Harry Price was the son of Susan Price living in Church Row, Thame. He was born in early 1875 and baptised at St Mary’s Church on 30th May that year, together with his elder sister Lizzie. In 1877 his mother married Henry Phillips and both Lizzie and Harry assumed the surname Phillips. Henry and Susan went on to have a further five children.
In September 1893, reverting back to his birth name, Harry Price enlisted with the 3rd Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry as a militiaman. Then in February 1896 he transferred under a short service attestation to the Royal Engineers and served with them as a driver in the Boer War in South Africa from October 1899, returning to England in April 1900.
He was awarded the Queen’s (South Africa) Medal with Cape Colony Clasp, together with a war gratuity payment of £5. In 1901 he was based at Aldershot, Hampshire before being placed on the army reserve list in May 1902, on which he remained until 1912.
Harry Phillips married Margaret Annie Ward from Islip on 22nd February 1902 and they went on to have three sons and one daughter. In 1911 he was a general labourer living in Windmill Road, Thame with his wife and children. He served two short custodial jail sentences in 1912/13 and his wife was subsequently granted a separation order from him due to his non-payment of maintenance and violent behaviour.
At the start of the First World War, as a National Reservist, he enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (Regt No 8935) but then transferred to the Hampshire Regiment. On 2nd June 1915 he arrived in France and entrained to Belgium as part of a reinforcing draft to the 1st Battalion which had incurred heavy casualties in the Second Battle of Ypres the previous month.
On 6th July the Battalion was committed to an attack near Hulls Farm, west of the Yser Canal. Over the next few days, attacks being followed by German counter-attacks and heavy shelling, the Battalion
once again suffered heavily and on 9th July Harry, age 40, was one of 13 men from the Battalion lost that day.
Initially he was listed as missing and it was not until a year later in July 1916 that the authorities notified his family of his presumed death.
16303 Private Harry Price, Hampshire Regiment, has no known grave and is commemorated on The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. He is remembered in Thame on the War Memorial and on All Saints’ Church Memorial Board.
* Note on address:
The census returns for 1881 and 1891, and also his enlistment record for the Oxfordshire Light Infantry place Harry Price (Phillips) living at No 10 Church Row. Following the post war conversion of the row of twelve cottages into six, No. 10 Church Row became part of what is now No. 5 Church Road.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium on 30th October 2015 by David & Jenny Dodds (Thame Museum)