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I am french.
I have recently learned that I am Franco-American.
My name is Claude Richard and I live in the southern part of France.
The circumstances surrounding my birth were concealed from me until
My father is Richard Gray and this is what I know about him:
1. He was in Oran, Algeria, in October and November, 1943.
2. He may well have been in the US Army. His provisional base
wasn't near the harbor or the airport.
3. He was almost 6 feet, with light brown hair, and blue eyes.
4. His military base was situated southeast of Oran, between the
Choupot area and the Cuvelier area (near Cite Petit). A road
separated the base from a big Algerian market hall.
5. His dress uniform was a khaki jacket made of silky cloth. He had
a cap and wore high shoes and gaiters.
6.My father was an "MP" (military police).
7. His friends called him Dick and he had a friend called Mike.
8. He apparently came back to the States, it seems before the end
of the war.
9. He was in Oran until around 15 November - beginning December
He came back in Oran : he had a few days'leave at the end of
I have tried to find my father without success.
The results of my research are condensed below.
In the fall of 1943, an American soldier named Richard Gray, between 20
and 23, was based at Oran in Algeria.
There he met a young woman, my mother Lucienne Martin, 17 years old.
They became very fond of each other and planned to be married. Richard
received wedding dress photos from his sister who lived in the U.S.
At the end of 1943 (end november or beginning december) Richard Gray was
transfered to another, unknown to me, place to continue the war.
He should have been informed by mail of my birth, probably in September,
1944. This story might be common place, but some troubling, complicating
events intervened in this love story.
Richard wrote often to my mother during the war and after he returned to
He said that he wanted to marry her; he expressed it in his letters.
Unfortunately, my grandmother intercepted and destroyed all of his
She did not want this marriage to take place -
it would mean that her daughter and grandson would move to the USA.
I recently learned in March, 1998, from my mother the circumstances
surrounding my birth. During this 54 year period, my mother thought she
had been deserted, in a cowardly manner, by her fiance .
To be deserted pregnant at a tender age was very difficult.
I made several inquiries in my family in 1998 and I began to learn several
things from an aunt.
Before her death in 1977, my grandmother confided to my aunt that she had
destroyed all correspondence between them as well as a few papers
belonging to my mother.
While she never knew Richard Gray, the account of my aunt was a good one
and all of her explanations were later verified.
In September, 1998 I finally learned the truth to my mother (the
destroying of letters).
The burdening facts that she was a deserted woman and an unmarried mother
were out and, at that time, she told me my father's name. The passing
years and the efforts to forget have resulted in fading memories.
I have created this site, attempting to look for my father. Here I have
placed a photo of my mother at that time.
I have written lot of emails to Gray Families who have adress email on the
I continue to use all the opportunities of the internet in my search.
The surname Gray is a very common one in the US.
If Richard Gray can be located, if he wishes, he will be able to contact
me. I only want to know if he is alive, any details of my American family,
and if he has been informed of my search.
It's VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW the name of his Army.
Is there a veteran who was in Oran during the WWW II and would answer me ?
Please excuse me for any improprieties.
I would like very much to find him still living, and, if so, I would like
to hold him.
If you have no knowledge of my father, if you could forward this
request to ten veterans or people you know, and ask them to do the same,
Thank you very much for all your help.
Mr. Claude Richard PAEZ
Allee du Vent d'Est - Les Vautes N° 7
83320 - Carqueiranne - FRANCE
phone : +33 (0) 4 94 58 75 09
web site : http://aa-ienet.com/RICHARD.htm
email : marie-francoise.vincent-paez(a)wanadoo.fr
It's very difficult to find my father because I don't know his birth date ,
his leaving town or his birth town. Without these informations, I think it
is very important to know his unit in Oran (algeria) to continue my
I wrote to a lot of Archives, 1.500 Gray families, Army, USA embassy,
President Clinton, President Chirac, US shows, US news, etc .. without
In USA I find GRAY-L-request(a)rootsweb.com (850 gray families), I have
more of 5.000 people asking to forward my request, etc ..
I am in all xxx-L-request@rootsweb (France, Ireland, England, Scotland,
I will write you when I'll have more results.
Thank you very much and happy new year.
adresse site : http://aa-ienet.com/RICHARD.htm
notre e-mail : marie-francoise.vincent-paez(a)wanadoo.fr