Cpl. J. Prince



UNIT: Royal Marine Light Infantry

NUMBER: PO/15071

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 31st May 1916

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Portsmouth Naval Memorial

AGE: 22

Corporal James Prince was the son of Capt. W. Prince of South Parade, Northallerton and the brother of Lt. William Prince whose name also appears on the Northallerton Memorial.

The local Newspaper, the North Riding and Northallerton News, appears to have arranged for local men to be sent Christmas presents for Christmas 1915. Shortly after receiving his, James Prince wrote a letter of thanks to the editor, which was published in the paper:

"Dear Sir,
Many thanks for your very welcome parcel. It has just arrived in splendid time for Christmas and I cannot quite express how very acceptable it is. We are at present in the North Sea and having on the whole a rather monotonous time. I do not know how long this will continue so, but I sincerely hope that before long we shall have a little more exciting time."

James would not have much longer to wait. On 31st May 1916 the British and German fleets met in the North Sea at the Battle of Jutland, the only major naval battle of the War. After fighting throughout the day in a series of inconclusive engagements, the German High Seas Fleet managed to slip past the British under cover of darkness and return to their home port. The British suffered the greater material damage, but the Germans never ventured out of port for the rest of the War, and controversy has raged about who won the Battle ever since.

All this controversy was of no consequence to 22 year-old James. H.M.S. Black Prince was last heard of when a wireless signal was received from her between 8.00 and 9.00 pm. It is believed that she encountered the German fleet as they were slipping through the British net under cover of darkness and was sunk. James' wish for excitement had been granted, but tragically it was the last he would ever know.