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Thomas James Price (1878-1915)

Company Quartermaster-Sergeant in the 8th Battalion DLI

This includes information contributed by pupils at the North Durham Academy.

Thomas James Price was born in Glamorgan, Wales on 29 January 1878 to Henry and Ann Price. It is difficult to follow the Price family through census records but from Thomas’ service records it is known he had at least three brothers and two sisters, along with four half-brothers.

Following an education at Albert Road School in Portsmouth, Thomas at some point moved to the North East. In 1901 he was a boarder in the Smith household in the Framwellgate area of Durham and worked as a plumber in lead. During his time as a plumber in Durham, Thomas worked both for Messrs. Laidler and Sons, an electrical engineer company; and at Louisa Colliery in South Moor.

Alongside him in the Smith household in 1901 was living Matilda MA Smith, the oldest of the Smith family daughters. Two years later, on 5 September 1903 at St. Oswald’s Church in Durham, Thomas married Matilda. The couple went on to have one daughter, born in 1904, followed by two sons. In 1911 the family were living in South Moor.

From 1895 Thomas served in a volunteer brigade before transferring to the territorials. Thomas attended yearly training camps with the 8th Durham Light Infantry (DLI) and it was whilst the battalion was training in Conway that war broke out. Thomas was ranked as a sergeant in the 8th DLI at this time, before being promoted to acting Company Quartermaster-Sergeant on 4 March 1915.

As part of the 8th Battalion DLI Thomas began his service in France on 19 April 1915. The battalion was soon involved in the fighting at Ypres where they suffered heavy casualties. Thomas was reported missing on 26 April, only a week after his arrival in France. He was later presumed to have died on or since that day.

Thomas appears on the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, available on the ancestry website. This reports Thomas as a talented marksman winning trophies both in civilian life and within his regiment. Captain F. G. Harvey of the 8th Battalion DLI described Thomas as “a true soldier and one of the keenest men in the battalion”.

Sadly Thomas’ wife Mathilda died a few years after Thomas on 22 June 1918, leaving their three children orphans. Their two sons, aged 11 and eight at the time of Mathilda’s death were placed in an orphanage in Staffordshire. Thomas is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial and on several memorials in both Craghead and South Moor.

Civil Parish: South Moor

Birth date: 29-Jan-1878

Death date: 26-Apr-1915

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 9 Goodwin Road, Portsmouth (1881 Census)
9 Cooperative Terrace, Framwellgate, Durham (1901 Census)
21 Tempest Terrace, South Moor (1911 Census)
84 Poplar Street, South Moor (Service Records)

Education: Albert Road Board School, Portsmouth

Organisation membership: Durham City Rifle Club
Craghead Rifle Club

Employment: Plumber (1901, 1911 Census)
Messrs. Laidler and Sons, New Elvet, Durham (De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour)
Louisa Colliery, Stanley (De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour)

Family: Parents: Henry W. Price, Ann R. Price
Siblings: Philip Price, William Price, Charles Price, W. Price, M. Price
Step-siblings: J. A Smith, R Smith, T Smith, G. V. Smith
Spouse: Matilda M. A Price nee Smith
Children: Mabel Agnes Price, Thomas Smith Price, Henry Victor Price

Military service:

8th DLI
Company Quartermaster-Sergeant
Regimental Number 8

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Memorial Park 1914-18 1939-45 Korea 1951, South Moor
Book of Remembrance 1914-18 DLI, Durham Cathedral
Statue 1914-18 1939-45 Roadside, Craghead
ROH 1914-18, St. Thomas’ Church, Craghead
Plaque 8th DLI Drill Hall, Durham
Battalion History 1/8th DLI 1793-1927

Gender: Male

Contributed by Grace, Jake, Leah, Bradley from North Durham Academy | Fiona Johnson

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