It is a memorial panel of substance, size and laden with emotion. For Edward Guy Pritchett was indeed all of the above; a Lieutenant in the Herefordshire Regiment, a husband, a father. Attached to the 6th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He went missing on the 16th May 1918 and was then reported killed in action. He was 32 years old.
Ashperton is a pretty little village a few miles north of Ledbury in Herefordshire. The kind of place where you could sit quite peacefully staring at the clouds and nobody would bother you. Peaceful, calming and rural.
The open door of the church this day beckons me forth and I gaze around. There is a very interesting plaque to four war dead not of the 20th century, but of the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimea War of 1854-1855.
Edward Guy Pritchett
But not far away is a very personal farewell to one of Ashperton’s fallen of World War One. His name was Edward Guy Pritchett.
In loving memory of Edward Guy Pritchett Lieut. Herefords Regt attached 6th K. S. L. I. Of Pridewood, Ashperton, only son of Edward and Mary Eleanor Pritchett of The Castle, Munsley Killed in action in France May 16th 1918, aged 31 Leaving a widow and a six year old daughter “And should you cry ‘what of the lost and gone?’ Shall all their memory be buried deep, Their sacrifice in victory be forgot? Peace, doubting heart, for see, where soft they sleep, A starry heaven of forget-me-not!”
It is a memorial panel of substance, size and laden with emotion. For Edward Guy Pritchett was indeed all of the above; a Lieutenant in the Herefordshire Regiment, a husband, a father.
He enlisted in 1917 and went to France in October 1917. He was attached to the 6th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He went missing on the 16th May 1918 and was then reported killed in action. He was 32 years old.
He had attended school at Waynflete and Clifton College in Bristol. He was living in Ashperton in rural north-eastern Herefordshire as a bailiff and farmer. Born in Munsley, not far from Ashperton, he had married Agnes, the daughter of the Rector of Putley, Frederick William Freemantle Bishop. When he died he did indeed leave a six year old daughter.
In May 1918, the 6th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry was in action around St Quentin following the grand Spring Offensive by the alliance members in March 1918. They had been deep in action, the previous November, they had been around Cambrai.
He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in northern France along with nearly 35,000 other British, South African and New Zealand soldiers missing with no known grave.
There is a more modern war memorial tablet on the wall of the church. Pritchett’s name lies alongside thirteen other names; as well as three names from Second of the World Wars. The unreturned army of Ashperton. The boys of Herefordshire.