Plaque unveiled in honour of war hero

Published: Monday, 16th April 2018

VC unveiling

A Maidonian war hero who received the nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield has been commemorated with a memorial plaque at Kidwells Park, Maidenhead.

Captain Thomas Pryce was posthumously bestowed with a Victoria Cross for leading his embattled platoon during a bloody campaign at Vieux-Berquin in northern France during the First World War.

A hundred years to the day since he disappeared on the battlefield Captain Pryce was once again remembered when guests including Prime Minister Theresa May, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Cllr John Lenton and Lieutenant Colonel Simon Soskin from Grenadier Guards gathered to pay tribute.

At the ceremony on Friday 13 April the commemorative stone bearing his name was unveiled at Kidwells Park and blessed by Rev Will Stileman, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead, before Captain Pryce’s grandson Michael May gave a short reading on behalf of his family.

Mayor, Cllr John Lenton, said: “We will never forget the sacrifices given by previous generations to allow us to live free lives. The brave actions of those such as Captain Thomas Pryce serve as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by our forebears.

“It was an honour to mark the centenary of Captain Pryce’s courageous stand and help unveil this reminder of his life and legacy. We will continue to pay tribute to those who fought and died and remain committed to supporting our armed forces today through our work to support serving troops, veterans and their families while celebrating the richness they bring to our community.”

Michael May, Captain Pryce’s grandson, said: “Forty descendants of Thomas Pryce gathered at Kidwells Park to remember him. They travelled from America, Australia, Holland and Ireland with their families to remember the bravery and sacrifice of their grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather.

“His name continues to live on and this lasting memorial will be a reminder to those that live in Maidenhead, visitors and future generations of the Pryce family.

“On behalf of all the family I wish to offer my sincere thanks to the Royal Borough for choosing to honour Thomas Pryce in this manner.”

Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP, the Rt Hon Theresa May, said: “This commemoration marked a particularly special occasion where we paid tribute to a member of our own community, Captain Thomas Tannatt Pryce, who so bravely gave his life for the freedoms we enjoy today. It was an honour to unveil this memorial which will be a constant reminder of the courage he displayed for his family, our community and for generations to come.”

On 13 April 1918, following two days of fierce fighting, Captain Pryce led the last 17 men of his platoon in a bayonet charge after running out of ammunition. He was last seen engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.

In his VC citation Captain Pryce’s leadership is said to have helped his beleaguered unit maintain their position and retaliate against numerous offences. He and his comrades’ efforts are credited with holding the advancing Germans from breaching the British line.

Captain Pryce has no known grave but is remembered on a variety of memorials, including being named on the war memorial outside the Town Hall in St Ives Road.

Born in Holland in 1886 Captain Pryce moved to Maidenhead with his wife Margaret Fordham in 1912 and lived in Craufurd Lodge in Gringer Hill. Margaret remained in Maidenhead after the war where she raised their three daughters Rosalie, Violet and Pauline and stayed in the same family house until her death in the 1980s.

More articles in the news archive