LIEUTENANT REX PRYCE-JONES
18TH NOVEMBER 1916 AGE 20
BURIED: ALBERT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
The first thing I discovered about Rex Pryce-Jones was that Rex wasn't his real name. It was Reginald Ernest Pryce Pryce-Jones. His family called him 'Sunbeam' for the light he brought into their lives.
Born in Wales, in Kerry Montgomeryshire, 'Rex' was the grandson of Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones whose company, the Royal Welsh Warehouse in Newtown Montgomeryshire, is credited with being the first large-scale mail order business in the world. In 1910, Rex Pryce-Jones' parents moved to Canada to set up an arm of the business in Calgary, the Pryce-Jones Department Store.
Rex, who had always been a very keen cadet, enlisted in the Canadian Infantry as soon as he'd had his eighteenth birthday in October 1914. He sailed from Canada to England in October 1915, and went to France in August 1916 with the 50th Battalion Canadian Infantry. There's a published letter from a soldier in one of his trench working parties who described Pryce-Jones as, 'quite young and decidedly English'.
On the 18 November 1916, the last day of the Somme campaign, two companies of the 50th were ordered to attack the German lines in front of Regina Trench. Enfilade fire from the German machine guns forced the Canadians back to their original position with very heavy casualties. Pryce-Jones was one of ten officers and 111 other ranks who were either killed or missing believed killed that day.