Pritchard, William John
No. 19171, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died on Monday 26 October 1914 (aged 19)
Greyabbey Old Cemetery, Co. Down (about middle of cemetery)
Ballywalter and District War Memorial
Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)
Family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Cemetery
In some records his surname is spelt Prichard.
William John Pritchard was born on 22 August 1895 in Greyabbey and he was a son of William and Mary Ann Pritchard (nee Bell) who were married on 3 May 1895 in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour). William Prichard (aged 22) from Greyabbey was a son of William John Pritchard, a stonecutter. Mary Ann Bell (aged 23) from Greyabbey was a daughter of Alex Bell, a labourer.
The Pritchard family lived in the townland of Springvale, Ballywalter.
William Pritchard worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Mary Ann had three children, all of whom were baptised in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church:
William John (born 22 August 1895 in Greyabbey)
Mary Jane (born around 1897/1898)
Annie Elizabeth (born 17 November 1899 in Mountstewart)
William John’s mother, Mary Ann Pritchard (nee Bell), died of cardiac failure (following pernicious anaemia) at Springvale on 23 February 1912 (aged 39).
William John’s father, William, married Mary Jane Kerr on 29 May 1914 in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity). Mary Jane Kerr was a daughter of Hugh Kerr, a labourer.
William and Mary Jane Pritchard (nee Kerr) had at least one child:
Agnes Caroline (born 28 March 1915 in Springvale)
William John’s stepmother, Mary Jane Pritchard (nee Kerr), died on 2 May 1922 (aged 31).
William John’s father, William, married again and he died on 1 April 1934 (aged 60). He was interred in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War William John Pritchard worked as an agricultural labourer. He enlisted in Ballywalter, he was posted to the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and he died on 26 October 1914. He took ill at Clandeboye Camp on Friday 23 October and he was transferred immediately to Holywood Hospital where he died of pneumonia three days later. A firing party of 12 men, together with the men of his own district, attended his funeral on 28 October 1914. Captain George James Bruce and William John Pritchard’s platoon officer, Second Lieutenant K. Morrow, also attended. Captain Bruce was killed in action on 2 October 1918.
Rifleman William John Pritchard is commemorated on Ballywalter and District War Memorial and in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity). He is also commemorated on the family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Cemetery:
W J Pritchard, Rifleman, RIR, 13th Battalion, killed in action 26 October 1914, interred here, son of Mr and Mrs Wm Pritchard, Ballywalter.
It is worth noting as a footnote to this tribute that another William Pritchard from Greyabbey served with the Royal Irish Rifles (No. 19170) during the Great War. He was a son of John Pritchard and while he was on active service he married Annie Brown on 22 January 1917 in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church. This William Pritchard died on 10 June 1939 (aged 46) and was buried in Greyabbey Old Cemetery in the Brown family grave. It is this William Pritchard whose photograph appears in a montage of pictures entitled:
Ulster Division RIR Heroes
1914 – 1918
Who fought in the great European War