Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Of the thousands of Portsmouth people who died in the Great War very few had attained a rank as high as Lieutenant-Colonel. One who did was Osborn Brace Pritchard who had followed his father and grandfather into the armed services and, like them, became a senior officer.
The grandfather was Samuel Pritchard (b. 1787) who, at the 1851 census was described as a Captain RN Retd. He was living with his wife Mary Ann (b. 1798) at South End House, Green Lane, Southsea with their four children Mary Ann, Julia, Edward Brace and Ada who were aged 34, 29, 15 and 13 respectively.
Shortly after the 1851 census Edward Brace joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry. The 1861 census records that he was then a Lieutenant, serving at sea. In 1865 he married Margaret Rosamond Osborn at Arundel where she had been born in 1841. Margaret was the youngest of the three daughters of William and Mary Osborn, William being a successful brewer. In 1867 Margaret gave birth to the couple's first child Beatrice Maud in Gosport who was followed two years later by Osborn Brace, born in Co. Donegal, Ireland, where presumably Edward had been posted. The 1871 census shows the family living on Stoke Road, Gosport.
By the 1881 census the family were back in Portsmouth, living on Victoria Road, but Edward is then described as a widower despite there seeming to be no record of Margaret Rosamund's death. At some point in the following ten years Edward moved to 7 Taswell Road, Southsea by which time both of the children had moved out, Osborn Brace having probably joined the Welsh Regiment. In 1892 Edward re-married, his second wife being Elizabeth Sarah Cotton (b. 1842), and together they moved to 19 St. David's Road, Southsea.
Meanwhile Osborn Brace's career was in the ascendant as by 1911 he had been promoted to Major and was Commanding Officer at Cardiff Barracks. There is little online information about his career after the Great War broke out except that he was severely wounded at Ypres and invalided home. After a period of hospitalisation he returned to the front but was sent home again. Being apart from his regiment in the midst of war must have been difficult for him and may well have contributed to a state of mind during which he shot himself with his service revolver. That was probably not the whole story though as he left a note saying that he was "getting paralysed and [his] brain was going". These may have been symptoms of shellshock.
Further Information
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Lieutenant Colonel Osborn Brace Pritchard, Welsh Regiment, date of death, 27/11/1916, aged 48, buried at West Norwood Cemetery (Grave ref: 121.17592.).
Osborn Pritchard is commemorated on the St. Jude's Church WW1 Memorial but not on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
August 2014