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LtCol Ivor Thord-Gray


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#1 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 02:23 PM

Ivor Thord-Gray was born in Stockholm 17th April 1878 as Ivar Thord Hallström. In 1895 he joined Cape Mounted Rifles in South Africa. Fought in Bechuanaland 1897, Pondoland 1897, Boer-War 1899-1902.

Joined German Schutztruppe in German South-West Africa and fought the Damara campaign 1906. To the Philliphines and Mindanao 1906. French Foreign Legion in Tonkin 1909. Italian Army in Tripolis 1911. Joined Sun Yat Sen in China 1912.

Fought in the 1913-14 Mexican War, first as CO Artillery with Pancho Villa and later COS 1st Mexican Army.

Joined British Army as a Major on 28th Oct 1914. T/LtCol 18th June 1915. CO 11th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers 1915-16 (That I have got confirmed from the Public Records Office). CO 25th London Regiment 1916-17. Bde Cdr in "Theodore Roosevelt" Div 1917.

Canadian Expeditionary Force to Russia 1918. MjGen in Russian Koltschak Army, 1st Siberian Assault Div 1919.

Question: Has anybody come across this very interesting officer in any documents or books? (His own book "Gringo Rebel" and other books written by him I already know of)

Picture: COS 1st Mexican Army 1914.

Edited: In the British Army I have found him under the name Gray, I T. Thus not Thord-Gray

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#2 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 02:50 PM

I have got it confirmed that T/LtCol Gray, I T, 11th Northumberland Fusiliers qualified for Theatre of War 25th Aug 1915 and was awarded 1914-15 Star (Off 112) and Victory Medal (Off 112). Source: Public Records Office WO 372/8/3552.

Picture: As MjGen in Russian Army 1919.

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#3 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 06:41 AM

LtCol Grey, I T

1916-17 CO 25th Bn London Regiment. Was this Bn at that time serving in Africa?

1917 Bde Cdr in GB-US volunteer Div "Theodore Roosevelt". What is known of that unit?

Picture: A book on Ivor Thord-Gray´s service in Mexico.

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#4 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 04:01 PM

QUOTE (Stellan Bojerud @ Mar 28 2005, 08:41 AM)
LtCol Grey, I T

1916-17 CO 25th Bn London Regiment. Was this Bn at that time serving in Africa?

1917 Bde Cdr in GB-US volunteer Div "Theodore Roosevelt". What is known of that unit?


Corrections
Found some documents today.

1897-1901 (not 1895) Cape Mounted Rifles Artillery (Pte)
1902-1903 South African Constabulary (Cpl)
1903-1905 Voluntary unit Transvaal/1907 Northern Mounted Rifles/ (Cpt 1904)
1906 Royston´s Horse (Lt not 1901 but 1906 - Cpt 1906)

1913 CO Pancho Villas Artillery (1st Capt)
1914 COS 1st Mexican Army (Col)

1914 2/C 5th Northumberland Fusiliers in UK (Maj)
1915 CO 13th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers training in France (Maj)
1915-16 CO 11th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers in France (LtCol)
1916-17 CO 1/25th and 2/25th (Overseas) Bns London Regt (LtCol)
1917 Bde Cdr "Theodore Roosevelt" Div. Dissolved 1917 in when President Woodrow Wilson didn´t back up the project.

1918 Canadian Expeditionary Force to Russia (LtCol)

1919 1st Siberian Assault Division (MjGen)

1935 COS to the Governor of Florida USA (MjGen)

1960 Fil Dr (PhD) Uppsala University, Sweden

Photo: MjGen Ivor Thord-Gray 1933.

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#5 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:06 AM

QUOTE (Stellan Bojerud @ Mar 30 2005, 06:01 PM)
Corrections

1916-17 CO 1/25th and 2/25th (Overseas) Bns London Regt (LtCol)


Found another note: 1/26th and 2/26th (Overseas) Bns London Regt. Date 11th Feb 1916.

What is correct? 25th or 26th?

Pic: CO Arty with Pancho Villa, Mexico 1913.

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#6 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 10:40 AM

1/26th (Overseas) Bn London Regiment.

Found this today:

Army Council Instruction 340 / 1916. Formed 11th Feb 1916. CO LtCol Ivor Thord Gray. Bn dissolved 29th Feb 1916 for finding replacements to other units.

#7 armourersergeant

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 10:53 AM

Stellan,

Seems like a very fascinating man!

A real mercernery of his day. I wonder what made him choose the British army after having spent some time in the German army?

Does he say in any of his books?

regards
Arm.

#8 Neil Burns

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 01:08 PM

Hi Stellan,
unfortunately I could find no mention of Ivor Thord-Gray in the following books:
The Fate of Admiral Kolchak-Fleming
Allied Intervention in Russia-Bradley
The Rise of the Constitutional Alternative to Soviet Rule in 1918: Provisional Governments of Siberia and All-Russia Their Quest for Allied Intervention -Fic
The Day They Almost Bombed Moscow-Dobson/Miller

I will see if I can scare up anything on the Theodore Roosevelt Division.
Take care,
Neil

#9 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 02:20 PM

Hello & thanks!

I found out today that Thord Ivor Gray (as he called himself at that time) did organize a volunteer unit to help the Germans in 1906, but when he arrived they had changed ther mind and thought they could handle the uprizing themselves.

Perhaps Ivor Thord-Gray (as he wrote his name post 1917) could be mentioned in:

Stewart, G, The White Armies of Russia, New York 1933.

Grey, M & Bourdier, J, Les Armées Blanches, Paris 1968.

But I have not read these books yet.

The "Theodore Roosevelt" Division, I found out, never came to existence because President Woodrow Wilson was dead against the idea to recruit a voluntary unit in USA for service in Britain.

Stellan

#10 Neil Burns

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 02:58 PM

Hi Stellan,
I know Theodore Roosevelt was very pro-British and wanted the US to join the Allies. When the US declared war Roosevelt wished to fight but was prevented from doing so by Wilson. Wilson thought Roosevelt was too old (and from and opposing political party) and imagine the propaganda value of the Germans capturing an ex-US President!
If I find anything I will post it.
Take care,
Neil

#11 chris.wight

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 06:23 PM

Hi Stellan. Since he spent time with the C.E.F., I had a look to see if his attestation papers were on-line. They were and you can see them here, link.

I would suggest ordering his complete service file from Library and Archives Canada.

#12 chris.wight

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 06:45 PM

I was also able to come across several entries for him in the London Gazette.

Issue 28986, 24 November, 1914, link:

15th Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers,
I. Thord Gray to be temporary Major.
Dated 4th November, 1914.


Issue 29488, 22 February, 1916, link

The London Regiment.
Ivor Thord Gray (late Lieutenant-Colonel,
The Northumberland Fusiliers) to be Lieutenant-
Colonel (temporary). Dated 11th February, 1916.


#13 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 11:46 AM

Thank you Chris!

That was a good help for me writing my book on Ivor Thord-Gray. I found another gazette dated 3rd August 1915:

The Northumberland Fusiliers
11th Battalion
Temporary Major Ivor T. Gray, from 15th Battalion, to command the Batallion and to be temporary Lieutenant-Colonel. Dated 18th June, 1915.

Photo: In Russia 1919 together with Gen Gaida. Thord is wearing his old CEF uniform fitted with Russian badges.

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#14 chris.wight

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 03:32 AM

Stellan, that is a great photo of him. He will be a fascinating individual to write about. Best of luck with your book! smile.gif

#15 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 02:32 PM

Ivor Thord-Gray in Royston´s Horse (Later Natal Mounted Rifles)

"Bambatas Awakening in the Morning" second verse:

Do you ken Royston´s Horse at the break of day,
Royston and Frazer, Midley and Gray,
From hill-top to valley, thirsting for fray,
As they led Royston´s Horse in the morning.

Photo: Captain, Royston´s Horse, Natal, 1906.

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#16 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:03 AM

11th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers

Ivor Thord Gray was CO of 11th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers 18th June 1915 to 30th Oct 1915. Possibly to 30th Dec 1915.

Arrived in France 25th Aug 1915 in 23rd Inf Div, 68th Inf Bde.

Is it known in wich sector this Bn fought?

Anything known of other soldiers serving in this Bn during the actual time?

#17 Neil Burns

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 02:55 PM

hi Stellan,
Another dead-end unfortunately:
No mention of him in Bradley's The Czechoslovak Legion in Russia 1914-1920.
Sorry,
Neil

#18 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 05:14 AM

Thank You Neil!

I think Ivor Thord-Gray was never serving with the Czech Legion. He was however a while in 1919 COS to General Radola Gajda (see new thread on him) who at that time was GOC Northern Army of the Koltschak White Forces in the Ural region.

Stellan

#19 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:47 AM

Ivor Thord-Gray as a German agent

Ivor Thord-Gray perhaps survived WW I thanks to MI 5. In April 1916 British Intelligence began suspecting that Ivor Thord-Gray was a German agent. They then with sucess prevented him to join the Allies in any capacity.

In medio 1916 an alarming report came from Singapore security. It had been found out that Ivor Thord-Gray was a Swede and that he had changed his name from Hallestrom to Gray.

When it was found that the family Hallström in Sweden was well-known and respected the case was clear. If there is nothing wrong with the family, Thord must have done someting wrong, otherwise he should not have to change his name.

MI 5 and Scotland Yard started a large-scale operation to trap the German agent Ivor Thord-Gray. This of course consumed considerable resources. Thus MI 5 made Thord helping the Germans without wanting it or even knowing it himself. Just walking around Thord tied up Allied resources needed elswere, but this was as seen not his fault.

It was Captain Hopkins USN in New York who solved the case. Thord had been misstaken for a Colonel Newham F. Gray, a German agent operating in New York in 1914-1915 when Thord was serving in GB and France.

Colonel Newham F. Gray was fat, short, wore eye-glasses and spoke with a German accent. Thord was slim, tall and had a moustash but no eye-glasses. He spoke British English without a foreign accent.

Through Captain Hopkins Thord got security clearance to join CEF in Siberia. He served there 1918-19 and in the Russian Army 1919-1920.

Returned to GB in 1920 as an agent for Canadian Pacific Railway, but was in Dover prevented from entering GB on the grounds that he was a German citizen suspected to be an agent. He was however allowed to travel on to Sweden.

The matter was finally solved in 1921 and Thord was gazetted Liutenant-Colonel with the British Army on the unemployed list dated back to 10th May 1916.

In 1922 Thord emmigrated to USA. He resigned his British commission in 1924 upon becoming US citizen. In 1925 he opened a bank in New York. He lived in Belle Haven, Greenwich, Connecticut. The family had four servants employed.

In 1929 he closed the bank quickly enough and managed to escape the world crisis.

On 5th Feb 1927 he set a double World´s Record in Archery.

Beeing a Russian MjGen since 29th Nov 1920 and also of Russian heriditiary nobility from 1st August 1920, he was 8th April 1935 brevetted MjGen in the Florida Militia. Reporedly he served as an advisor and organiser with US Army during WW 2.

Picture: MjGen Ivor Thord-Gray in his Russian uniform and with the colour of 1st Siberian Assault Division (left). Oil painting 1933, now in Army Museum, Stockholm.

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#20 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 12:25 PM

Beeing a Russian MjGen since 29th Nov 1920 and also of Russian heriditiary nobility from 1st August 1920, he was 8th April 1935 brevetted MjGen in the Florida Militia. Reporedly he served as an advisor and organiser with US Army during WW 2.


Here as MjGen in USA 1935.

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#21 Greg

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 04:16 PM

Hi Stellan,
Fabulous character! Bit like Rafael de Nogales Bey who wrote about the Armenian massacres whilst serving in the Turkish army. I wonder what was said at the interviews where he was recruited?
Hope the book will be in English because I will certainly get a copy
regards
Greg

#22 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 02:58 AM

I found this photo some days ago. Liutenant-Colonel Ivor T Gray as CO 11th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers May 1915. Feb-May 1916 he was CO of 1/26th Bn London Regiment.

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#23 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 03:46 AM

The mysterious son of LtCol Ivor Thord Gray

LtCol Gray had a son, Angus, born in Scotland 22nd September 1917. The mother was Mrs Isabel or Isabelle M Barr. She was a widow. Possibly was her husband KiA in WW I.

LtCol Gray was in Mexico and USA 1916-1918. According to US Immigration he arrived New York from Mexico 2nd oct 1916. The same source states that an Isabel M Barr, born Gibb, arrived New York 20th Oct 1916. She was 29 years old and a widow.

According to Ivor Thord Gray Mrs Barr had two children, Andrew and Mary in her marriage with the late Mr Barr.

From letters I have found out that Thord (as he was known in his family) and Isabelle (as he wrote the name) were living together at least 1921-1922. She must have been wealthy because she spent long periods in France, living in Paris and Nice.

The only trace I have of Mrs Barr is that she in 1924 was living 85 F New Cavendish Street, Mayfair, London. Her oldest son Andrew was at that time married and had moved to Shepherds Bush.

According to the family the son Angus should have been KiA in WW 2.

In the papers found after MjGen Ivor Thord-Gray I have located a photo of Angus dated Nice January 2nd 1922. That is the last trace of him.

I would be very grateful for any suggestions how I could find out more about Angus, Mrs Barr and her late husband.

MjGen Ivor Thord-Gray was 7th January 1927 appointed LtGen in the Revolutionary Army of Venezuela, but dropped that title after the rebellion failed in 1928.

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#24 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 11:41 AM

German Agent against his own will and without his own knowledge - an unusual soldier´s story

The story of later Major-General Ivor Thord-Gray´s life during the 1916-1918 war years could have been written by Franz Kafka. During those years Thord – as he was called in his family – was constantly fighting against an invisible enemy: British intelligence MI 5.

During the period 1916-1918 he on several occasions volunteered to serve with the British Army but was prevented by MI 5 because he was beleived to be a German agent.

During the period 11th February to 10th May 1916 Thord was CO of 1/26th (Overseas) Battalion London Regiment. When this Battalion was dissolved Thord in June 1916 left for USA and Mexico. Before leaving London Thord had written to the British Consul General in New York. This sparked off a very strange affaire.

The Consul General sent an alarming telegram to Foreign Office because it was known in New York that Colonel Gray was a German agent. Scotland Yard and MI 5 began investigating who Thord really was. Thord understood that there was something wrong and in October 1916 he wrote to Captain Hopkins USN, who he knew from the Philippines. Captain Hopkins was able to solve the problem.

There had been a German agent Colonel Gray operating in New York 1914-1915. But during that period Thord had been serving in France. He had been misstaken for Colonel Newham Gray who had been a Captain in Mexico 1913. Colonel Newham Gray was fat, wore eye-glasses and spoke with a typical German accent. Thord however was tall, slim and the archetype of a British Colonial Officer with mustache and speaking without a foreign accent.

Captain Hopkins informed the British Intelligence Officer in New York, Captain Gaunt RN, about the misstaken identities of the two Colonel Grey. Scotland Yard and MI 5 however continued to investigate Thord and in July 1917 an alarming report came from security in Singapore. It had been found out that Thord was born in Sweden and that he had canged his name from – as they wrote it – Hallestrom to Gray.

The “Zimmerman note” had brought suspisions that Sweden was collaborating with Germany in trying to persuade Mexico to start a war against USA. Beeing Swedish and having changed his name Thord fell under heavy suspisions to be a German agent and British aswell as US security were constantly investigating his activities and whereabouts. It was found that he now since 1917 wrote his family name Thord-Gray. During the years 1916-1917 Thord in fact was made a German agent by MI 5 against his own will and without his own knowledge by having British and US intelligence tying up essential resources controlling him while the real German agent Colonel Gray could get away.

In April 1918 British security had however for the time beeing reached the conclusion that Thord was not a German agent and Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter, British Assistant Provost Marshal in New York, wrote to US athorities that there were no questions about Thord´s loyalty to Britain and thereafter Thord was allowed to work with US Shipping Board until November 1918 when he as a Lieutenant-Colonel joined Canadian Expeditionary Force to Siberia.

In Februari 1919 Thord with permission of Major-General Elmsley was transferred to the Russian “White” Army as Colonel and 2/C of 1st Siberian Assault Division. In summer 1919 he commanded this Division during heavy fighting in the Ural area beeing severely wounded at Omsk 14th August 1919.

After recovering he was 29th November 1919 promoted Major-General and High Representative of the Russian Government with Allied Expeditionary Force in Vladivostok. When Vladivostok was captured by the “Reds” he was a prisoner for five days but could leave for USA in early February 1920.

Thord was going to Sweden but was 19th October 1920 prevented to go ashore in Dover because he was beleived to be a German agent. He was travelling on a Swedish passport because the British Consul General im New York had refused to renew his British passport on the grounds that Thord was a German.

However Sir Herbert Creedy of the War Office was able to solve the question and on 21st March 1921 Thord once again became a British Officer – backdated from 1916!

26th Bn London Regiment. LtCol I.T. Gray resigns his command on ceasing to command Bn and retains the rank of Lt Col 10 May, 1916. (Subsituted for that wich appeared in London Gazette of 9 May, 1916).

In 1922 Thord was again suspected to be a German agent. Special Agent Harry Leslie of BI (later FBI) wrote a report: “Major-General I. Thord-Gray, alledged assistant to Captain von Papen. German activities” but he also reported that he had found no evidence that Thord was working for the Germans and the case was closed.

Thord became Major-General in USA 8th April 1935.

#25 Stellan Bojerud

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:03 AM

Attached File  Scan10100.JPG   43.97KB   7 downloads

Thord served as LtCol and CO of 11th (Service) Bn Northumberland Fusiliers in France, Tilques area, Aug 24 to Oct 30 1915. Does anybody know the situation at that front during said time? 11th Bn NF was part of 68th Inf Bde (BrigGen Eric Pearce-Serocold) of 23rd Division (MjGen James Melville Babington).

In January 1920 Thord as a MjGen with the Imperial Russian Army sold gold to foreign banks for the Koltschak Government in Vladivostok. When he should account for the gold the Koltschak Government had been overrun by the Bolsheviks and Admiral Koltschak was POW and executed a few days later.

Thord kept the gold receipts and later claimed the money wich he used to start a Bank in New York.

Photo: Thord with Mrs Wenner-Gren and an unknown Piper Sergeant-Major. Most probably Ritz Carlton Hotel, New York, November 11th 1934.