Pritchard, George Ernest

George Ernest Pritchard
Gunner, 114 Battery, 25 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Service no. 3704.

Gunner George Ernest Pritchard

George was born at Buttington, Montgomeryshire in 1887. Father William Pritchard. Mother Elizabeth Pritchard.
He was four years old in the 1891 census and living with his father William (by now a widower) brothers Robert (11), William (9) and John (7) at Bushes, Buttington in Montgomeryshire.
By the 1901 census he was 13 years old, still living with his father William aged 80, brothers William (19) and John (16) at Hope, Buttingdon in Montgomeryshire.
George enlisted with the Army on 13th March 1905 at Manchester, he was unmarried and a general labourer, aged 18 years and 10 months. He signed up for three years with the colours and nine years in the Reserves, which would have taken his twelve years service up to March 1917.
In April 1909 George had been in the reserves for a year when he was employed as an assistant postman at Blackpool and by August he had moved and become a relief postman at Lancaster.
In 1910 he was 22 years old and married his wife Emily who was 28 and from Todmorden and by the time of the 1911 census they were living together as a married couple at Bolton Row, Brookhouse, Caton in Lunesdale. He was by now a full postman.
In 1913 they had moved to Keighley where he  was employed as a postman. At the outbreak of war, as an Army reservist with over two years still to run, he was immediately called to the colours and would have been mobilised very quickly as he arrived in France on 13th September 1914. It's likely he would have joined 114th Battery (25th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery) sometime around the time of the Battle of the Aisne.
He served with them for over two years, until his death at Caterpillar Valley on 27th July 1916 when he was killed in action aged 30.

The Battery war diary records that two men were killed on that day when their battery was hit by enemy shells, putting two of their guns temporarily out of action, wounding five men and killing two. The other man killed on this day is unknown.

Keighley News 26th August 1916:
News has been received by Mrs. Pritchard, of Keighley, that her husband Gunner G. Pritchard, Royal Field Artillery, who before the war was employed as a postman, was killed in action on July 27. A reservist, he was called to the colours at the outbreak of war, and had been in France for about two years.

Any grave George may have been given at the time was probably lost after the war and so he is named on the Thiepval 'Memorial to the Missing' in France.
His wife Emily was living at 15, Grafton Street in Blackpool after the war when she received his back pay, war gratuity and personal effects and medals.
He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.
George's name is recorded in Keighley's Great War Roll of Honour book in Keighley Library, also on the Keighley Post Office war memorial on Oakworth Road in Keighley and on the All Saint's Church war memorial at his birthplace of Buttington in Montgomeryshire.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
Montgomeryshire Monumental Inscriptions.
Census records for 1891, 1901 and 1911.
British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969.
British Army Service Records, medal rolls.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Keighley News - newspaper archives held at Keighley Library.
The National Archives - War Diaries.

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