James William Prior


James William Prior
12 April 1883


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Bedfordshire Regiment
1st Bn.


1914 (Mons) Star, British War and Victory Medals


Enclosure No.4 XI. AAA. 32.



UK Memorials

Bishop's Stortford Town Memorial, Working Men’s Club / Village Hall, Memorial, Thorley, Not on the Much Hadham memorials St James’ Church Memorial, Thorley

Pre War

James William Prior was born on 12 Apr 1883 in Bush Wood Cottage, Much Hadham, the son of James and Anne Prior, and baptised on 8 Jul 1883 in Much Hadham. On the 1891 Census the family were living at Much Hadham but had moved to Thorley House Farm by 1901, where his father was a shepherd and James was an agricultural labourer.  He married Fanny May Osborne in 1910 and on the 1911 Census he and his wife were living at 20 Middle Row, Bishop's Stortford.  His occupation was given as Labourer for a Corn Merchant  and he was in the Army Reserve.  They had two children, Annie May and Lilian Grace. Before the War James was employed by Messrs. Philip Church & Son of the Swan Wharf, Bishops Stortford. 

Wartime Service

Being on the Reserve, James was mobilised on August 4th 1914, he re-enlisted at Hockerill, Herts and embarked for France on the S.S. Oronsa, on 15th August 1914. 

In October, the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment was near Hooge. They suffered several casualties during the month, however, none were reported in the Regiment's war diary on the 19th. The Bedfordshire Regiment War Diary: 15th - 18th November 1914  reported constant intermittent shelling with only mild attacks at various parts of the line with 3 killed and 7 wounded. James was killed on November 19th 1914. A letter from one of his comrades, Company Master Master Sergeant O. H. Perkins said: "Private Prior was killed at Ypres by a German ricochet bullet in the trenches on Nov. 19th last, death being instantaneous. Poor Chap, he was an excellent soldier, one of the best. He was one of the gallant men, who was in the bayonet charge at Ypres & could account for many of the enemy." He was the first Thorley Soldier to fall.

Additional Information

www.friends-stjames.org His widow received a £5 war gratuity and pay owing of £5 15s 6d. She later married Percy Livermore on 9 July 1916 and lived at 44 Oak Street, Bishop's Stortford. His wife, Mrs F H Prior (the Livermore) of 44 Oak Street, Bishop's Stortford, Herts. ordered the inscription for his headstone: "GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN".


Brenda Palmer
Malcolm Lennox, “Lest We Forget – Much Hadham 1914-18” by Richard Maddams (Much Hadham Forge Museum), John E. I. Procter (Rector of Thorley), Bill Hardy, Philip Hargrave - www.friends-stjames.org, Jonty Wild