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YHA WWI Soldier Finally Laid to Rest
    02/05/2013 11:26

WWI Soldier Finally Laid to Rest

In an incredible show of a family's dedication, former chorister of St Paul's Choir School, (now YHA London St Pauls) and WWI soldier, Lieutenant John Harold Pritchard was re-interred in the HAC Cemetery at Ecoust-St Mein near Arras on 23rd April 2013.

Relatives of John, who was killed on May 15, 1917, during an enemy attack near Bullecourt, while serving with the NAC's 2nd Battalion, attended the ceremony, where the men were accorded full military honours. John's remains were found in a field near Bullecourt in 2009 and had laid undiscovered for nearly 90 years. Lt Pritchard was identified by a silver bracelet bearing his initials.

Lt Pritchard was born in Wandsworth, southwest London, in 1886, was the eldest of three boys in a family of seven.

His Great Niece Janet said "He played the piano and sang as an adult, and won music prizes from the school during his time there. Two generations on, I and a cousin of mine are professional singers and will be singing at the burial. We discovered that he sang a particular hymn to his mother on the final night before he went back to France for the last time, and we, along with our husband's who both sing too, will sing a four part harmony version of this at the end of the official service over his grave."

Janet came in to YHA London St Pauls to take photographs of the military honours board in the meeting room at the hostel which pays tribute to the former choristers who lost their lives in the two world wars. She also took photographs of the former playground on the roof and plans to use these in a book which will commemorate John's life.

 

By Harry Hosteller

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