Loraine Prince

KOYLIPrivate 20248, 1st Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, killed in action 8th May 1915, aged 21

Born at Leeds in 1894, Lorrie was the oldest of the four children of Walter and Emily Prince (nee Oughtibridge). His father was from of Kimberly, Nottinghamshire and his mother from Crowle. His fatherĀ  died in the early 1900’s and by 1911 the widowed Mrs Prince had returned to Crowle with her children and she ran a sweet shop in Cross Street. Lorrie worked for the Peat Moss Litter Company as a pony driver on the Moors.

Lorrie enlisted with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Doncaster in November or December 1914 and was posted to France to join the 1st KOYLI on 16th March 1915.

After several weeks of fighting and seriously weakened by the German use of their deadly new chlorine gas, by 8th May 1915 the British had retreated to the outskirts of Ypres. The 1st KOYLI were with them, in newly dug trenches on the eastern slopes of Frezenburg Ridge.

At 5.30am on the morning of 8th May a red rocket went up in the German lines and became the signal for the beginning of what was described as a ‘tornado of high explosive’ launched on the British soldiers in their hastily constructed trenches. Shells were screaming overhead in their hundreds and the soldiers were literally drenched in shrapnel for four long hours.

The fusillade caused massive devastation to the soldiers, none more so that the 1st KOYLI, sited with the rest of 83rd Brigade in the most vulnerable trenches on the forward slopes of Frezenburg Ridge. The survivors had then to repel two subsequent infantry assaults, but were overrun by a third forcing the remaining troops to fall back. By afternoon a two mile gap had been punched in the British line.

Lorrie Prince was among the hundreds of British casualties that day. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.