2nd Lieutenant Maurice William Pretyman

Maurice Pretyman © British Army
© British Army

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for this research.

Maurice William Pretyman was born on 12th August 1889 in Edgewater, Illinois, USA to genealogist William and Jenny Pretyman (nee Remington).

Maurice’s father William was born in the 2nd quarter of 1849 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire to John Radclyff and Amelia. William was baptised on 29th May 1849 at the St Mary’s church in Aylesbury. His mother Jenny was born about 1858 in New York, USA to Samuel (born about 1818 in Connecticut) and Flora (born about 1830 in Rhode Island). At the time of the 1880 Census, the family lived in New York, USA. Samuel was working in the Remington Rifle Company and Flora was keeping house. Maurice had a brother and a sister: Margaret was born about 1885 in Albany, USA and Frank on 17th February 1891 in Edgewater, Illinois, USA.

During the 1901 Census, Maurice was a boarder at the Hall School, Wenden Lofts, Saffron Walden in Essex. The schoolmaster was called Perceval Humphrey. The school employed also a cook, housemaid, kitchen maid, parlourmaid and a gentleman’s servant.

Maurice was also educated at the Wick School in Hove. During his stay at Marlborough College he took part in the Officer Training Corps. He is listed in the school’s register for the year of 1903. At this time his family lived at the Richmond Lodge, Bournemouth. Later he attended London University.

Maurice was also a sport enthusiast and captain of the Shooting Eight 1906-07 and winner of the Spencer Cup, Bisley.

After schooling Maurice became an Engineer and Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and was connected with the building of Immingham Docks and Rosyth Naval Base. Later he became engaged in works undertaken by the Foundation Company of New York and Canada.

During the 1911 Census, Maurice’s family lived at 13 Rutland Court in London. The accommodation had seven rooms. His father William was working as a genealogist and his mother was at home, as was his sister Margaret. The family was looked after by a cook and parlourmaid.

Maurice came back to England on 3rd August 1914 and joined the Officer Training Corps the following day. At the time of the enlistment he lived at Dungannon, Highfield Avenue, Aldershot in Hampshire. He became 2nd Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers. Maurice obtained a commission on 2nd September 1914 and was posted to the Signal Company of the 10th Division. He served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli from 6th August 1915. 

According to the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, Maurice was reported wounded and missing after fighting at Channuck Bair on 10th August.

He was presumed to be killed in an action on or since 12th August 1915 in Gallipoli.

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour © British Army

One of his men remembered: “Mr Pretyman worked splendidly during the attack, and was the finest chap I’ve seen; the men left in Section 2 (not many) will always remember him as the finest gentleman they ever had dealings with, especially in a tight corner. We cling to the faint hope he may be a prisoner of war”.

Maurice left his father William Pretyman, a gentleman, £258, 19s and 11d in the Probate.

Maurice William was awarded the British War and Victory medals and the 1915 Star.

Maurice Pretyman Helles Memorial Roll of Honour © CWGC

Maurice’s brother Frank Remington Pretyman became Lieutenant of the Scott’s Guards. He was killed in action at Boesinghe on 4th July 1917 “during concentration for the attack and subsequent capture of Pilkem Heights”.

Remington-Pretyman plaque © Compton Cemetery
Remington-Pretyman plaque © Compton Cemetery

The brothers are commemorated at the Compton Cemetery in Guildford. Frank’s plaque was stolen in 2012, however Maurice’s remains intact.

The University of Birmingham holds an archive of letters written between the brothers during the War. 

During and shortly after the war, Maurice’s parents William and Jenny lived at Richmond Lodge, Bournemouth, at 26 Wimbourne Road in Bournemouth and at Rock Dene in Dorking.

On 31st August 1920 William Pretyman died. At this time he lived in Bournemouth. His wife Jenny Pretyman received £2609, 13s and 2d in the Probate.

Born Edgewater, Illinois, USA
Lived Kensington, London
Son of William and Jenny Pretyman
Regiment 10th Signal Company, Royal Engineers
Date of Death 12th August 1915
Place of Death Gallipoli
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 26
Memorial Helles Memorial, Turkey
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