Thomas Pride V.C. (1835-1893)

Thomas Pride was born on March 29, 1835 at Wool, Dorset, England.  He was the son of agricultural labourer, Robert Pride and his wife Ann King.  Thomas spent his childhood around Wool where he is recorded in 1841 at Bovington and in 1851 at Bindon Lane.  Whilst his father was from Dorset it should be noted his mother, although a British Subject, was born in America.

Thomas Pride V.C.Thomas entered the Navy in 1854 and served in the China War between 1857 and 1860. In the 1861 census he is recorded as serving aboard HMS Chesapeake.  Later that year he marries Mary Eliza Coombs from Wareham and a daughter, Flora Elinor Pride is born late in 1862.

On August 17, 1864, a squadron consisting of nine British, five Dutch and 3 French warships together with 2,000 soldiers steamed out of Yokohama to open Shimonoseki Strait. The two-day battle that followed on September 5 and 6 destroyed the Prince of Nagato’s ability to wage war. Thomas was serving aboard the British flagship Euryalus.

Victoria Cross“On 6 September 1864 at Shimonoseki, Japan, Captain of the After Guard Pride was one of the two colour sergeants who accompanied the midshipman, D.G. Boyes, from HMS Euryalus when they carried the Queen’s Colour into action in the capture of the enemy’s stockade. They kept the flag flying in spite of the fierce fire which killed the other colour sergeant and severely wounded Pride. He and the midshipman, however, did not falter and were only finally prevented from going further forward by direct orders from their superior officer.”

Both Boyes and Pride were presented with the Victoria Cross in Portsmouth on 22 September 1865. Thomas Pride was discharged from the the Navy in 1866 and a son, Albert McCullock Pride was born that same year at Sandford, Dorset. Also at Sandford in 1868 a second son, Walter Charles Pride, was born.

At some point after the birth of Walter and before the 1871 census the Prides move to Stanpit, Christchurch, Hampshire where they are sharing a home with brother-in-law,  George Coombs, a tailor, and his wife Maryann.  Thomas’s occupation at this time is described as an ‘out pensioner of Greenwich’. During their time at Christchurch a second daughter, Alice Louisa Pride is born.

Thomas finds employment as a Toll collector and in the 1881 census the family can be found living in the Toll Gate House on the Bournemouth Road at Parkstone, Dorset. Daughter Flora has found employment as a pupil teacher whilst the younger children are all still at school. With the children all grown up Thomas and Mary may have moved back to Mary’s home town of Wareham, where they can be found living at St. John’s Hill in the 1891 census, however Thomas died on July 16, 1893 at the age of 57 and the death was registered in the Poole district and he was buried in All Saints Churchyard at Branksome Park.



  1. Gill Dale said,

    March 11, 2008 at 8:57 am

    I was really interested to see your entry about Thomas Pride – he was my great great uncle. I am descended through his sister Louisa Pride who was my father’s grandmother. She married James Morris. My father is 89, also a Morris.

    I have collected a fair bit of info about the Pride family which I’d be happy to send to you if you give me your email address. I’m fascinated to know more about Ann King from America but guess you don’t have any further info?

    • John Richardson said,

      September 21, 2010 at 3:34 am


      Thomas prides daughter, Alice Louisa was my maternal grandmother. Be grateful for any info on the pride family.



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    • Major (Retd) M Russell said,

      January 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

      I am Chairman of the RBL branch in Sandford and currently producing a plaque on Thomas Pride VC for our wall of honour. It seems Thomas and mary lived for a few years in Sandford podt leaving the rN in 1866. Son Walter was born there. I have some research yet to do but have found out quite a bit already. It would be nice to find out just where the family lived in Sandford. As always much conflicting info is about. I would think whilst sick after the VC action he went from Colour Sergeant to Sub Lieutenant in rank. One picture (we have 2) shows him wearing 2 campaign medals on his right breast which are ususally from a close relation. I am sure that from this site you have seen other relations with contact possible – have you made contact?
      Malcolm Russell

    • July 21, 2014 at 6:32 am

      The medal is with the Maritime Museum, I am the eldest grandson of Percy Pride from his first born daughter,my mother, Phillippa’s aunt. We as a family have a lot of information on his life and direct family tree etc of Thomas. We would be interested in developing the tree further of Thomas’s family so would welcome contact on this to create the full family tree.

    • Malcolm Russell said,

      July 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      If you have any information that might tie down just where Mary (wife) lived in Wareham when single or where when as a family they moved back to Wareham town into St John’s Hill (50 paces from the South Bridge) by 1891. House name/number/position would help.
      Malcolm Russell

  2. John Pride said,

    August 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I am a descendant of Isabella Pride (4 July 1828 to 3 February 1900) and interested in tracking family history.

    Would appreciate information if any connections are known

  3. Philippa Segrave-Pride said,

    August 18, 2008 at 3:44 am

    I am a descendent of Thomas Pride through my father Ian Pride, any information would be greatly received

  4. December 12, 2010 at 6:40 am

    My sister-in-law was married to Anthony Derek PRIDE, b.Blandford on 19.07.1921 and d. in his home, on 09.12.1970 at Ludham, Norfolk. His father was Herbert Vincent, (1879-1950). Mary nee JAMES, his widow, and I, would appreciate it if anybody would share their Pride family history with us. Regards, Ted Brooke, Norwich

  5. Pam Nixon said,

    February 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    My Father was Thomas Curtis Pride, his father was Harlan Pride, mother Mabel Stone Curtis.
    Any information would be very appreciated.

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  7. Thomas Pride said,

    January 21, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Hi my name is Thomas Pride, i would like to know where the VC medal is currently preciding as it belongs to my Great Great Great Great Grandad. I would be greatful of any info as i am trying to build on my family tree!

    • Malcolm Russell said,

      January 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      His VC resides in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. I have quite a bit on TP including photos but this medium is not designed for uploading.
      Malcolm Russell – Wareham Town Mayor

    • Philippa Segrave-Pride said,

      February 17, 2014 at 2:03 am

      The VC was donated after my grandmother died. (My grandfather had predeceased her). I was one of three sisters, my father was the last Pride on his branch of the tree. My father died aged 65 in 2011.

      • July 21, 2014 at 6:31 am

        The medal is with the Maritime Museum, I am the eldest grandson of Percy Pride from his first born daughter,my mother, Phillippa’s aunt. We as a family have a lot of information on his life and direct family tree etc of Thomas. We would be interested in developing the tree further of Thomas’s family so would welcome contact on this to create the full family tree.

  8. Malcolm Russell said,

    July 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    As a Council (Wareham Town) it is likely that we could erect some sort of memory stone/paving stone or even a ‘blue plaque’ on a building if we can tighten up the ‘story’. Our information is that a deal of the family life was in or around Wareham – Wool/Sandford etc are effectively part of ‘Wareham’ District. We have it that the family (or Thomas or his wife) lived near ‘Wareham’s South Bridge’ – if we could obtain a reasonable idea that they lived in the town of Wareham/Street/ House name or other we could make steps in the right direction (nothing promised!). From a little experience in this field some stories do ‘change’ to suit the case – not that for one moment do I believe this has happened here. We recently had a commemoration service for the County of Dorset’s VC’s – unfortunately it was for WW1 and after – leaving Thomas Pride out. It might be that this is repeated for another time band that might include Thomas.

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    July 25, 2014 at 8:26 am

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  10. Daniel Pride said,

    June 27, 2017 at 9:10 am

    very interesting I’m gunna have to do more research! Especially I am a pride and currently live in bournemouth dorset

  11. October 22, 2018 at 5:33 am

    The Victoria Cross Trust are currently looking to put together a project to restore the final resting place of Thomas Pride VC at All Saints Church in Branksome Park. We will of course at some point need to commence a fundraising campaign for this, for now we are working on securing the permissions required from the Church. We would be very interested to collate further information about Thomas and his life, and also establish connections with descendants. please email us if you wish to be part of this project.

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