Rank: Private 10438
Regiment: 8th Bn., Devonshire Regiment
Died: died 8 October 1915 Age 17
Newton Poppleford War Memorial
Other Memorial: Boulogne Easter Cemetery [Google]
PDF Download: PRING Alfred Thomas
The Pring family was well represented in Newton Poppleford. It is a fairly common Devonian name and indeed an Albert George Pring is shown on the village war memorial as dying in the Second World War; he was probably a cousin of Alfred.
The name of William was frequently used in the Pring family. Alf’s father and grandfather were both called William. Grandfather Pring farmed Parson’s Farm but Alfred’s father lived in Station Road and was one of the village blacksmiths.
His mother was Emily (nee Selleck). Alfred's cousin, John Sellek, also died in the Great War. Emily was 31 when she was faced with a problem. As the mother of five children, her husband died in February 1907 at the age of 33. In the 1911 Census she is shown as living with her three children and being the owner of a blacksmith’s business employing 52-year-old Samuel Holmes as a “blacksmith’s servant” and with her eldest son (also called William) as a “student blacksmith” at the age of 14. Bill was the village blacksmith and farrier between the wars, by which time he had moved his business to 10 Oak Tree Villas.
Alfred is shown in this census as a “scholar”, presumably at the village school. Emily has also taken in an elderly boarder, a Mr Bolt, who worked in the village as a market gardener. So it was from this crowded household that Alf volunteered to join the Army one day late in 1914 or early 1915.
Like so many of his schoolboy friends, he joined the Devonshire Regiment, 8th Battalion, in Exeter. On the 8th October 1915 (less than a year later) he died of his wounds, having been carried from the battlefield in Flanders. He was 17 years old and is buried in France at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
* Required fields