Pringle, Robert Scott
He was the son of Robert Brown Pringle of Ardmore, Guildford. He entered Winchester from Mr. Halcombe’s school at Bexley, became a House Prefect and played in O.T.H. VI, Association XI and Lords. The year he left he joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment, and passing into the Regular Army in 1906, served for some years in the east with the 1st Battalion of 1st Queen’s Regiment.
In August 1914 he left for France with 1st Queens, originally being posted to Mons which they reached on 22nd August, only to be forced to join the Retreat with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force on 24th August. It was not until September 6th that the BEF began to advance again. By September 11th it was clear that the enemy was retiring behind the River Aisne. The Allies decided to cross the river and capture the steep escarpment on the north side. However, this high ground was an excellent position for defence against an enemy approaching from the south. On the north bank of the Aisne is a continuous steep wooded slope, along the top of which runs a road known as the Chemin des Dames.
By the evening of September 12th the British were close to the River Aisne. 1st Queen’s crossed the Aisne at Bourg on September 13th. The next day was to see bitter fighting. On September 14th at 0300, in heavy rain and dense mist, 1st Division began to move. 3 Brigade was in reserve at Moulins, but 1st Queen’s was sent further east to the plateau of Paissy (two miles east of Vendresse) to act as right flank guard and to escort the divisional artillery. 1st Queen’s took up positions north-east of Paissy before advancing across the Chemin des Dames into a wood north of the road near La Bovelle Farm, north-east of Cerny. Spotting German reserves ahead in the Ailette valley, the battalion opened fire at a range of about eight hundred yards, inflicting heavy casualties. The artillery also opened fire from only thirty yards behind the battalion, as the war diary noted: “They nearly blew our heads off each time they fired.”
Pringle had been mortally wounded, aged twenty-nine. Ten other officers and 140 other ranks were also killed, wounded or missing. Pringle died the following day.
His wife was unaware of his fate for some time. On September 26th 1914 the following notice appeared in “The Times”: “Lieutenant Robert Scott Pringle, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment is known to have been severely wounded on September 14th, and is supposed to be in some hospital in France. Any news of him will be gratefully received by Mrs. Pringle, Ardmore, Guildford, Surrey.”
Three days later came the formal announcement of his death. Pringle now rests in Grave 6 of the Moulins New Communal Cemetery.
Also killed or mortally wounded on the Aisne on September 14th 1914 hadbeen five fellow Wykehamists: 2nd Lieutenant Rhys Campbell ffolliot Powell (K1906-1909, 2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry); 2nd Lieutenant Nigel John Lawson Boyd (I1908-1912, 1st Battalion, Black Watch); and Captain Alastair Hugh Mackintosh (A1893-1898), 2nd Lieutenant Alastair John Greville Murray (H1908-1912) and Lieutenant Arthur Stuart Nicholson (C1902-1906), all three of 1st Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.
- Surname: Pringle
- Forenames or initials: Robert Scott
- House: A
- Years in School: 1899-1904
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: Royal West Surrey Regiment
- Date of Birth: 30th November 1885
- Date of Death: 15th September 1914
- How Died: Died of wounds
- Location in War Cloister: Outer B4
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: MOULINS NEW COMMUNAL CEMETERY: Grave 6