Ivor Thord-Gray (April 17, 1878 – August 18, 1964) was a Swedish-born adventurer, soldier, ethnologist, writer and linguist.He participated in 13 different wars across several continents.
He was born Thord Ivor Hallström in the Södermalm district in central Stockholm, Sweden as the second son of a primary school teacher, August Hallström, and his wife Hilda. His eldest brother was the artist Gunnar August Hallström (1875–1943). His youngest brother was the archaeologist Gustaf Hallström (1880–1962).
In 1893 he joined the Merchant Marineand sailed on three ships before going ashore in Cape Town, South Africa during December 1895. He joined the Cape Mounted Rifles in South Africa as a Private in 1897. Between 1897 and 1919, Thord-Gray participated in 13 different wars covering several continents.
He changed his name to Gray in 1899 and Thord-Gray in 1917. In 1923, he wrote a book about Mexican archeology Från Mexicos forntid : bland tempelruiner och gudabilder.
In 1925 Thord-Gray moved to the United States and established I.T. Gray & Co, an investment bank located at 522 Fifth Avenue in New York City. He became a citizen of the United States in 1934. He was married to Josephine Toerge-Schaefer (1925–1932) who had two children, Edward and Frances. He was subsequently married to Winnifred Ingersoll (1933–1960). In 1929, he established residence at Gray Court in Belle Haven in Greenwich, Connecticut. In August 1935 he was appointed Major-General and Chief-of-Staff to Governor David Sholtz of Florida.
In 1955, he wrote Tarahumara-English, English-Tarahumara dictionary and an introduction to Tarahumara grammar. (Coral Gables, Fla., University of Miami Press, 1955). He also wrote a book about his experiences in the Mexican Revolution, Gringo Rebel: Mexico 1913–1914 (Coral Gables, Fla. : University of Miami Press, 1961). In later years he had his winter home in Coral Gables, Florida.
- Worked as a Prison Guard on Robben Island 1896
- In 1897 he enlisted in the Cape Mounted Riflemen and fought the Boer War 1899–1902
- Served in the South African Constabulary 1902–1903
- Transvaal Colony Civil Service 1903–1906
- Captain in the Lydenburg Militia 1904
- Joined Royston’s Horse as a Lieutenant and fought in the Bambatha Rebellion 1906 being promoted Captain.
- Captain of Nairobi Mounted Police 1907
- Captain Philippine Constabulary (“US Foreign Legion”) 1908–1909
- Planter in Malaya 1909–1911. Served a short time in the Chinese Revolution 1913
- Joined Mexican Revolution as Captain and Commander of Pancho Villa’s artillery 1913
- Promoted Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel 1914
- Chief of Staff 1st Mexican Army 1914
Ivor Thord-Gray received it during the Mexican Civil War 1913-14, when he fought under Pancho Villa’s command. English Cased Engraved and Gold-Washed Colt Model 1860 Fluted Army Percussion Revolver together with Accessories and Colt Factory Letter. Serial no. 5252 Custom-carved Mexican “eagle & snake”
- Joined British Army 1914 as a Major and second in command of 15th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
- Lieutenant-Colonel and Commanding officer of 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers 1915, 1/26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers 1916
- Awarded 1914–15 Star, British War Medal, and Allied Victory Medal
- Lieutenant-Colonel Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF-S) to Siberia 1918
- Transferred to Russian “White” Army February 1919 as Colonel
- Commanding Officer of 1st Siberian Assault Division
- Major General November 1919 and High Representative of the Provisional Siberian Government to the Allied Expeditionary Corps in Vladivostok
Germany- Kind of ?
- Thord Ivar Hallströms handlingar – Some 1,000 letters and documents regarding Ivor Thord-Gray deposited in the Kungliga Biblioteket in Stockholm
A Target for Arrows
Mr. Thord‐Gray was a tall, darkhaired man with a booming voice and an acid sense of humor. Someone once said of him that he had a more diversified record than Alexander the Great.
“I have one distinction,” he told a newspaper reporter in 1927. “I think more people have shot at me with arrows than at any other man in the world.”
From the start of the 20th century until the early 1930s, Mr. Thord‐Gray crisscrossed Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe as a soldier and an adventurer.
He served as an artillery and cavalry officer in the British Army in Africa and India, rising eventually to the rank of lieutenant general. In the Spanish‐American War he went to the Philippines as an unofficial attaché and saw service with the American forces on the islands.
When the Mexican revolutions broke out, Mr. ThordGray obtained leave from the British Army and joined the constitutionalist forces in Sonora. As a Mexican colonel in command of the cavalry of Gen. Lucio Blanco’s expedition on the west coast, he aided in the taking of Guadalajara, one of the hardest‐fought battles of the revolution.
In 1914 and 1915 he commanded the Northumberland Fusiliers (the “Fighting Fifth”) in France. In 1916 he came to the United States on a mission for the Allies. Two years later
A champion archer, Mr. Thord‐Gray once participated in a highly publicized contest which proved that the bow and arrow can be just as accurate as an army weapon.
The competition started late one winter evening in 1917 in a Manhattan restaurant. A group of officers, including the general, argued about the mèrits of archery and revolver marksmanship. Mr. Thord‐Gray, annoyed at some young men who mocked the usefulness of the bow and arrow, arose and pounced his fist on the table.
“I’ll do it,” he shouted. “I’ll outshoot the best marksman you can find.”
The competition was set up and Mr. Thord‐Gray outshot the crack marksmen of the Ninth Coast Artillery at their armory on West 14th Street. He used an English bow—the same weapon that was used at Hastings, Agincourt and Crecy.
“I like it for the exercise,” Mr. Thord‐Gray said, “discussing archery. “I like it much better than golf.”
In the nineteen‐twenties, Mr. Thord‐Gray trained machine gunners to fight headhunters in the Malay states and founded a rubber plantation there.
During his career he also compiled a dictionary of the native tongue of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, a reference work on the archeology and anthropology of Mexico and a history of the Mexican revolution.
Mr. Thord‐Gray was a past president of the British Great War Veterans of America.
His wife, the former Winifred Ingersoll of Chicago, died in 1961, leaving nearly $3 million in trust funds to finance foreign exchange students.