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  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
Person Details
Nottingham
Born in 1896, he was the son Joseph and Caroline Prior. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 15 Brook Street with his father (59), brother Joseph Henry (33, head of household), who was a grocer and provision dealer, his sister in law, Elizabeth Anna (30), and their children Elizabeth (5) and Frederick (1 month).
He was a member of 2nd Nottingham Company Boys Brigade (Dakeyne St Boys' Club). 1911 Census: hosiery hand
01 Aug 1915
20
477938 - CWGC Website
1773
Private
1/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Pte. George Prior, enlisted in Nottingham and served with the 1/7th battalion Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire) Regiment (Robin Hood Rifles). He landed in France on 28th February 1915 and was killed in action while serving in the trenches near Sanctuary Wood, Ypres, Belgium. Buried Sanctuary Wood Cemetery (grave ref II.E.7)
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged) 24 August 1915: Private G Prior, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters, 13 Brook Street, Nottingham, killed in action 1 August. In memoriam published 1st August 1916 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “PRIOR. – In affectionate remembrance of George Prior, Robin Hoods, died in action at Hooge, August 1st, 1915. – Fondly remembered by brother Joe, wife, and family. “PRIOR. – In ever loving memory of Private George Prior, Robin Hoods, who fell in action August 1st, 1915. – Gone from my side, but not from my heart. To memory ever dear. – Kitty.” L/Cpl. George William Robinson, 1/7th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, recalled his experiences at Hooge after entering the line on 23rd July 1915 and was published 'Nottingham Evening Post,' 7th March 1930. “A VIVID MEMORY OF THE WAR. “When Robin Hoods First Saw “Liquid Fire.” “Nottingham Rifleman's Memories of Terrible Ordeal. “Nineteen Days in the Ypres Salient. “On July 23rd, 1915, the Robin Hoods proceeded from Ouderdom, and relieved the 8th Batt. Sherwood Foresters in Sanctuary Wood (writes G. W. Robinson, who served with the Robin Hoods 1914-1919). The trenches taken over were B3, 4, 7, and 8, and these were situated on the east side of the wood. Quietness had reigned in the Ypres salient for a week or two, and we began to wonder if there was a war on. Except for the usual bickerings of “hate,” matters were abnormally tranquil for a place with so evil a reputation. “The first six days the Germans behaved themselves, and we thoroughly enjoyed the “picnic.” The only fly in the ointment was a German 'plane which hovered quite low over our lines, the occupants, no doubt, observing the weaknesses in our defences. This 'plane was brought down in flames by a masterly display of airmanship on the part of a British pilot. “About midnight on the sixth day we were relieved by the 8th Sherwood Foresters, and occupied support trenches in Sanctuary Wood. After an hour so of welcome rest we were aroused and stood to arms. “FIRST LIQUID FIRE.” “Tired eyes eagerly awaited the order to “stand down.” About 3 a.m. we became quickly alert. Lurid flames suddenly leaped sky-high over the trenches on our left front. This was followed immediately by the terrific din of numerous minenwerfer and the German artillery in full play. It was a devilish dawn, and consternation reigned. We speculated widely as to what had happened. Later news trickled through, and it became known that the Germans had introduced yet another cruel weapon of war, namely, “liquid fire.” “Throughout that day we endured the blast of a powerful, and much prepared artillery. Meanwhile, the British troops on our left had been wiped out. The 8th Battalion K.R.R.'s, who had been relieved overnight, were brought back again from rest billets near Poperhinghe. After marching over twenty miles these heroic men were thrown into the fray. Endeavouring to achieve the impossible they were in their turn practically wiped out. The seemingly interminable hours passed slowly by, and we began to wonder when our turn would come. Just to our rear was an aid-post to which the numerous wounded passed us. The stoical groans, and occasionally shriek of a sorely wounded man were appalling to hear, and gradually got on our nerves. “Towards dusk the Robin Hoods were ordered to go forward and retake as much of the lost ground as possible. We were ordered to dig a new trench. Having no spades, we set about this task with our entrenching tools. This was tedious work, yet we accomplished the job in record time. Through it all, the clatter of machine-guns and the burst of shrapnel overhead was incessant. “From in front of us came repeated cries for help from men belonging to the K.R.R.'s who had fallen wounded in the attack of the afternoon. A good many of these badly wounded men were brought in. Our own troubles were only just beginning. About 2.30 a.m., on July 31st, a Very light soared heavenwards and burst into multiple lights of all colours. It was very pretty, but an omen that boded no good. This was followed by a terrific bombardment, and another attack on a big scale. By rifle and machine-gun fire, and with generous help from our artillery, the attack was repulsed. “TRAGIC BIRTHDAY PARTY. “When dawn broke we began to take stock of our position, and found that we were on the edge of a clearing. The distance between us and the Germans would be about 700 yards. Intervening thick shrubs grew densely. During the night courageous comrades had safely negotiated the barrage in [the] rear, and brought us our rations, also, much to our delight, letters and parcels from home. “Four of us who had been inseparable chums since the commencement of the war “messed” together whenever possible. By a coincidence, George was the Christian name of three of us. Towards midday there was a lull, each side taking a breather. We began to feast on tins of “bully,” and I recollect that we had a bottle of English sauce, finishing in great style on cake made by a homely mother in good old Nottingham. “Hereabout an appalling disaster befel our little lunch party. Without any warning a mysterious missile burst just in front, and about six feet from the ground. George P____ [1] collapsed, and, without a word to any of us, he died. A piece of shrapnel had entered his stomach. “The British artillery was now in full blast, and “Jerry” was being paid back in his own coin. The devastation of a once beautiful wood commenced. Came a shriek of a gigantic shell through space, and a tree which a few moments before had swayed majestically in the breeze would topple over. “In the evening our platoon sergeant detailed several of us to fetch rations. Bullets were zipping through the wood from all directions. On returning from the dump, our “mess” was again depleted, a bullet through the wrist putting another member hors de combat. With a cry pain he dropped his load, and commenced jumping the fallen trees, ditches, &c., making for the nearest aid post. We eventually came across him having the wound dressed. We envied him, but with a “Cheerio! Remember us to them in Blighty,” we passed on. “An enormous British gun had now come into action, and this kept up a prolonged bombardment on the German trenches. Each projectile burst with a tremendous reverberation, and pieces of steel and iron reached us in our trenches. This backwash caused us several casualties. “AN EERIE NIGHT. “On the night of August 3rd my friend and I were sent to man a barricade in our front-line trench. The other side of the sandbags was a continuation trench lost on the first morning of [the] attack. Several dead K.R R.s lay together under our noses. Hereabouts the new “Mills” bombs were introduced, and I recollect that we were dubious as to their mechanism. These bombs lay about in profusion, and we religiously left them alone. About midnight a “fighting patrol” came along with the intention of finding the enemy. They passed through the barricade, and we awaited developments. “After a few minutes, first one and then another came diving back much haste. They had evidently found them all right. “What's the matter, chum?" asked my friend. “Germans five traverses down,” came the reply, and the patrol departed. We were left wondering what was going to happen. Electricity was in the air, for “Jerry” was in an offensive mood. At last my comrade could stand the suspense no longer, and with a cry “Here, hold these bombs, I'm going to find out where they are, and if anything happens let them come,” crawled through with his rifle at tho “ready.” He received the shock of his life. An enormous rat by whisked his nose, and with a pallid face he withdrew. His ardour for finding “Jerries” was appeased for that night! “Our troubles were not yet over. About 3 a.m. a minenwerfer cast two projectiles among us causing great havoc. Eight of the garrison were wounded, and I myself slightly. I still remember that for two days I could not sit down in comfort. After two days rest I was back again in action. “THE COUNTER-ATTACK. “Throughout, the artillery on both sides kept up a lively duel. Eventually the inferno of noise began to get on our nerves. Orders were expected at any moment for us go “over the top,” but through some cause or another they never materialised. Yet the British bombardment was increasing in intensity, and knew that a counter-attack was only a matter of time. Meanwhile we crouched low, and awaited the inevitable “On the night of August 5th we were unexpectedly relieved by the 2nd Durhams, of the Sixth Division, and went into support again in Sanctuary Wood. We were overjoyed, but not yet “out of the soup.” “After a few hours of much-needed sleep we were again aroused and “stood to arms.” The 6th Division were attacking, and the news soon came back that they had taken more than had been lost by the unfortunate K.R.R.'s ten days before. After a further two days in the trenches we were relieved. Tired and dishevelled after 19 days of constant alertness and demoralising bombardment, we again wended our weary way to the fields around Poperhinge. After a day or so of rest from the din of battle we were soon ourselves again. Tried and true comrades we had left behind; they died with never a falter — we still lament their loss. “We were delighted to know that the G.O.C. commanding the British Armies in France and Flanders (Sir John French) had heard and approved of our behaviour during the battle. A critical situation had been saved, and for the honour of old England we were pleased to have done our best. “Bravo! Robin Hoods!” was the fine message which was flashed over the line from a city away over the sea, and we were proud of it. “Such is a brief but true story of our sojourn in the Ypres Salient, when the Germans first used “liquid fire.” [1] Pte. George Prior, 1/7th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Robin Hood Rifles), was killed in action on 1st August 1915 and is buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. Above is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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Photos

  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    George Prior - Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle