Pridmore, Reginald George. Died 13th Mar 1918

Reginald George Pridmore was born on the 29th April 1886 in Edgbaston Birmingham, the eldest of three children to George William and Sarah Louisa nee Bailey. They were married on the 6th July 1885 in St Matthew’s church, Rugby. In the 1891 census he was living with his parents and two year old sister at 86 Railway Terrace, Rugby. By 1901 his parents were living in Watford with two daughters, Madge, 12 and Constance, 8. Reginald was a pupil at Bedford County School. He was then educated at Bedford Grammar, which later changed its name to Elstow school, where he was a very keen sportsman. he played Hockey for England, winning a gold medal at the 1908 Olympics, and in the final scored four goals which stood as a record for forty four years. He also played cricket for Warwickshire County Cricket club on fourteen occasions As a middle order batsman. In the 1911 census it states he was an Artistic Metal Worker; the business his father ran in Coventry.

(picture from Great War Forum)

From his officer records in Kew he applied for a commission in the Warwickshire Territorial Force Association on 14th September 1914, in the 4th South Midland Howitzer Brigade. He was residing at 1 Lansdown Place in Coventry, and his occupation was given as stockbroker. On the form it states he had applied for a temporary commission in the regular army but had not been gazetted to date (this was dated 14th August 1914),and he had been for three years in Elstow School Bedford O.T.C.(officer training corps ). Also in the papers it states that Elstow school was previously known as Bedford County School. The papers stated that he was attached to the 5th Rugby Battery off the 243 brigade which became D Howitzer Battery of 241 brigade on the 18th May 1916.

Reginald George Pridmore became Second Lieutenant on 17th September 1914 and from the records of the R.F.A. that he disembarked from England on the 30th March 1915.

He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry during operations as a Forward Observations officer having displayed great coolness under fire. On one occasion he and his lookout man were partly buried during heavy shelling but carried on sending reports. This is believed to be on the 20th October 1916.

Whilst in France, orders were given and the brigade moved to Italy to carry on fitting there. In the supplements to the London Gazette from the 19th March we learn that on 20th Jan 1917, 2nd Lt (Temp Lt) R.G.Pridmore M.C. be acting Capt. From the same publication dated 29th June 1917, 2nd Lt (actg. Capt.) R.G. Pridmore M.C. was to retain the acting rank of Capt. On the 23rd April 1918 Lt. (actg. Capt) R.G.Pridmore M.C. (since killed in action) wa to be acting Major whilst commanding Batts  (5th March 1918.)

From the war diaries, we learn that the brigade were at Arcade and on the 5th March Major R.G.Pridmore took command of C battery 240. Nothing else was reported until the 10th when half yearly recommendations for the King Birthday Honours were submitted. Then on the 13th, batteries did a little firing in the morning. C battery was heavily shelled in the afternoon with 5 or 4 2s and an occasional 11 inch.

His late Battery Commander writes (in the Rugby Advertiser 30th Mar 1918):

He was killed by a direct hit on his position, where he had remained to telephone after sending all his men into safety. As his Commanding Officer for 3 1/2 years, I have never met a more gallant officer or a more cheery companion. In times of stress his unfailing good spirits and total disregard of danger inspired me to carry on and set us all a grand example. He was buried 10 miles from here with full military honours, and there were present the general of the Division, the C.R.A. and every senior officer in the Division who could possibly attend; also 100 N.C.O’s and men of the Rugby Howitzer Battery.

Major R.G.Pridmore was killed & 1 or S Chapman was badly wounded, all batteries of 240 withdrawn from action and went to 5 D.A.W.

In the National Probate Calendar for 1918 reads Pridmore Reginald George of 18 Regent Street Coventry died 13th March 1918 in Italy. Probate London 15th August to George William Art Metal Manufacturer Effects £156 10s 4d,

When he died his comrades added an inscription on the wooden cross which read

“A Most Gallant Sportsman and Comrade“. His name also appears on the Elstow Bedford County School Memorial, and City of Coventry Roll of the fallen. From the Commonwealth War Graves Register I have copied the following

He was buried at Giavera Cemetery Italy Plot 1, Row D, Grave 5

Information from two books by Nigel Mc Creay, The Extinguished Flame, and Final Wicket, and from the National Archives.