Topic: Harry Capel Pritt (1869-1915)

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Harry Capel Pritt from Katikati was killed in action Gallipoli 8th August 1915. Born with the name Harry, he later changed this to 'Henry Capel Pritt'. Story by Robert Scott.

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Harry was born at Auckland in 1869 to the Venerable Archdeacon Lonsdale Pritt and Mary (nee Otterson). Harry’s father Lonsdale Pritt was born in Lancashire in 1822, obtained a B.A. Degree from Trinity College in Cambridge, ordained a Deacon in Westminster in 1845 and a Priest in 1848. He first arrived in New Zealand in 1855 aged 34 and worked as a Chaplain in Nelson where he met his future wife Mary Otterson. They married in 1863; Lonsdale aged 38 and Mary aged 21. Lonsdale became Archdeacon of Waikato and incumbent of St Marks Church in Remuera before he died.

Lonsdale and Mary had four children; Catherine Mary born 1865 (reg. 1865/25051), George Francis 1866 (reg. 1866/23987), Walter Lonsdale 1867 (reg. 1867/16078) and Harry Capel in 1869 (reg.1869/11739). Mary died at the age of 30 in 1872 (reg. 1872/9546) when Harry was just three years old. His father Lonsdale died in 1885 aged 60 when Harry was 16 (reg. 1885/4206). Lonsdale remarried to Charlotte Alice Margaret Williams in Auckland who was named as Harry’s next of kin in his WW1 enlistment record.

Harry had me confused as he was born as Harry, later used the name Henry, enlisted in the army in Kaihu, Northland but had been working for his brother Frank at Aongatete, and fudged his date of birth so as to be under 40 to be accepted into the army. Henry’s birth appears to be recorded twice, once as Harry Cassel Pritt and again as Harry Capel Pritt but the 2nd entry may be a correction. In electoral rolls he first appeared as Harry and later as Henry. Perhaps he disliked the name Harry and changed to Henry which he used when enlisting in the army. On the Memorial Brass at St Peters Church in Katikati, he has been recorded as Harry Pritt. The Katikati RSA have him as Harry on their Roll of Honour board and he is recorded as Harry at the Katikati Domain memorial Gates. To avoid confusion, I will refer to him as Harry which was his birth name.

In the 1905 Electoral Roll Harry, aged 36, appears as Harry Capel Pritt, millhand of Kaihu, Northland. In 1911 he was still a millhand at Kaihu but had changed his name to Henry. In the 1914 Electoral Roll he was shown as Henry Capil Pritt, farmhand, Aongatete. He was working for his brother George Francis (Frank) Pritt who was a prominent settler at Aongatete with a farm on the Katikati side of the Aongatete River.

Harry enlisted in the army in February 1915 giving his name as Henry Capil Pritt, last New Zealand address Kaihi, Northern Wairoa, occupation farmhand, last employer S F Pritt, Katikati (Frank Pritt, farmer, Aongatete). His next of kin Mrs Lonsdale Pritt (the army have printed C.A.M above Lonsdale ie Charlotte Alice Margaret Pritt, stepmother). He gave his date of birth as 25th January 1876 making his age 39. He was actually 46 years old. Harry’s medical report had him as five feet seven inches tall, 145 lbs (66 Kgs) hazel eyes and brown hair. Harry was assigned to the Auckland Infantry Regiment and killed in action at Gallipoli on the 8th of August 1915 aged 46 years old.

Harry Capel Pritt (1869-1915)

Harry had made a will before leaving for overseas appointing his solicitor Henry Augustus Sharp of Sharp and Tudhope, Tauranga, as trustee and leaving his property to his brother Walter’s daughter Mary. His war medals were sent to Miss Mary Pritt, C/o W L Pritt, Selwyn Street, Onehunga. His niece Mary was eighteen years old when he died.


Further Information:

Cenotaph Record (Auckland War Memorial Museum).

Military Personnel File (Archives New Zealand). 

A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

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Harry Capel Pritt (1869-1915)

Note:Service Number: 12/2446
First Names:Henry Capel
Last Name:Pritt
Date of Birth:27 January 1869
Place of Birth:Auckland
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:8 August 1915
Place of death:Gallipoli, Turkey
Place of burial:Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial
Fathers name:Lonsdale Pritt
Fathers date of birth:6 March 1822
Fathers place of birth:Lancashire, England
Fathers date of death:21 October 1885
Fathers place of death:New Zealand
Mothers name:Mary Otterson
Mothers date of birth:7 May 1842
Mothers place of birth:Nelson, New Zealand
Mothers date of death:13 August 1872
Mothers place of death:New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)