Thomas PRITCHARD [c.1878-1944]

Submitted by pritchah on Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:19
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Thomas Pritchard was my paternal grandfather. He is buried in the Stanley Cemetary. My father and I saw his grave when we went out to HK in 1982.

In brief, he came from Pwllheli, north Wales and had a long career at sea. He had served for the Hong Kong and Macao Shipping Line for a while through the 1930s at least (I posted a pic of him with Robert Ho Tung in one of your galleries yesterday) and commanded the steamers Kinshan and Taishan.

He was 66 when he died in 1944, whilst my late father was serviing in north Africa. I don't think he had been home to Wales since the 1930s - his wife, my father and his brother had stayed at home. I think his last visit home was in about 1935 when he brought back a load of furtniture and ornaments from HK. We still have what we call the 'Chinese chest' in our hallway in Conwy!

Whilst captive in Stanley, he wrote the story of his life at sea. This was kept hidden by a friend after my grandfather died, and returned to my father after the camp was liberated. The papers are now in Gwynedd Archives in Caernarfon.

Best regards
Huw Pritchard
Conwy, north Wales

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A quick search for Pritchard at HKGRO, and the first mention of Thomas is in the document "Finding of the Marine Court of Enquiry to enquire into the circumstances attending the collision between the steamship Anjou and the Motor Vessel Wing Hung", which describes him as:

T. PRITCHARD, R.N.R., Lieut.-Commander,
Master, British S.S. Taishan.

It is dated 15th December 1927, so he was already in Hong Kong by then.

Regards, David

His declared closest friend in Camp was  Capt A. L Jones (Block 16/Room 21). His wife Mrs  ME Pritchard was in Wales and believed to have deceased - next of kin thereafter would be Emlyn Pritchard  (son) in UK. Thomas died in Stanley Camp aged 66 from Beri Beri and intestinal obstruction. His billet in Stanley was Block 9 Room 12 . 

Philip Cracknell

That is brilliant David. Many thanks. My dad would have been thrilled to have seen this! He developed quite an obsession with HK and tracing the history of his father's career there. If only the internet had been available to him then.

When I have time and am up and about (getting over a nasty leg injury), I will go over to Gwynedd Archives in Caernarfon as I deposited there some material relating to my grandfather, after my dad's death in 1997.

Many thanks Philip.

Capt AL Jones was, like my paternal grandfather Thomas Pritchard, from north Wales (the Pwllheli area I think). Whilst at Stanley, my grandfather wrote an account of his life at sea. When he died, Capt Jones hid and looked after the manuscript, delivering it to my father (Thomas Emlyn Pritchard) after the war.

There are a couple of copies of this MS, but as far as I recall, the original is in Gwynedd Archives, Caernarfon. When I have time, I'll pop over there to have a look.

Thomas Pritchard's wife died a year or so before him. I have a reference but can't look it up at the moment. She stayed at home in north Wales, whilst my grandfather was in HK. So, my late father Emlyn learned of the death of both his parents whilst on active service.

Best regards


Huw Pritchard

Thanks Huw, I hope you're all recovered soon. It'll be interesting to read anything your grandfather wrote about his time in Hong Kong, and especially his experiences during the wartime years.

Regards, David