Monday, February 23, 2015

Captain Thomas James Prichard M.C.

Captain Thomas James Prichard M.C.


There was only one result for T J Prichard in the CWGC database and it gave the 'other information' that he was from Liverpool.  A further confirmation that it is the correct person is the M.C. which is noted on the memorial and the CWGC entry.

Family information

Thomas James Prichard was born in Liverpool on 17th July 1894. He was baptised in St Cleopas' Church, Toxteth, on 8th August and the baptism record shows that his parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Prichard and they lived at 6 Madeline St. Thomas was a Clerk.

In the 1911 census Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Prichard were living at 45 Tennyson St, Liverpool with their 6 children and Elizabeth's mother, Isabella Holden.
Thomas James was their eldest child, in this census he was 16 years old and working as a junior clerk in a shipping company office. His father was a bookkeeper in a fruit broker’s office. We know that Thomas James went on to work at the White Star Line company and was an employee of the company at the time of the Titanic disaster.

Military information

Thomas Prichard has an entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, transcribed here:

PRICHARD, THOMAS JAMES, M.C. Capt., 1st Battn. (4th Foot) The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regt) elder s. of Thomas Prichard of Prince’s Park, Liverpool, by his wife Elizabeth J., dau of Thomas Holden; b Liverpool co. Lancaster, 17th July 1894; educ Liverpool Institute, where he was a member of the O.T.C.; entered the service of the White Star Line in 1910 while continuing his military training in the 6th (Territorial) Battn. The King’s Liverpool Regt. Volunteered for active service on the outbreak of war and was attached to the Army Cyclist’s Corps; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. The South Lancashire Regt 18 Sept 1915; promoted Lieut 1 July 1917 and Capt 19 Oct of the same year. Served with the Expeditionary Force in France from May 1916, being transferred to the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regt) 28th March 1916, and was killed in action near Arras 28th March 1918. Buried at Fampoux. His commanding officer wrote: “He was killed while gallantly leading his men in action. Thanks however to the impetus he had given his men, the gap was filled and the line held by his company for the remainder of that day and the next until they were relieved.” and a brother officer: “He was almost worshipped by the men, who admired his wonderful quiet bravery under fire, his untiring energy out of the line in doing all he could to entertain and provide comforts, and his never-changing fairness to everyone and fearlessness in playing the game.” The White Star Line, in an appreciation of the deceased officer also wrote: “His death at the early age of 23 removes one who, in the short period he was destined to serve in the White Star Line, gave promise of attaining the same honourable position in the world of commerce that he achieved in the Army. Essentially thorough in all he did and gifted with an unerring memory, his somewhat serious manner covered a dry sense of humour which, coupled with a generous and amiable disposition, endeared him alike for ability and character to his colleagues.” He was awarded the M.C. (London Gazette 1 June 1917) for special bravery and coolness in an attack by a hostile patrol, and was twice mentioned in dispatches (London Gazettes 4 Jan and 22 May 1917) by F.M. Sir Douglas Haig for gallant and distinguished service in the field; unm.

The medal rolls entry for Captain T. J. Prichard M.C. shows that he was eligible for the Victory Medal and the British War Medal with the oak leaves emblem to show he was mentioned in despatches, he would also have received a certificate for each mention.

The medal index card shows that his father applied for his medals in 1922 and gave his address as 45 Tennyson Road.

Death and Commemoration

Captain Thomas J Prichard was killed in action on 28th March 1918, aged 23. The fact of his death was noted in the war diary (below) but no details.

28/3/1918 In Trenches
Enemy attack N of R Scarpe, Battn occupied MISSOURI, STOKE & LOGIC trenches. Captain Pritchard killed. 2/Lts Murray, Frances, McCartney and McPhereson wounded. ESSEX lost heavily, 2nd Lancs Fus and 1st K.O. only left in Bde. Two Battn HQ in old Bde HQ LEMON TRENCH. Battn lost about 70 casualties in O.R.

29-31st In the line. Battalion heavily shelled on 29th.

There is not much information about him in UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Thomas James Prichard
Death Date:
28 Mar 1918
Temp Captain
King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
1st Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action

Thomas J Prichard was also commemorated on a plaque at his old school, The Liverpool Institute, this memorial was dismantled in the 1980s and lost then recovered, restored and rededicated on the original site (now part of  Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) click here to go to the Liverpool Institute Old Boys website which has information and pictures of the rededication.

Captain Thomas J Prichard was buried in a small military cemetery. Fortunately his grave marker survived until his body was exhumed after the war and he was reburied in Piont du Jour Military Cemetery, Athies in grave II.D.21. Other soldiers buried near him were unidentified and are now only ‘Known Unto God’.

His family chose to have the following inscription added to his headstone:

The Lord gave, The Lord hath taken away, Blessed be His name.

Probate and soldiers’ effects records show that Thomas J Prichard left his effects to his father.

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