Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 10, 1874
Place of BirthEast Malling, Kent
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs ET (Jane) Wilkins, sister, Fort Frances, Ontario
Trade / CallingCollector of Customs (Canada)
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 4, 1914
Age at Enlistment40
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 13, 1925
Age at Death51
Buried AtFort Frances Cemetery, Fort Frances, Ontario

Prall-Pierce, Henry Albert

Henry Albert Prall Pierce was born on 10 August 1874 in East Malling, Kent in England. In his early years he went by the name of Harry or Henry Pierce but after immigrating to Canada in 1904 he used the name of Henry or Harry Prall-Pierce. His father William Pierce was from Hadlow, Kent while his mother Mary Ann Russell was from Yalding, Kent. The couple married during the last quarter of 1857 in the registration district of Tonbridge, likely in Hadlow. Over the years William worked as a farm bailiff in Hadlow and East Malling. Known children born to the family were Mary Ann (1858-1907), Eliza Jane (1863-1931), George Edward (1865-1946), all in Hadlow, and Alice (1868), Esther (1872), Henry, Jane Elizabeth (1877-1963), John Edward (1879), and Charles William (1882-1958), the latter all in East Malling. By the time of the 1891 census Henry was living in Chiselhurst in Kent where he was working as a servant/grocer’s assistant.

During the last quarter of 1891 in the registration district of Malling, Henry married Annie Maria Frances Millen. Baptized in July of 1856 in Mereworth, Kent, Annie was the daughter of John Millen and Ann Creasy. Henry and Annie gave birth to three children in East Malling, Annie Florence (1892), Henry William (1894), and George Lewis (1897). Likely as he was serving during the Boer War, at the time of the 1901 census Henry was no longer listed as living with the family. His wife Annie was listed as a grocer/shopkeeper on the 1901 census for East Malling and as a grocer/butcher on the 1911 census. Surname of the children was consistently given as Pierce. Annie later died during the second quarter of 1935 in the registration district of Malling in Kent.

Henry immigrated to Canada in 1904, arriving in Montreal aboard the Tunisian on 28 May. The passenger list indicated that he was a butcher on his way to Winnipeg. By the time of the 1911 Canada census Henry was living in Burriss in the township of Devlin in northwestern Ontario near Fort Frances. His occupation on the census was given as transfer merchant. He joined the 98th Regiment and qualified with rank of Captain in 1914 and Field Officer in 1915, examinations for both taken in Winnipeg.

Henry enlisted on 4 December 1914 in Winnipeg. His place of birth was given as Wateringbury, Kent and occupation as Collector of Customs (Canada). His sister Jane Elizabeth who he gave as next of kin had married Thomas Wilkins in 1902, immigrating to Canada in 1911 and settling in the Fort Frances area. His marital status was given as single and previous military service as with the 36th Company West Kent Imperial Yeomanry, with a year and a half active service in South Africa. As a Lieutenant with the 27th Battalion, Henry embarked from Halifax aboard the Carpathia on 17 May 1915.

By mid September of 1915 Henry had arrived in France with the battalion. A short time later he sustained a gunshot wound to the thigh on 18 October. He was admitted to the No 14 General Hospital in Wimereux on the 20th and evacuated to England on the hospital ship Cambria on the 23rd. Upon arrival in England Henry was admitted to the No 4 North General Hospital in Lincolnshire. Following his discharge from the hospital he was given a six week leave, embarking for France for return to duty in late March of 1916. Henry attended a course in mid May and then was transferred to the Canadian Training Division at Shorncilffe in England by the end of the month. In June it was decided that Henry be returned to Canada, embarking on the 23rd aboard the Grampian. For the duration of the war Henry was stationed in Kenora, Ontario as an officer with the 98th Regiment.

Both of Henry’s sons enlisted for military service. George Lewis attested in January 1914 with the West Kent Yeomanry but was discharged from service as medically unfit for war service that November. Henry William attested in February 1914 with the West Kent Yeomanry, transferring to the Buffs (10 East Kent Regiment ). Embarking for Egypt on 17 May 1915, he entered service in the Balkans in September 1915. He sustained a gunshot wound to the neck in late October 1917, rejoining the unit at Kantara in early December. Henry was discharged from service on demobilization on 14 March 1919.

After the war Henry returned to Fort Frances to work as Collector of Customs. In 1923 his son George and wife Caroline (née Morris) immigrated to Canada, leaving England aboard the Montcalm on 24 March and settling in Fort Frances. On 15 December 1924, in Winnipeg, Henry married Alice Elizabeth Farrell. Born about 1887 in Delano, Minnesota, Alice was the daughter of Martin Brisby and Harriet Cyrch. She had a son Thomas Lacy from her first marriage and had previously married Leo John Farrell in 1921 in Fort Frances.

Henry died on 13 August 1925 at his home on First Street in Fort Frances. His funeral was held at St John’s Church with arrangements under the auspices of the Masonic Order and the Great War Veteran’s Association. Henry is interred in the Fort Frances Cemetery.

By Judy Stockham

Henry’s obituary provided by the Fort Frances Museum.
Grave marker photographs provided by the Fort Frances Cemetery.

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