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The Charlie Pritchard Rugby Collection

7 December 2023 9:30 AM
Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales

It is always an honour to represent families in auctioning their ancestor's sporting caps and antiques but with The Charlie Pritchard collection we feel extra privileged and proud.

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Charles Meyrick Pritchard (1882 - 1916)

Captain Charles Meyrick Pritchard, 12th Battalion (3rd Gwent), the South Wales Borderers, died at Chocques in France from wounds received two days earlier during the fighting at Loos. He was one of thirteen Wales international players to be killed during the Great War. In May of 1915 he joined the South Wales Borderers, and after six months had been promoted to captain. His battalion arrived on the Western Front in June of 1916. On the night of the 12th of August, Captain Pritchard led a raiding party near Loos. Although the raid was successful, he was wounded at the outset but carried on only to be more seriously wounded later. He was taken to No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station, a few miles behind the front lines, but could not be saved. The 12th South Wales Borderers War Diary recorded: “The Battalion thus loses a very gallant officer and a chivalrous, generous and large-minded gentleman.” He was mentioned in despatches, and had he survived he would have been recommended for the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery – at that time the D.S.O. was not awarded posthumously.

On hearing of Captain Pritchard’s death, the journalist W.J. Townsend Collins wrote: “The war has swept away many a great and famous Rugby player who was also a good fellow; but among them all was none with a stouter or kinder heart, more beloved, more lamented than Charlie Pritchard.” He is buried in the Chocques Military Cemetery, three miles north-west of Béthune.

Charles Meyrick Pritchard, former Welsh international rugby player, Newport RFC captain, local wine merchant, husband and father of two sons, was just 33 years old.

Charles Meyrick Pritchard (1882 - 1916)
Charles Meyrick Pritchard (1882 - 1916)

Apart from being a war-hero and all of the above, Pritchard was also one of the first rugby collectors, he would actively seek out jerseys from different players and teams, even when he was not involved in the match. Charlie Pritchard's collection of jerseys, caps and photographs are now being offered at auction on behalf of Charlie's great-grandsons.

Highlights of the collection include a 1905 All Blacks jersey worn against Wales in 'The Match of the Century', in which Charlie played for the Welsh victors. There is also a 1906 Springbok jersey, a 1908 Australia jersey, and a 1908 Anglo-Welsh (pre-British Lions) tour jersey.

This exciting collection will be revealed imminently. Watch this space!

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