1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment who died on 11 June 1915, Age 21
Henry, the only son of Francis Strange Brice J.P. and his wife Margaret Alice (nee Downing), was the eldest of their three children. His sisters, Elsie and Margaret, were four and seven years, respectively, younger than him.
By 1891 Francis Brice, aged just 24, had established a hosiery manufacturing business in Leicester. By 1901, he was married with a family and living in Elms Road, Stoneygate. Three domestic servants helped Margaret to run the house.
In 1904 Francis Brice built ‘Middlemeade’, now known as Beaumont Hall and owned by the University of Leicester, in Stoughton Drive South, Oadby.
Middlemeade Stoughton Drive Oadby
Francis Brice employed 10 gardeners and over the next 10 years the extensive grounds which surround the house were created. They were reputed to be the most handsome in the Midlands and largely unchanged, they now form part of the University’s Botanic Gardens.
Henry began his education at Stoneygate School before moving, in 1907, to Mill Hill Public School, north London, where he was a boarder. He was an active student; awarded an English prize and a lower school certificate, he played rugby for the second XV, won a cross country prize and he was a member of the Officer Training Corps.
Henry is remembered on the Gate of Honour at Mill Hill School, Middlesex
On leaving Mill Hill School Henry applied for a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Leicestershire Territorials which he received on 10 May 1913.
When war was declared, Henry volunteered for Imperial Service, he was gazetted Lieutenant, on 22 October 1914 and served with the 1/4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment.
On Active Service
Henry was the battalion Grenade Officer. Following a course of instruction on the use of grenades he returned to his men on 14 May. However, the 4th Leicesters’ War Diary for 9 June 1915 reported,
Casualties, wounded Lt H. C. BRICE was seriously wounded by the premature explosion of a converted Hales rifle grenade about 4.00pm.
The following day a telegram was received stating,
Lieut H.C. Brice died at 11.25 am at No3 Casualty Clearing Hospital, Bailleul.
His commanding officer, wrote,
I cannot forbear saying how profoundly I regret his death, and how great a loss he is to the Battalion. He was the Grenade Officer and had charge of the bomb throwers. His work in that position was of a high quality. He was absolutely fearless, and I believe that his men would have followed him anywhere. He was of the type of which leaders are made, and the army can ill afford to lose such men.
Henry is buried with Honour at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France
Following the war Henry’s parents established Brice Memorial Hall, on Queen’s Road. Leicester
HCB Memorial Hall, Queens’ Road. Leicester
The Interior plaque with metal wreath atop is inside the HBC Memorial Hall
Henry is also remembered on a memorial plaque in St Mary’s Church, Knighton.
In 1921, Francis and Margaret Brice donated £2000, in their son’s memory, to University College Leicester. It was one of the earliest donations to the newly formed College.
Henry Copeland Brice’s grave in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.