Commander Redvers Michael Prior, DSO, DSC, (29 September 1893 - 4 November 1964) was a Conservative Member of Parliament, representing Birmingham Aston from 1943 to 1945, and an officer in the Royal Navy.
Prior joined the Navy as a midshipman in January 1912, and was promoted to acting sub-lieutenant in May 1914, substantive sub-lieutenant in January 1915, and full lieutenant in July 1916, in which rank he was serving at the end of the war. He was promoted to lieutenant-commander in 1924, and later retired from the Navy.
In February 1940 he returned to active service in command of the anti-submarine trawler Angle (FY 201), and then the trawler Ruby (T 24) from March to May. He then saw service at the Dunkirk evacuation, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in June 1940.
In August 1942 he participated in the Dieppe Raid, as the senior naval beachmaster on one of the five landing beaches. He was severely wounded during the fighting, and taken prisoner. Near the Belgian-German border he escaped from a hospital train, making his way to the coast and observing the construction of the Atlantic Wall. He made contact with the maquis on his arrival in Paris, and attempted to head south and leave France through Marseilles, in the Vichy zone. He was, however, recaptured, and imprisoned in Grenoble in the winter of 1942/43. Here, he met Donald Caskie, who helped him escape to the United Kingdom. On his return to England, in March 1943, he was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.
He returned to active service after his recuperation, and during the North West Europe Campaign he was mentioned in despatches for service in the Normandy landings, and was awarded a bar to the Distinguished Service Cross for his part in Operation Infatuate, the capture of Walcheren.
– Maiden speech of Redvers Prior MP, 22 September 1942.
Prior was elected to Parliament at the Birmingham Aston by-election in June 1943, shortly after his return to the UK. He succeeded Edward Kellett, who had been killed in action in North Africa that March; as a result of the war-time electoral pact, Labour and the Liberals did not stand candidates, and Prior was only opposed by a candidate of the Common Wealth Party as well as a local independent. His maiden speech, in which he described his experiences in France and called for continuing raids on the continent, was well received and widely reported. Due to his military service he only spoke twice more in 1943 and 1944, but became a more active member in 1945, particularly on military matters. He held the seat for the Conservative Party until the 1945 general election, when he contested Stratford West Ham, a safe Labour seat, and lost.
- Allied Warship Commanders - Redvers Michael Prior DSO, DSC, RN, uboat.net
- "No. 34867". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1940-06-07. p. 3500.
- Caskie, Donald (2012). The Tartan Pimpernel. Birlinn. ISBN 9780857902047.
- Lee, David (2017). Beachhead Assault: The Story of the Royal Naval Commandos in World War II. Frontline. ISBN 9781473894310.
- "No. 35390". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1943-03-23. p. 1370.
- "No. 36979". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1945-05-13. p. 1382.
- "No. 36854". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1944-12-22. p. 5879.
- Hansard, 22 September 1942, col. 288
- Hansard 1803-2005: Commander Redvers Prior
- "Prior, Redvers Michael". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. 1920–2016 (April 2014 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 13 November 2017. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Commander Redvers Prior