two years during the Malayan Emergency.[1] He transferred to the Parachute Regiment in 1955 and served in Cyprus, Suez Canal Zone, Jordan, Greece, Bahrain, Aden and Northern Ireland. Gray commanded the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment from 1969 to 1971.[1] He was Chief of Staff of 1st Armoured Division, BAOR from 1973 to 1975 before attending the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1976.[1] He was the last Commander of the 16th Parachute Brigade in 1977.[1] Gray was Head of British Army Staff and Military Attache in Washington D. C. and Military Advisor to the Governor of Bermuda from 1979 to 1981.[1] He was GOC South West District which included command of the United Kingdom Mobile Force from 1981 to 1983.[1] He was Chief of Staff, BAOR at Rheindahlen from 1984 to 1985.[1] Gray was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1985 and was GOC South East District and Commander of Joint Forces HQ at Aldershot until he retired from the Army in 1988.[1]

Gray was appointed KCB in 1986 and OBE in 1970. He was Honorary Colonel of 10th Parachute Battalion from 1984 to 1988 and Deputy Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment from 1986 to 1990. He was Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment from 1990 to 1993.[1]

In retirement he was Chief Executive of Rainford Developments from 1990 to 1994. Gray was awarded the French Légion d'honneur in 1994.[1] He was Lieutenant of the Tower of London from 1995 to 1998 and Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1997. He also became Chairman of the Airborne Assault Normandy Trust, which seeks to preserve the history of 6th Airborne Division in Normandy, in 1972.[1] He had a leading role in the founding of a museum at Pegasus Bridge and in the restoration of the Merville Battery site.[1]

In 1958 he married Juliette Noon with whom he was to have two sons and one daughter.

Gray lived in Pocklington, Yorkshire.

Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Gray KCB OBE DL died on 13 March 2011 at York District Hospital.[2]


  • Who's Who 2009
  • The Red Devils GG Norton (Leo Cooper Famous Regiment Series)
  • The Savage Wars of Peace Charles Allen (1990)
  • Obituary Yorkshire Post 26 March 2011
  • Obituary The Times 29 March 2011.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Howlett
GOC South East District
Succeeded by
Sir Peter de la Billière