Robert Locke Price (1842-1888)
Robert Locke Price was born in Poona, on 26th December 1842. Known in the family as ‘Locke’, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army on 16th July 1863, joining the 25th Bombay Light Infantry. Capt. Robert Locke Price married Elizabeth Marsden on 10th January 1876. The event was mentioned in the Times of India (24th Jan. edition) and says that Elizabeth was known as “Bessie” and that she was the youngest daughter of Rev. E. Marsden, who conducted the marriage ceremony in Bangalore, Tamil Nadu, India. Capt. Price was attached to the Bombay Staff Corps at the time. Elizabeth Marsden was born on 29th May 1857, the daughter of Edmund and Mary Ann Marsden, and baptised on 18th June in Bangalore. (There is an undated reference to the burial of a Mary Ann Marsden in the Agram Protestant Cemetery at Bangalore).
Robert and Elizabeth had five children, three of whom died as infants – Mary Elinor (3rd April 1877 – 20th January 1878), Grace (born and died on the same day in June 1878) and Marguerite (20th January – 3rd April 1881).
Their only son was born on 28th September 1885 in Alleppy, Madras and he was named Robert St John Locke Price, but was usually called ‘Robin’. He was baptised there on 20th October and again in England on 20th March 1901 at Bathwick St Mary. He was educated at Bath College, where he joined the Officer Training Corps, and then at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he was a King's Cadet. He was commissioned on 5th August 1905 and was appointed a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Warwickshire Regt. On 11th November 1906 he was appointed as a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, 33rd Punjabis. On 6th February 1912 he was made Regimental Adjutant and at one point was listed as a passanger when he sailed from London to Bombay on 1st October 1912 aboard the Himalaya. He was promoted to Captain on 5th August 1914, just before the Regiment sailed from India in the Great War. It landed firstly in Egypt and he took part in action on the banks of the Suez Canal against the Turks. The Battalion then sailed for France and on to the Western Front. The 33rd Punjabis saw their first action at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915 and Robert St John Locke Price lost his life, his body not being recovered from the battlefield. His Regiment was in action in a diversionary attack at Moulin du Peitre, a few miles from the main battle at Loos. His name appears on the Indian Army War Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle, France (Panel 28/29). At some point in his military career he was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD). His name also appears on the Bath College War Memorial. Robert's Estate was £1,106 8s 6d, which was Administered by his sister, Frances.
Officers of the 33rd Punjabis with an unidentified Capt. Robert St John Locke Price – August 1914
Robert and Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Frances Locke Price, was born on 24th November 1887 and baptised on the 30th in Gooty, Tamil Nadu, a state in the South-East of India. She married 2nd Lt Kenneth Frederick Hamilton Bell in mid-1915 and he immediately went to France with the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). He, too, took part in the Battle of Loos and lost his life on the same day as his brother-in-law, but on a different part of the battlefield. His body was never recovered from the battlefield and his death is recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Panel 10. He had been a commercial clerk in Cardiff at the time of the 1911 census. Frances inherited £286 6s 9d, never remarried and died childless in Hampshire on 4th April 1934, aged 46. She lived at 'Rosemerin', Albany Road, Fleet together with a female companion, Brenda Caroline Morse, who inherited the house. Miss Morse also inherited Frances' Estate of £2,495 11s 8d, apart from a single bequest of £500 to, as it said in the Will, "my sister Ruth Enid Fryer at present residing in India". No information on Ruth Fryer has been found, either in the Price family or that of Kenneth Hamilton Bell.
Robert Locke Price had continued in the Indian Army and was nominated as his eldest brother’s executor in a Will drawn up on 4th October 1883. However, he was destined to die before his brother and succumbed to cholera on 30th September 1888 at Indore. He had risen to the rank of Major and was second in command of the 25th Bombay Light Infantry at the time of his death.
His wife, Elizabeth moved to England at some point, possibly with her son’s Regimental move to Europe for service in France. She died of cancer on 31st May 1915 in Hampstead, London, shortly before the deaths of her son and son-in-law. Her Estate amounted to £286 6s 9d and probate was granted on 5th July to her brother, Edmund Marsden, a retired Inspector of Schools.