This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Shaun Carter, nephew of Harold Pritchard.
Harold Pritchard came from a working class family in Walsall, Staffordshire, where many of his family worked in the steel factories. Harold worked for Rubery, Owen & Co. Ltd which made vehicle parts.
Harold was recruited into the Army on 1 December 1941 and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Four of his brothers were already serving in the Army. Harold was 18 years old when he joined up. A year later he became part of the 1/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Three weeks after the D-Day landings, his Battalion landed in Normandy on 27 June 1944. We are not exactly sure of Harold’s movements in Normandy, but we do know his Battalion was in St. Contest on 9 July, and 10 miles south-west of Caen on 16 July.
The following day on 17th July was a hard day for his Battalion. The day started with an attack on German defences resulting in the injury and loss of several soldiers from the Regiment. More soldiers died due to both enemy shelling and also British shelling during a friendly-fire incident. On the evening, the Battalion Headquarters was bombed resulting in several casualties.
Sometime during the 17th July, Harold was injured with a penetrating wound of the chest. He was moved to a field hospital in Bayeux where he died 10 days later on 27th July 1944 aged 21 years. He was buried in the war cemetery at Bayeux.
It was his sister-in-law who received the telegram informing the family of his death. Harold was post-humously awarded three medals. Every year on 27th July, we remember Harold and lay a poppy memorial for him here in Britain. His other serving brothers all survived the war, Harold was the only fallen from the Pritchard family.
Army • PRIVATE
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
DIED 27 July 1944
SERVICE NO. 5126331