Cpl. W. Pratt


UNIT: 2nd Yorkshire Regiment


STATUS: Died of Wounds

DATE OF DEATH: 1st October 1915

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Vermelles British Cemetery, France

AGE: 28

William Pratt was born in Bedale, though at the time of his death he was living at No. 7 New Row, Northallerton. It is not certain whether he was living with his parents, Thomas and Mary Pratt, at this address. If it was so then they appear to have moved after his death as the CWGC records show them as living in the Black Swan Yard.

William enlisted into the army in August 1906 shortly after his 20th birthday. Until then he had been working as a farm servant. He is described as being 5ft 8ins tall with a fresh complexion, light brown hair and blue eyes.

He was wounded on 28th October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres, which makes it safe to assume that he was a pre-war Regular soldier, one of the "Old Contemptibles" of the original British Expeditionary Force which landed in France in August 1914. He was wounded again a year later at the Battle of Loos, but unfortunately this time was unable to recover and died of his wounds, aged 28.

His grieving mother placed the following poem in the Darlington & Stockton Times:

"Though buried in a distant grave,
Amidst the shot and shell,
For country's sake his life he gave,
He stood his trials well.
No matter how we think of him,
His name we often call,
There's nothing left to answer,
But his photo on the wall."

William's brother, Pte. Peter Binks Pratt, had been killed at Ypres in May 1915. Presumably his family requested that the two brothers names be placed together on the Northallerton Memorial, which would explain why William (a Corporal) was not listed with the other NCO's on the Memorial.