14th August 1916

Stanley Theodore Pryce was killed on 14th August 1916, serving as a Rifleman with the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade. Born in Knowle on 15th July 1893, and baptised at Knowle parish church the following month,  he was the ninth of 12 children born to parents John (a coachman) and Marie (née Dieudonné). Marie was a French national, who was born in Carentan in Normandy. It’s not known when she moved to England but she and John married in Oswestry in 1879, when they were both aged 21.

The couple set up home in Oswestry and lived there until about 1887. By 1891, John & Marie had moved with their five surviving children (one son, John Arthur, died in 1882, aged 1) to South Lodge, Umberslade, where John was working as a coachman.  By 1901, they had moved to School Lane, Shirley, having been at Knowle from at least 1893 until 1898.

The family was still in Shirley in 1911, living at Oakfield Villas. 17-year-old Stanley wasn’t with his parents but was boarding in Coventry and working as an assistant to a butcher. He seems to have returned to the family home by the time he enlisted in the Army on 7th July 1915, giving his age at the time as 21 years 355 days and his trade as a butcher. He joined the regiment in Winchester on the following day, and embarked for France on 26th October 1915, joining the battalion on 6th November 1915.

Of his six surviving brothers (a seventh had died in 1882, aged one), three are known also to have served in the First World War – John Alfred Pryce (1884-1941) was a Private in the Army Service Corps; Francois Xavier Pryce (1886-1978) was a Private in the Royal Welch Fusiliers; and the youngest brother, Septimus Harcell Pryce (1897-1917), was a Sergeant in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Two of the other brothers, Harold Caddock Pryce (born 1891) and Alfred Dieudonne Pryce (born 1887) emigrated to Australia on 9th October 1914, sailing to Freemantle, Western Australia. Harold gave his occupation as a clerk, and Alfred as a baker. The ship’s passenger list gives their intention of making Australia their permanent place of residence.

However, Harold seems to have returned to England. He sailed Third Class from Freemantle to London in September 1923, giving his intended address as Oakfield Villa, School Road, Shirley and England as his intended permanent place of residence. He married in Handsworth in 1924, at which time he was a farmer living in Gloucestershire. He died in Gloucestershire in 1980.

Stanley Theodore Pryce was killed in action on 14th August 1916 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial as well as locally on Shirley War Memorial.

The Pryce family are known to have continued living at Oakfield Villa(s), School Road, Shirley until at least 1931, as this was given as the residence of Marie Elizabeth Pryce in probate records. John Pryce appears to have died in 1929, aged 69.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

3 thoughts on “14th August 1916

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  1. Dear Tracey
    Absolutely thrilled to discover this posting – as Stanley T Pryce was son of my Great Grandmother, Marie (Dieudonne) Pryce. Have been researching family ancestry….wanted to find out if “Oakfield Villa” still stands in School Rd, Shirley and to which part of Australia his brothers were heading?

    1. Glad it’s of interest – will see what we can find out about Oakfield Villas and will let you know!

      I have found out a little more about the brothers – they arrived in Freemantle, Western Australia in 1914, and Harold returned to England in 1923, living the rest of his life in Gloucestershire. I’ve updated the post with this information. We haven’t yet found any trace of Alfred Dieudonne Pryce after 1914, though. There is a death of an Alfred D. Pryce in Oswestry in 1925, but this is Alfred David Pryce so would seem to be a different person. We’ll keep looking and let you know if we find anything else. Tracey

      1. After some expert sleuthing by a local historian in Shirley, we think that the Pryce family lived at what is now number 36 School Road. This is based on going through 1911 census returns and the 1939 Register – please let me know if you want me to email our workings out so that you can double-check. Hope this helps, Tracey.

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