Alfred Priday, maternal relative: Battles of the Somme, July 1916

Alfred was born on 4th May 1885 at Hempstead, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England and died on 19th of July 1916 during the Battles of the Somme.

Alfred was one of my first cousins, 3 times removed (on my maternal side) and the actual lineage is as follows:

  • Alfred Priday (1885 - 1916)- is my 1st cousin 3x removed
  • Thomas Priday (1842 - 1917)- father of Alfred Priday
  • Nathaniel Priday (1794 - 1870)- father of Thomas Priday
  • Nathaniel Priday (1830 - 1900)- son of Nathaniel Priday
  • Joseph Priday (1853 - 1933)- son of Nathaniel Priday
  • Joseph Priday (1888 - 1954)- son of Joseph Priday - my maternal side grandfather
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009)- daughter of Joseph Priday - my mother
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Alfred Priday's father, Thomas Priday (1842-1917) was born in Hardwicke, Gloucestershire & died in the city of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. Thomas was an Agricultural labourer and his mother was a Poultry dealer - he worked on the family lands for much of his life.

Thomas married Eliza Ann Knight (1851-1915) born in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire & died in the city of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England at St John The Baptist church, Gloucester (city), Gloucestershire on 31st May 1868, Eliza Ann was just 16 years old. Eliza had already given birth to their child before the wedding took place, so its probable a shotgun was involved.

Thomas & Eliza Ann set up home initially with Thomas's mother Hester and Eliza was described as a Dressmaker. However, by the 1881 Census they had moved to 3 Victoria Cottages, Elmore Lane, Hempstead, Gloucester. Thomas was by now a Brick Yard labourer and they had a growing family that eventually would include:

  • Tom Nathaniel Priday (1867–1947) - born before wedlock
  • Joseph William Priday (1871–1936)  
  • Charles Knight Priday (1873–1947)
  • Ellen Emily Priday (1876–1911)
  • Harry Priday (1878–1953)
  • William Henry Priday (1879–)  
  • John Priday (1880–1953)
  • Joseph William Priday (1880–1914)
  • Olive Blanche Priday (1882–)
  • Albert John Priday (1884–1917) - also died in WW1
  • Margaret Susan Priday (1884–1964)
  • Alfred Priday (1885–1916)
  • Mary Elisabeth Priday [Miney] (1887–)
  • Raymond Priday (1889–1974)
  • Arthur Priday (1890–)
  • Annie [Nancy] Priday (1891–1983)
  • Arthur Priday (1892–)

Alfred Priday was at 16 a Bricklayers labourer & living at 3 Severndale Cottages, Rea Lane, Hempstead. Gloucester, Gloucestershire with his brothers Joseph & Harry.

Alfred married  (Louisa) Louie Cale (1889-1983) in Gloucester during July 1905 when he was 20 years old and still a Bricklayers labourer. Alffed & Louie set up home at Hook Lane, Newent, Gloucestershire, England where they raised a daughter, Hilda Jojce (1912-2000).

In 1914, at the age ofd 29 he enlisted in the Army and joined the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment as a private with service number 16129. The 1st Battalion was a fulltime Army formation and not a Territorial Force.

His Regiment

The Gloucestershire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed "The Glorious Glosters", the regiment carried more battle honours on their regimental colours than any other British Army line regiment.

The origins of the regiment lie in the regiment formed in Portsmouth in 1694 by Colonel John Gibson. This was named the 28th Regiment of Foot in 1751 and renamed the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot in 1782. After the Childers reforms, the regiment amalgamated with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the two-battalion Gloucestershire Regiment on 1 July 1881.

During the course of WW1, the regiment raised  a further 23 battalions (many of them Territoriial Forces), seeing service on the Western Front, Gallipoli, Macedonia, the Middle East and Italy.

1st Battalion
August 1914 - in Bordon as part of 3rd Brigade in 1st Division.
Landed at Le Havre, France, 13 August 1914.

1st Division
One of the first British formations to move to France, the 1st Division remained on the Western Front throughout the war. It took part in most of the major actions, including:

1914

  • The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the Rearguard Affair of Etreux
  • The Battle of the Marne
  • The Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne heights and the Action of Chivy
  • First Battle of Ypres

On 31 October 1914, at the climax of the First Battle of Ypres, Divisional headquarters at Hooge was hit by enemy shellfire, whereupon the Divisional Commander (Major-General Lomax) was severely wounded and the GSO1 (Col. F.W.Kerr) was killed.

1915

  • Winter Operations 1914-15
  • The Battle of Aubers
  • The Battle of Loos

1916contalmaison map 1916

  • The Battle of Albert*
  • The Battle of Bazentin*
  • The Battle of Pozieres*
  • The Battle of Flers-Courcelette*
  • The Battle of Morval*

The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917

  • The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
  • The Division was warned to prepare for an operation along the Belgian coast (Operation Hush) in Summer 1917 and several mobile units were attached in readiness. The operation was cancelled when the initial assaults in the Third Battle of Ypres failed to progress as expected.
  • The Second Battle of Passchendaele - phases of the Third Battle of Ypres

1918

  • The Battle of Estaires***
  • The Battle of Hazebrouck***
  • The Battle of Bethune***

The battles marked *** are phases of the Battles of the Lys

  • The Battle of Drocourt-Queant (a phase of the Second Battles of Arras 1918)
  • The Battle of Epehy++
  • The Battle of the St Quentin Canal++
  • The Battle of Beaurevoir++

The battles marked ++ are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Linecontalmaison 1916

  • The Battle of the Selle
  • The Battle of the Sambre, in which the Division fought the Passage of the Sambre-Oise Canal

The Division was selected to advance into Germany and form part of the Occupation Force at Bonn.

Alfred Priday died during the Battles of the Somme in 1916 at a place called Contalmaison where there was both a Coppice & a Chateau and there were two offensives as part of the overall operation to clear the Germans out of the village of Contalmaison. This was an action during The Battle of Pozieres.

Contalmaison is about three miles north-east of Albert and around half a mile south of Pozieres, France The village was an objective for the 34th Division on the 1st of July 1916, but it took many more days of hard fighting before the 8th and 9th Green Howards of the 23rd Division were able to take it at 4.30 p.m. on the 10th of July.

contalmaison archThe village was reached on the 1st July, 1916, by small parties of the 34th Division. It was stormed by the 23rd Division on the 7th July, and some men of the Northumberland Fusiliers taken four days earlier were released; but it was lost the same afternoon. It was not finally captured until the 8th and 9th Yorkshire Regiment cleared it on the 10th.

After the village was taken in July 1916, German dugouts in the cellars of the chateau were used as an Advanced Dressing Station. These dugouts were very impressive to the British; down flights of steps and described as 'marvellous and elaborate'.

However, it was lost again in March, 1918, and recaptured by the 38th (Welsh) Division on the evening of the following 24th August. The underground fortifications made by the enemy before 1916 played an important part in the defence of the village.

Alfred Priday was Killed in action on the 19th July 1916 whilst defending Contalmaison Coppice/Chateau site.

Cemetery

alfred pridayAlfred Priday is buried in the Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery.

The cemetery was begun by fighting units on the evening of the 14th July, 1916, and used from September, 1916 to March, 1917 by Field Ambulances. A few burials were made in Plot I, Rows B and C, in August and September, 1918. Graves were added after the Armistice by concentrations from the battlefields of the Somme and the Ancre. 18 German graves and one French were removed to other burial grounds.

There are now nearly 300, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 40 are unidentified and a special memorial is erected to one soldier from Australia known to be buried among them.

The cemetery covers an area of 1,349 square metres and is enclosed by a flint and rubble wall.