Memorable Manitobans: Roger Ernest Bray (1874-1952)
Socialist, veterans’ leader.
Born at Sheffield, England on 19 November 1874, son of Nicholas Bray, he immigrated to Winnipeg in 1903, working in the butcher trade. He was a former Methodist lay preacher and an active socialist, who had discovered “that Christianity was not the means of correcting social injustice.” He joined the Canadian Army in 1916 while unemployed, later explaining he had “no job and a large family.” He returned to Winnipeg from England on 31 December 1918, serving in 1919 as spokesman for a returned soldiers meeting in Victoria Park, and as chairman of an informal group of returned soldier strikers. On 14 June 1919, a secret agent of the Royal North West Mounted Police informed the superintendent of the Winnipeg District that Bray was “at the present time the most dangerous person in the City.” He was arrested on 17 June 1919 by the government on charges of seditious conspiracy. He became Vice-President of the Winnipeg Labour Council formed by the One Big Union on 5 August 1919. At his sedition trial in 1920, he was acquitted on most charges and convicted only on the charge of conspiracy to commit a common criminal nuisance. He was sentenced to six months in prison. He subsequently became an organizer for the One Big Union. He eventually moved to North Vancouver where he raised gladioli and was an organizer for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. He died at North Vancouver on 23 October 1952.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 5 June 2019
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