Sport Remembers The Battle of the Somme 1916-2016

Gold medal for hockey - Military Cross for bravery

Reggie Pridmore scored a sackful of goals as England won hockey gold at the 1908 London Olympics. He was to win honours at the Somme too. But he later lost his life in a crucial battle that helped turn the tide of the war.

Pridmore set a goal-scoring record that stood for 46 years at the White City games, firing in hat-tricks against France and Scotland and four against Ireland, helping England  to romp home to gold.

Born in Birmingham in 1886, Pridmore had trained as a stockbroker after leaving Bedford Grammar School. An inside-left for Coventry & North Warwicks Hockey Club, he played 19 games for England between 1908 and 1913 and was also a talented cricketer, playing 14 times for Warwickshire. At the Olympics, Pridmore’s four goals helped England crush Ireland 8-1 in the final.

"He displayed great coolness under fire" Reginald Pridmore's citation for a Military Cross

By 1916, he was a lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery on the Somme when he won a Military Cross, enduring a bombardment to provide vital intelligence on enemy activity. His citation in October 1916 read: “He displayed great coolness under fire... when his observation point was very heavily shelled. Both he and his look-out man were partly buried, but he carried on and sent in valuable reports.”

Reginald Pridmore at the Somme

Pridmore, who commanded C Battery 240th Brigade, was promoted to major then acting lieutenant-colonel. He was killed aged 31 as five British divisions helped Italian forces crush the Austro-Hungarian army at Piave River near Venice in June 1918, the victory leading to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Around 20,000 enemy soldiers drowned as they fled the allied advance. Pridmore is buried at the Giavera British Cemetery.

An inscription on his original wooden cross read: “A most gallant sportsman and comrade.”

Remembering the Somme

This year marks the 100­ year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The Royal British Legion is calling on communities across the UK to take the time out from their daily lives to honour those who fell. We have created a Somme 100 toolkit which contains everything you need to organise a Remembrance event in your community.

Make your own commemoration to one of the casualties of the First World War by simply placing a virtual poppy in their memory on our Every Man Remembered website.

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