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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commisison headstone, Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Peter Gillings (Sept. 2015)
Person Details
William Henry was the son of Richard Henry (Harry) and Lucy Pritchard (née Ball). His father Richard Henry was born in Overton, Flintshire, Wales, in about 1861. His mother Lucy was born in Mansfield, birth registered 1857 (J/F/M Mansfield), the daughter of John and Ann Ball of Meeting House Lane. Lucy was baptised at Mansfield St John the Evangelist on 25 January 1857. Richard and Lucy were married on 11 December 1881 at Mansfield SS Peter and Paul (O/N/D Mansfield). According to the 1911 Census they had had ten children of whom only five survived. However, seven children have been identified on the census between 1891 and 1911 and all were still living in 1911; it is likely that their parents discounted their two eldest sons who had left home. All seven children were born in Mansfield and baptised at the parish church of SS Peter and Paul; their parents were living at 18 Rock Valley, Mansfield: Herbert b. 3 June 1882 (A/M/J Mansfield) bap. 19 July 1882, William Henry birth registered 1885 (J/F/M Mansfield) bap. 11 March 1885, Nellie/Nelly b. 23 June 1887 (J/A/S Mansfield) bap. 24 January 1889, Frances b. 1890 (A/M/J Mansfield) bap. 19 March 1890, Beatrice Alice b. 1892 (J/A/S Mansfield) bap. 31 May 1893, Richard Henry (Harry) b. 1894 (O/N/D Mansfield) bap. 22 September 1895 and Mabel b. 1898 (O/N/D Mansfield) bap. 14 August 1898. In 1901 Richard (40), a bricklayer, and Lucy (43) were living at 18 Rock Valley, Mansfield, with their children Herbert (18) a printing office apprentice, William (16) printer paper, Nellie (13) fancy tin box worker, Frances (11), Beatrice (8), Richard (6) and Mabel (2). The family home was still at the same address in 1911. Richard (52) was now a gas works labourer. Only five children, Nellie (23) and Frances (21) both tin box makers, Beatrice (19) a boot polisher, Richard (16) a coal miner hewer and Mabel (12), who was still at school, were in the home with their parents on the night of the census. Also in the home was Richard senior's widowed mother, Elizabeth (75, b. Wales). Herbert (28) had moved to Wales and in 1911 was working as a linotype operator; he was a boarder in the home of David Jenkins at 71 Argyle Street, Swansea. He was living in Swansea with his wife Alice (b. 24 August 1883) in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled; he was a linotype operator presser. William Henry had married Ethel Mary Ayres in 1910. Ethel had been born in Mansfield on 12 December 1883 (registered 1884 J/F/M Mansfield) and was the daughter of William Henry and Jane Ann Ayres. In 1911 William and Ethel were living at 126 Newgate Lane, Mansfield; William was a gas inspector for Mansfield Coporation gas works. Their son Kenneth William Pritchard was born on 3 May 1912 (A/M/J Mansfield). At the time of William's death in 1917 the family was living at 138 Newgate Road, Mansfield. Ethel did not remarry and in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled she was living at 21 Warwick Drive, Mansfield, with her widowed father, William Ayres (b. 13 July 1856), a retired colliery worker. Also in the household was her unmarried sister, Harriet Eleanor (b. 20 April 1887) a grocery shop assistant, and married woman Lily Graham (b. 29 April 1909) and Terence Graham (b. 24 February 1935). William and Ethel's son Kenneth married Alecia (Alice) Beatrice Lee (b. 16 December 1904) in 1937 (J/A/S Mansfield) and they may have had a son, John M Pritchard in 1939 (J/F/M Mansfield/Lee). In 1939 they were living at 14 Abbey Road, Mansfield; Kenneth was a gas fitter for the Corporation. Kenneth served in the Sherwood Foresters in the Second World War (14568134 Private) and was killed on 15 March 1945 (Berlin 1929-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin). CWGC: 'Son of William Henry and Ethel Mary Pritchard, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; husband of Alicia Beatrice Pritchard, of Mansfield.' William's mother Lucy died in 1929 (J/A/S Mansfield) and his father Richard in 1930 (J/F/M Mansfield). His brother Richard Henry attested in the Territorial Force on 6 January 1912 on a four year engagement (1258 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters). He was discharged on 6 August 1914 (defective eyesight) having served 2 years 217 days.
Gas inspector for Mansfield Corporation
27 Sep 1917
33
99549 - CWGC Website
490189
Lance Corporal
467th Field Coy Royal Engineers
William joined the army in 1915 and served in the Royal Engineers, He served in Ireland in 1916 and then in France where he was killed by a shell 'in the performance of his military duties' on 27 September 1917. The Royal Engineer officer who wrote to William's widow said that her husband had been buried in a military cemetery on the battlefield. William is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (grave ref. I.F.12).
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'The strife is o'er the battle done' Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser: 24/08/1916: Photograph. Currently serving in Ireland with the Royal Engineers. Had been employed by Mansfield Corporation at the Gas Works. Mansfield Reporter, 5 October 1917: 'Another Mansfield Corporal makes The Supreme Sacrifice. Corporal William Pritchard whose wife lives at 138, Newgate-lane, Mansfield, has, we are sorry to learn, been killed in action by a shell. He was 33 years of age, and enlisted two years ago. Prior to joining the Colours he was employed at the Corporation Gas Works. Major DB Frew, Field Coy., Royal Engineers, in a letter to the widow, says: Friday, Sept. 28th, 1917. Dear Mrs Pritchard, It is with the deepest sorrow that I have to inform you of the death of your husband. He was killed by an enemy shell whilst in the performance of his military duties, and his death was instantaneous. Corporal Pritchard was an excellent soldier, and always willing and obliging in everything, and his loss is deeply felt by all in his company, especially his officers, who all had a very high opinion of him. His personal effects have been forwarded to the proper authority in France, and will be forwarded to you in due course. His body has been buried in a military cemetery on the battlefield, and with a proper burial service. I know what a terrible loss this must be to you, and you have my deepest sympathy in your bereavement.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on

Photos

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commisison headstone, Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Peter Gillings (Sept. 2015)
    William Henry Pritchard - Commonwealth War Graves Commisison headstone, Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Peter Gillings (Sept. 2015)
  • photo shows Reservoir cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. 
Courtesy of Peter Gillings (Sept 2015)
    Reservoir Cemetery Ypres - photo shows Reservoir cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Courtesy of Peter Gillings (Sept 2015)