Military Project

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kate Prentice (nee Hartas)

Kate was not born a Prentice but became a Prentice via marriage when she married John Prentice.  She also became the mother of eight Prentice's

This is the story of Kate, a girl born in a small village near York in the North of England, her story highlights the worrying times she lived though like many of her generation who were born before the Boer War and lived through World Wars One and Two

Kate was born on the 4th Jul 1889 in Wheldrake, Yorkshire and was the daughter of Thomas and Clara Hartas (nee Binns).  She was the third born child and the second daughter in a family comprising of eight children

The 1891 census indicates that Kate was living with her parents Thomas and Clara, older brother Hague and older sister Mary in a cottage in Wheldrake.  Father Thomas was employed as a rabbit catcher

The 1901 census indicates that Kate was living with her mother, Clara, elder sister Mary, and younger siblings Thomas, Walter, Bertie, Gilbert and Algie in Wheldrake.  Her father and older brother are missing from the family group.  Father Thomas is not found on this census and brother Hague is found working and residing on a local farm in the Parish of Deighton

On the 27th Dec 1902, when Kate was eleven years old, her father died, the nature of his death meant that he had probably been ill for some time, his death would probably signal the end of the happy carefree days of childhood as Kate would probably have to take on more of the responsibility of looking after the younger children

Kate married John Prentice on the 19th Jan 1910 at St Helens Parish Church, Wheldrake.  The wedding was witnessed by her brothers Hague and Thomas along with Elizabeth Quinn and Annie Backhouse

The 1911 census indicates that John and Kate were living in a four roomed dwelling at Dunnington Common, near York with their three month old daughter Clara.  John was employed as a farm labourer

On the 4th Aug 1914 England declared war with Germany.  In the early days of the war, territorial units  traveled to distant regions of the Empire to free up the Battalions of the regular Army in places such as Malta and India to allow them to travel to the war zones.  The territorial units would then be trained for active service or protection of garrisons within the Empire

There was still a need for men from all walks of life to train for active service on the battle fronts and this must have been a very worrying time for Kate as she had a husband and six brothers.  Her husband John and older brother did not go to war and her youngest brother Algie was too young to go to war

Four of her brothers did go to war and they were
  • Thomas Hartas - West Riding Regiment (service number 24473)
  • Walter Hartas - York and Lancaster Regiment (service number 61247 ) and Durham Light Infantry (service number 92231)
  • Bertie Hartas - Royal Field Artillery (service number 107643)
  • Gilbert Hartas - York and Lancaster Regiment (service number 60618) and Durham Light Infantry (service number 47265)
Fortunately for Kate, she may have worried throughout the duration of the war and she may have known about the grim times her brothers endured and the injuries they sustained, but all of her brothers came back, older, wiser but still able to live their lives into relative old age with the exception of Walter who died at age 45 in 1940

Worse was to come for Kate though, twenty one years later England would be at war again when war was again declared with Germany on the 3rd Sep 1939.  This time both her husband John and her brothers were too old to go to war but she did have five sons and one of those was already in the Royal Air Force when war was declared

Two of her sons went to war and one of those sons, William Prentice, became a German prisoner of war when he was captured due to injuries sustained at Dunkirk in 1940

Worrying times indeed for Kate who died in 1978

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