Percy Lewis PRYCE (Price)
Rank: Private
Number: 45833
Unit: 16th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 23 March 1918
Age: 25
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

Records of Percy's birth and the 1901 Census indicate his surname was spelt "Price". However, military records and his inscription on the War Memorial have it as Pryce.

The family history website, FreeBMD, notes that he was born between October and December 1892 and the Census lists him as living in Hazel Grove in 1901.

Nothing further is known of his private life. His service number suggests that he enlisted into the 16th Cheshires in early to mid 1916. The Battalion's original members were all men of short stature who had previously been rejected by the army as being below the regulation height of 5' 3". Because of their determination to fight, these units became known as Bantam battalions. However, by 1916, replacements troops of all heights were being assigned to the Bantams.

In February 1918, the 16th Cheshires was disbanded in France as part of a re-organisation of army structures forced by the continual casualties during the war. Most men were fully re-assigned to other units, but those not immediately needed were formed into reserve units known as Entrenching Battalions. Percy and some others from the 16th Cheshires, including Herbert Goostrey, were formed into the 12th Entrenching Battalion along with men from the 14th Gloucesters, 23rd Manchesters and 20th Lancashire Fusiliers.

The intent was that the men only be deployed in the rear areas on defensive work, so that they would not become depleted.  However, the German Army launched an overwhelming attack on British positions along a 40 mile front on 21 March 1918. Within hours, the Tommies were in full-scale retreat. Many were dead or wounded. Many more had been captured. Further strategic withdrawals were made and, on 23 March, Percy and his comrades found themselves in the front line near Tergnier-Quessy (about 35 kilometres south east of the French city of Amiens). Not surprisingly, there are few records of these days and it is not possible to know how Herbert or Percy were killed. In the chaos, it is most unlikely that their comrades would have been able to give them a proper burial and this, no doubt, accounts for why they have no known grave.

   
           
   
     
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