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Rev Raymond Audley Dunbar Heath


Portriat photo of Rev Raymond Audley Dunbar Heath
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Born: 1884 and died 1962.
Son of: Rev Douglas Leopold Heath (1849-1926) and Mary Heath (nee Penkivil, 1848-1918).
Brother of:
1. Rev Douglas Montague Heath (1881-1961) who married Edith Heath (nee Bagnall).
2. Rev Cyril Moore Penkivil Heath (1882-1951) who married Dulcie Heath (nee Sides,1890-1973).
Raymond married:  Vera Heath (nee Greatrex, 1889-1969).
Raymond and Vera had issue:
1. Anthony Greatrex Dunbar Heath (1923-2007) who married Sylvia Heath (nee Wilson, born 1926).
2. Rosemary Barbara Heath (born 1928).

Rev Raymond Audley Dunbar Heath: An Overview

We have the following references to Raymond:
1. Entry in the book "Records of the Heath Family Vol 1" by George Heath, 1913. 
2. Entry in the book "Records of the Heath Family Vol 2" by George Heath, 1920.
3. A note written in 2003 by his son Anthony Heath.

Records of the Heath Family Vol 1, page 101, reads as follows:

Raymond Audley Dunbar, born at Bushend Vicarage, Essex, Feb. 26th, 1884.  Home education.
Trained at Ely Theol. Coll.
M.A., St Edmund College, Oxford, 1909.
Ordained Deacon, 1909; Priest, 1912.
Curate of St Mark's, Mansfield, Notts., 1909, an appointment he held till May, 1903, when he took a curacy at Amblecote, Worcs.

Records of the Heath Family Vol 2, page 28, reads as follows:


On the outbreak of war, I was finishing my term of office as assistant priest in the parish of Amblecote, Staffordshire, having arranged to become assistant priest at St.Paul's, Worcester, in October. It was during my stay at the latter parish, that the Vicar, (the Rev. Studdert Kennedy) and myself agreed, that one of us ought to serve in some capacity in the Army. Chaplaincies at the time were difficult to obtain, there being a glut of applications and few appointments. The R.A.M.C. seemed to offer an opportunity which a priest might use as the work meant saving life rather than taking it, and one thought there would be opportunities of ministering to men on the field. So I enlisted as a private in the R. A.M.C. in March, 1915. After training as a stretcher bearer, I went out in that capacity, in the 141st Field Ambulance in August, 1915. The first time we went under fire was on September 25th, at the Battle of Loos. We remained in that part of the line for some time. In December, I was transferred to the 9th Field Ambulance, which was then at Estaires, somewhere near the Arrmentieres front. In January, 1916, the Ambulance, which was attached to the 2nd Brigade of the Guards Division, went to Paperinghe, and sections were sent up in reliefs to the Canal Bank at Ypres. Stationary trench warfare was going on there at the time, and periodical bombardments, sniping, and whizz bangs were the order of the day. We remained in that part until July, 1916, when the Division and Ambulances were moved to the Somme. We were in and out of the line at various points for some time until September, when the Guards took part in a push on the -beyond Trones Wood and Delville Wood. It was following up that advance to collect wounded that I got hit. The shell killed three of our squad, one of whom was carrying a stretcher with me, and wounded two besides myself.

I got to Blighty, and after treatment in Hospital, was marked B2, owing to deafness to one ear as the result of shell concussion.

This meant my not returning to France. I then applied for a Chaplaincy, but did not succeed in getting appointed. After five months at the Depot, I was detailed for Hospital ship duty, and sent to the Hospital ship, Jan Breydel, on which I did duty as a ward orderly. We carried wounded from Boulogne, and sometime Calais, to Dover. Thirteen months of this unhealthy life resulted in my getting ill. I was in hospital for 15 weeks, during which time I had an operation on the neck. After being turned out fit again, I managed to avoid another boat, and get on to No.1 Ambulance Train, in September, 1918. We conveyed patients from Southampton to all parts of England. I was on this train until I was demobilised in January, 1919. Immediately I was free, I resumed my work at St. Paul's Worcester, and towards the end of the year was appointed Chaplain to the Berkeley Hospital, Worcester, an office I hold along with my curacy.


The following note was written in 2003 by his son Anthony Heath and reviewed in 2012 by his daughter Rosemary Heath.  Reads as follows:

Going back to his time in Oxford, he was a keen rower and rowed as No 2 in 1902, as Stroke in 1903 and again as Stroke in 1905 in the Plumtre Fours.  For those 3 rows, he received pewter tankards, 1/2 pint for 1902 with a lid on it and pints for the other two years.  He was too light to be considered for the Oxford Boat against Cambridge.

He married Vera Constance Clare Greatrex in 1921.  He then bought a house in west Hampstead as he had left Worcester and joined the firm of Perkins Bacon & Co. who were stamp producers and engravers.  After three years in Hampstead he bought The Dell, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, which was an attractive house of about 200 years old, formerly a fellmongers' office, on what is now the A11.  From there he commuted to London by train every day.  In 1936 the firm was absorbed into a larger printing firm and he lost his job there.  After trying for various positions without success he applied to the Bishop of Chelmsford for a parish and was offered Stondon Massey as Rector in 1937; he had always done what what was known as ''guinea pig'' work, locums for nearby parishes when the incumbent Vicar or Rector was absent for holidays or sickness, but a parish of his own was a permanent appointment, though it was not a very good living.  The family did not actually move there until 1940 as the old Rectory was deemed too large and difficult to run without servants (wartime), so a new house had to be built.
In 1945 Raymond became Vicar of Takeley, Essex, a pleasanter living as Raymond had been brought up in nearby Bush End and Vera in Hatfield Broad Oak.  The Vicarage was a big house in good order with a large garden.  There he remained until retiring in 1961 when he returned to The Dell.  He lived only for a year before dying of a heart attack one afternoon from trying to lift a heavy piece of furniture into position in the kitchen.  He was buried in the churchyard at Takeley.
Raymond was not as musical as his wife, but could play the organ quite well.  He was not proficient on the piano but struggled for weeks to learn the second movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.  His being deaf in one ear was a distinct disadvantage socially, and as a parish priest did not help him become universally liked, unlike his brother Cyril.  He was happiest in his workshop, making and creating things.  He was also a dab hand at car maintenance, always doing his own servicing.  In his last years he developed a keen interest in horology and became renowned throughout the county for his skilful overhauls and repairs, particularly to grandfather clocks.



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