Twin brothers Fred and Reg Priscott were members of the 1/6th Devonshire Regiment a Territorial Regiment which drew it’s numbers from Barnstaple and North Devon. By Christmas 1915, the Regiment had already spent a year in Lahore, India, before they received orders which would see them sent to Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf…
Mr. and Mrs. T. Priscott, of Bedford street, Barnstaple, have received the following interesting letters from their two son, Fred and Reg, who are now on active service with the 1/6th Devons on the Persian Gulf. The letters were written at Lahore, shortly after the regiment had received orders to mobilise for active service, and the splendid spirit shown by sons of Barum, so many miles from home, is a credit to the old borough. Rather a coincidence is th fact that a few days before leaving India the 1/6th Devons were privileged to form the Guard of Honour for the Viceroy at the Durbar. The regiment from North Devon were proud of the honour, and so well did they perform the necessary duties that they were commended personally by the Viceroy for their smartness. They are the first Territorial regiment that has ever participated in a Durbar, which is famous for its grandeur. The regiment can be relied upon to maintain the glorious traditions of their county.
They have the best wishes of all in North Devon for a successful campaign and a safe return. Pte. Fred Priscott writes as follows: “We have had a change in the weather, raining a lot, and the air is bitter cold. There is not much was news about. We had the Viceroy here last week, and we were the Guards of Honour. It was all right, and he was very pleased with the Guard of Honour. He said he could not wish for a better one. On Friday he opened the King’s Memorial Chief College, Lahore and on Saturday he held the Durbar. It was very nice. After he inspected the Guard of Honour he presented the Indian officers with swords, and shook hands with the wounded and old ‘vets.’ The uniforms of some of the Rajahs were grand; I shall be able to tell you all about it when I come home. I must thank you for the lovely parcel, which I received this morning. Everything was in good order, and a sample of the cake proved it to be grand. I am very pleased with the nice present from the mission; it is more than I ever expected. I expect you have heard that our regiment have shortly to go on active service. We are going to Mesopotamia. You must not worry but look to God and pray that He will guard over your two sons. We have both passed the doctor, so now we shan’t be long. We are only going to do our duty, and you will know we have not shirked. We shall do our bit the best we can. Reg has to return to the ranks, and he is in my section, so that will be fine. We shall always be together. I am sending home some of my things; I cannot take them with me. We have to buy three or four grey shirts, which cost five shillings each. We have also to have several pairs of socks. I will write as often as possible, but you must not worry if you don’t hear every week.” Drummer Reg Priscott says: “I am glad to say I am quite well. The mails are not in yet. We hope to have a good Christmas before we leave for the Persian Gulf. Rumours are flying about. On Friday we mobilised. Orders came we must not clean our buttons, and that we must start “dubbing” our boots. All are excited, and the boys are in the best of spirits, and so am I. Don’t worry. Something seems to tell me I shall get on all right, but I think it is ordained. We are being relieved by the 5th Devons, We shall leave the first week in January from Bombay, so by the time you get this we shall be on our way. Last Sunday we went to Lawrence Gardens to tea. We shook hands with our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Denny, and they wished us the best of luck. Mr. Denny said he hoped we should soon be in Bagdad. I hope so, too. Remember me to all my friends at home, and my mates ‘out over.’” Ptes. Reg and Fred Priscott are twin brothers.
Transcript from the North Devon Herald 20th January 1916 page 3 column e. You can find more articles covering North Devonians experiences in India and Mesopotamia on our Facebook page or by going to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon which is also the home of the