Lance Corporal Henry Pritchard
Died 14th July 1916, aged 27
Henry Pritchard was born on the 9th January 1889 in Middleton, Chirbury, Shropshire. His parents Ellen Jones and William Pritchard, although they already had a daughter Louisa (two years old at the time) were not married. They did marry, however, on the 16th December 1890 and subsequently went on to have another nine children. The father, William was a baryte miner and worked at the Wotherton Baryte mine for over 20 years. The family lived in the Folley cottages in Wotherton during this time. The 1891 census, when Henry was only two years old, shows that living in the family house, was Herbert Pritchard, then 17, who was a lodger labouring in the same baryte mine. This is the same Herbert Pritchard with whom our Henry later lodges in the 1911 census.
Wotherton Barite Mine
The 1911 census shows Henry, aged 22 and living in the house of his cousin Herbert who is now aged 38. The house is 167 Watling Street, Church Stretton. The household consists of Herbert and his wife Elizabeth Rose and their five children, Henry and two women boarders who are mother and daughter. All of the adults, except the wife, work at the Sanitary Laundry Company, a steam laundry located across the road on the site where now Continental Fireplaces stands. This area today is called Laundry Bank. The two men are laundry engineers; daughter Priscilla, 17, is the laundry bookkeeper, daughter Rosella, 15, is the laundry calendar hand and the boarders Annie Haley, 40, is a laundress washer and her daughter Florence Haley, 18, is a laundress ironer.
The steam laundry had been set up by Herbert Holworthy, an entrepreneur from Liverpool in 1905. He had the laundry and a house built for himself on the site at the southern end of Watling Street. In 1911 he employed 17 people in the laundry and most of them were young women living in houses on Watling Street.
It appears that Henry Pritchard joined KSLI 7th battalion in Shrewsbury about October 1914 and was allocated regimental number 14471. His service records have not survived. The KSLI 7th Battalion was a war-raised Service Battalion under Lt. Col. J.H. Barber. It was formed in Shrewsbury in September 1914 and joined the 76th Brigade of the 25th Division; landed at Boulogne on 28th September 1915 and served entirely on the Western Front. They first saw action in the Ypres Salient in the winter of 1915-16 and moved to the Somme in July 1916.
The following is an extract from KSLI 7th Battalion War Diaries for 14th July 1916, the day of Henry’s final battle.
Battalion advanced toward German trenches and were held back by barbed wire, remainder leaped into shell holes & consolidated along road 200yds from German trench. 11a.m. We were informed the 2nd Royal Scots were bombing along German trench on our left, which had been taken. At 12p.m. Battalion again charged & captured both 1st &2nd trenches, also 250 prisoners. When all Battalion were collected & consolidating German 2nd trench we found 5 officers were untouched, the remainder were wounded or killed, the losses in the ranks were found to be heavy. 147 killed, 278 wounded (16 of which subsequently died), 16 missing.
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge
Lance Corporal Henry Pritchard was one of the dead; his body was not recovered for a formal burial. His name is etched on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier 12A and Face 12D). He was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Star Medal. His War Gratuity of £8 and his effects of £2 18s 8d were paid to his father William.
7th Battalion KSLI War Diaries – The National Archives Ref.No. WO 95/1421/4
Photo: Wotherton Barite Mine curtsey of Ken Lock Collection, Shropshire Caving & Mining Club .
Photo: The Battle of Bazentin Ridge from the Imperial War Museum collection Ref.No. Q 4417