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Person Details
Heanor, Derbyshire
William Prince was born in 1885 the son of Henry Kelsall Prince a licensed victualler and Mary Prince (née Middleton). Henry Kelsall was born in 1861 at Heanor, Mary Middleton was also born in 1865 at Heanor. Married on 14th May 1882 at Heanor, they had the following children, Harry b.1883 Heanor, William b1885 Heanor, Gladys b.1897 Heanor and Horace b.1902 Carrington, Nottingham. In 1911, they lived at The Greyhound Hotel, London Road, Nottingham along with two servants.
In 1911, William was a barman.
11 Aug 1916
31
75452896 - CWGC Website
58418
Private
Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Prince was called up for service in August 1916. He was posted to the Sherwood Foresters and reported for duty on 10th August at the regimental depot at Derby. He returned home that evening and on 11th August 1916 his body was found in the River Trent at Nottingham. He had committed suicide. He is buried at Heanor Cemetery, Derbyshire
Nottingham Daily Express ,12th August 1916: TRAGEDY OF THE ARMY “Nottingham Soldier’s Body Found In the Trent. “A SAD STORY. “Tragic circumstances associated with the recovery from the Treat near Trent Bridge yesterday [11th August 1916[ of the body of William Prince, a single man, aged 32, son of Mr. H. K. Prince, landlord of the Greyhound Hotel, London-road, Nottingham. He was well known in that district and by many farmers and tradespeople whose business takes them to the Nottingham Cattle Market. “The deceased was recently called up for military service, and on Thursday, [10th August 1916] in accordance with instructions, went to Derby. He returned in the evening in uniform, and told his parents that he had to return to Derby by the 7.15 train yesterday morning. “The Morning's Message. “It is said that he had viewed military service with a good deal of alarm, largely, it is thought, owing to his having suffered acutely from heart trouble and an affection of the nervous system. He had a rather serious illness about Christmas, and had since worried about the likelihood of his being called to the Colours. He is reported to have declared to a friend on one occasion that “the Army would never have him.” “After returning home on Thursday evening, however, he was more cheerful, and his friends gained the impression that the call to arms would not upset him. He remained home throughout the evening, and retired to bed at the same time as the family. “Yesterday morning a note was found on the kitchen table indicating that he had gone to the river. A search along the riverside was instituted, and shortly after nine o'clock a boatman named William Deer found his body in shallow water close to Brookhouse's landing-stage near Trent Bridge. The deceased's head was protruding from the water, but life was extinct. He was wearing his civilian clothes. It is stated that Prince was a fine swimmer.” Article courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 The inquest into the death of William Prince, a man who had attested for service but who clearly did not wish to join the Army, was held on 12th August 1916. He had had a nervous breakdown three years earlier and had threatened suicide were he to be called up. His father didn't mince his words: “It's the tribunal and the military who have killed him... They have murdered him.” Nottingham Evening Post 12th August 1916: “NOTTINGHAM SOLDIER'S SUICIDE. “FATHER'S OUTBURST. “Remarkable evidence was given at the inquest, conducted by the Nottingham Deputy Coroner, Mr. F. W. Rothera, at Leen-side this afternoon [12th August 1916] upon Wm. Prince, 31, son of Mr. Henry Kelsall Prince, of the Greyhound Inn, London-road. “The father of the deceased said his son had assisted him in the business. Some time in February he attested, and was called up on May 3rd, but did not join until Thursday [10th August 1916], when he went to Derby. The same day he returned in khaki, and appeared as if he didn't like the idea of being in the army at all. Indeed, he had expected being rejected. He had always said if were taken away from his mother and his home he would be found in the river. Three years ago he had a nervous breakdown through overwork. On Thursday night witness saw him in the kitchen, and on the following morning on coming down he saw a letter, in his son's handwriting. "I cannot stand it any longer," he wrote. "I don't want you to worry about me. You know where I am. Don't trouble about me any longer. Good-bye, your loving son. William." He had also added, “Never mind. It is for the best. There is no man who has loved his mother and father more than I did.” “Witness observed: "I read the letter, and I said, 'Thank God for that. I am pleased to bury the lad sooner than he should go away.'” “Mr. Prince proceeded that he went down to the riverside to look for his son, and then reported the matter to the police. "It's the tribunal and the military who have killed him,” he declared. "They have murdered him. My son said, 'I don t want to do it, but I shall if I am not got off.'" “The body was eventually found in the Trent in about a foot of water. “A verdict of "Suicide during temporary insanity” was returned, the Deputy Coroner commenting on the fact that deceased had undoubtedly a horror of having to join the army.” Further article published 14th August 1916 in the Nottingham Daily Express :- “THANK GOD FOR THAT." “Nottm. Father’s Dramatic Outburst Against Tribunal and Military. “A remarkable outburst was made bh Mr. H. K. Prince, landlord of the Greyhound Hotel, London-road, Nottingham, at an inquest held on Saturday [12th August 1916] on the body of his son, William Prince, aged 32, a single man. “It will be remembered that the body was found in the river Trent Bridge. Nottingham, yesterday. [sic] “My son has been murdered by the tribunal and the military,” said Mr. Prince, “and am I am very pleased to bury him sooner then he should go away. When I read his note telling me what he had done I said ‘Thank God!'” “Witness said he found a note in his son's handwriting as follows: — “I cannot stand it any longer. I don't want you to worry about me. You know where I am. Don't trouble about me any longer. Good-bye. — Your loving son, William. “P.S. — Never mind; it is for the best. There is no man who has loved his mother and father more than I did.” “The coroner said that the deceased had undoubtedly a horror of joining the Army, and the jury returned a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity.” Articles courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Research by Peter Gillings
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