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40130 Rifleman Ambrose Pryor

C Company XI Platoon

1st Battalion 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade

4th December 1917


Born on 24/05/1882 in Ballinamore, County Cavan, Ireland. His parents were Patrick Pryor(1833-16/10/1904) and Mary McGirl(17/02/1922).

Ambrose had 8 brothers; James(born in 1861), Francis(18/01/1865-1946), Patrick(born on 21/10/1868), John (born on 24/06/1870), Joseph(28/02/1872-1951), Thadeus(born on 06/01/1874), William(15/05/1876-1957) and

Peter (born in 1888).

He also had 2 sisters, Mary Anne(16/05/1878-19/10/1939) and Catherine(born in 1880).

On 01/06/1897,Ambrose together with his brother John and sister Catherine, departed London and sailed to Brisbane, Australia aboard the Fifeshire to meet up with their older brother Francis, who had made the journey in 1885. Ambrose and John gave their occupations as labourers.

Ambrose made another journey once in Australia and by 1907 had become a resident in New Zealand.

In the 1911 NZ Electoral Roll, Ambrose was recorded as still working as a labourer and living in the care of Mr Pharazyn in Hawke's Bay, Hastings.         

Ambrose enlisted in Hastings on 18/10/1916. Details of his medical performed the same day are as follows;

Apparent Age - 34 years, Trade or Occupation - Gardener, Height - 5ft 6 inches, Weight - 10st, Chest Measurement - Minimum - 34inches, Maximum - 37inches, Complexion - Dark, Colour of Eyes, - Blue, Colour of Hair - Dark Brown, Religious Profession - Roman Catholic.

He was posted to J Company 23rd Specialist Signal Section on 14/11/1916, before being transferred to J Company 23rd Reinforcements 4 days later.

Ambrose embarked for England on 02/04/1917 from Wellington, not disembarking in Devonport until 10/06/1917.

The next day he marched in and was taken on strength and posted to C Company  5th Reserve Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade at Sling Camp, Wiltshire. 

His stay at Sling Camp was for nearly a month before he was sent to France on 06/07/1917, marching into Etaples camp

4 days later.

On 24/08/1917, Ambrose joined 1st Battalion 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade and was posted to C Company.   

He was killed in action on 04/12/1917.

A statement given by 15297 Serjeant Major Trevor Allison Sansbury(formerly a schoolteacher from Epsom, Auckland), of C Company XI Platoon records how Ambrose died. 

" His name was Ambrose; he was in C Coy. XI Platoon, our position was at the front of a larger dug out called” the Butte” in Polygon Wood. He was out on night patrol as he was returning a M.G. bullet hit him in No Man’s Land just in front of our trench. I was only a few yards off; he was killed instantly, and I saw his body. He was taken back and buried outside the Butte. A cross was put up for him.”    

Ambrose was awarded the 1914-1918 British War and Allied victory medals.


Hastings Standard4 December 1918


In Memoriam


Pryor – In remembrance of Private Ambrose Pryor of the 23rd Reinforcements, who was killed in action in France on December 4th, 1917.


“He did his duty.”

--Inserted by his friends

When Researching Ambrose, the spelling of his surname came into question as his earlier records indicate that the correct spelling was Prior. I decided to use the one that Ambrose himself had used to sign his enlistment form.     

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