In memory of William Pritchard
William J Pritchard was one of the sons of John and Hannah Pritchard of Minffordd, Llanrug.
After his schooling he started work in the slate industry. The 1911 census records that William, aged 18, was a slate dresser. His brothers Evan, Johnnie, Owen and Robert were also quarrymen, while their father John was a farmer. This illustrates how the work available in the slate industry helped to sustain a larger population in North-west Wales than farming alone would have done.
William was a faithful member of Llanrug’s Calvinistic Methodist chapel. He joined the army in spring 1916. He was with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers before transferring to the South Wales Borderers.
He was wounded in the trenches within about a month of his arrival at the Western Front. He was taken to the 36th Casualty Clearing Station, where he died of wounds on 26 October 1916. He was 24 years old and is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, in the Somme region of France.
His death prompted the newspaper Y Genedl to question why some soldiers were being sent to the front line after just a few months’ training, while thousands of others had spent almost two years in training but had not been sent to the front.