PRIVATE JOHN HENRY RAYNER
17TH JULY 1916 AGE 23
BURIED: DIVE COPSE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAILLY-LE-SEC, FRANCE
John Henry Rayner, a warehouseman from Islington, was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme. His parents' inscription quotes Shakespeare's Henry V on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt. The King, overhearing the Earl of Westmoreland lament the fact that the English army is so small, tells him that he would not wish for one man more: if they are all about to die then there are quite enough of them to "do our country loss", but if they are about to live then there will be fewer people to have share the honour with. This is the beginning of Henry's famous St Crispin's Day speech in which he assures his listeners that "From this day to the ending of the world", we will all be remembered: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers".