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knightstemplar

John Preston killed in action WW1

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I've just read knightstemplar extract from the war diaries. My maternal grandfather was with the 225th Field Company (Stockton-on-Tees) of the RE. What made it particularly poignant for me was that he was wounded in the leg on 30 March 1918. He had been in France since 3 March 1916. I have located his medal records through Ancestry and have his military records ("burnt records") through Ancestry. I haven't as yet worked out where the 225th were during their time in France but I'm encouraged by your information to put a visit to the National Archives on the agenda to search the War Diaries.

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Stocktonlad...not sure if your checking this forum but respond if you are. I've read these diaries as my Great Uncle from Stockton was also in the regiment and killed in June 1917...up until that date I have all the locations of where the unit was based.

The 225th, 227th and 234th Field Company of Royal Engineers were formed on 20th May 1915 at the request of the War Office to the Mayor of Stockton. Conscription was introduced for all males aged 18-41 in January 1916 meaning that the sappers volunteered to the regiment. Enrolment took place in Marton Hall.

The Regiment were initially trained in Aldershot having been assigned to the 39th Batallion before being informed on the 1st March 1916 that they would be moving to the front lines. On the 5th June the regiment landed at Le Havre. By the 10th March at Noveau Monde they were 400 yards behind the front line constructing reserve trenches.

The regiment moved to Laconture by April and were soon to witness the horrors of the battlefield. On the 19th April Sergeant Midgley was wounded, along with two Sappers (Privates) and evacuated to hospital. Records show that the Sergeant survived the war.

The closeness to the front line is evident from the recording of the first casualty of Sapper Henry Furlonger aged 30 of West Hartlepool who on the 20th May was “killed by a rifle bullet”. In June Sapper Robert William Thomas aged 27 of Hartlepool was also “killed by rifle fire”. A few days later Lieutenant John Bright Wilkinson aged 36 of Stockton became a victim of sniper fire being “shot through the head at about 1a.m and died of his wounds“. All are buried in the Pas de Calais area of France.

In August the Captain of the regiment summed up the first 5 months of active service with the following diary entry.

“Since the Co. landed in France exactly 5 months ago they have been engaged in nothing but front line work and all of it at night”

The regiment had advanced to Vitermont via Festubert / Givenchy & Cauchy a la Tour.

On the 3rd September 1916 a heavy battle took place with the 116th and 117th Rifle Brigade North of Thiepval and the entry notes the severity “very little work was done owing to an extraordinary heavy bombardment of gas shells and the wounded continually passing along the trenches”. This was the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, lasting from July to November by the end of the campaign British and Commonwealth forces were calculated to have lost 419,654 (dead, wounded and missing); French losses amounted to 204,253. German casualties were estimated to have between 437,000 to 680,000.

By the end of September the diary notes that Major Harrison was deemed unfit for service.

The Regiment departed France from sailing from Hopantre at 3PM to Belgium, then marching to 2 Camp Poperinghe, Flanders in February 1917.

My great uncle was killed in June 1917 so I have not read the remainder of the diary.

What was your grandfather's name?

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Stocktonlad...not sure if your checking this forum but respond if you are. I've read these diaries as my Great Uncle from Stockton was also in the regiment and killed in June 1917...up until that date I have all the locations of where the unit was based.

The 225th, 227th and 234th Field Company of Royal Engineers were formed on 20th May 1915 at the request of the War Office to the Mayor of Stockton. Conscription was introduced for all males aged 18-41 in January 1916 meaning that the sappers volunteered to the regiment. Enrolment took place in Marton Hall.

The Regiment were initially trained in Aldershot having been assigned to the 39th Batallion before being informed on the 1st March 1916 that they would be moving to the front lines. On the 5th June the regiment landed at Le Havre. By the 10th March at Noveau Monde they were 400 yards behind the front line constructing reserve trenches.

The regiment moved to Laconture by April and were soon to witness the horrors of the battlefield. On the 19th April Sergeant Midgley was wounded, along with two Sappers (Privates) and evacuated to hospital. Records show that the Sergeant survived the war.

The closeness to the front line is evident from the recording of the first casualty of Sapper Henry Furlonger aged 30 of West Hartlepool who on the 20th May was “killed by a rifle bullet”. In June Sapper Robert William Thomas aged 27 of Hartlepool was also “killed by rifle fire”. A few days later Lieutenant John Bright Wilkinson aged 36 of Stockton became a victim of sniper fire being “shot through the head at about 1a.m and died of his wounds“. All are buried in the Pas de Calais area of France.

In August the Captain of the regiment summed up the first 5 months of active service with the following diary entry.

“Since the Co. landed in France exactly 5 months ago they have been engaged in nothing but front line work and all of it at night”

The regiment had advanced to Vitermont via Festubert / Givenchy & Cauchy a la Tour.

On the 3rd September 1916 a heavy battle took place with the 116th and 117th Rifle Brigade North of Thiepval and the entry notes the severity “very little work was done owing to an extraordinary heavy bombardment of gas shells and the wounded continually passing along the trenches”. This was the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, lasting from July to November by the end of the campaign British and Commonwealth forces were calculated to have lost 419,654 (dead, wounded and missing); French losses amounted to 204,253. German casualties were estimated to have between 437,000 to 680,000.

By the end of September the diary notes that Major Harrison was deemed unfit for service.

The Regiment departed France from sailing from Hopantre at 3PM to Belgium, then marching to 2 Camp Poperinghe, Flanders in February 1917.

My great uncle was killed in June 1917 so I have not read the remainder of the diary.

What was your grandfather's name?

My Grandfather was Joseph Elisha Drinkel. He signed up on 31st May 1915. I have the "burnt records" of his time with the 225th indicating he embarked with the Expeditionary force for France on 3 March 1916. He was wounded (in the leg which fractured his fibula) as I said on the 30th March 1918 and repatriated from France on 12 April 1918 for hospitalisation until 20 April 1918. He was then in Salonica Nov 1918 then on to Turkey from where he eventually returned to the UK. He embarked at Chanak 10/8/1919 to return to the UK via Taranto (Italy) and was finally demobbed in Ripon on 27 Aug 1919.

I've contacted the Royal Engineers museum to see if they have the War Diaries of the 225th. If they have I'll fix up a visit.

As a side note my mother never new her father had been wounded until I told her earlier this year!

Denis

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There was once a memorial at Holy Trinity Church Darnall Which has now been demolished and re built on the origonal site, the memorial was saved then stored at the rectory on Mather road, it was seen by a relative of one of the deceased and me as a child with my Grandma propped up against the vicars garage. They then arranged for it to be moved for safe keeping and it was never seen again, That was mid 1980's

Memorial unveiled & dedication 13Feb1921 at 3pm

By Rev. Eccleston (now deceased)

Description of memorial

War Memorial of white marble in a carved oak frame of gothic design

Inscription

In gratitude to God for great deliverance this tablet was erected by the people of Darnall to keep alive the memory of our men who fought and fell in the Great War 1914-1918

Containing 194 names and cost £168

When I saw it the panel was in about 3 sizable peices but the frame was broken and decaying as it was out in the open, we have been looking for it since.

I promised as a child to my grandma that I would have it mended and put it back in the church. That was a few years ago and Grandma is no longer with us but I will keep my promise and one day it will be there.

I have been helped in my search by many members of various websites, whom I thank very much, the nearest we came was last year when we thought we had finally found it, with the kind help of Reverand West who was the person who knew about it in the 80's. Anyway we shall keep on looking and one day we will find it or replace it. A list of names has been unavailable also.

Sue, hope you see this !

I now have a copy of an original photograph of said memorial, it is of just the carved wooden surround, no names on the marble though !

I can't post it on the site yet as I need to get some permissions, but if you see this PM me.

Dean.

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I would like to tell you about my Great Uncle John Preston

attachicon.gifProject9.png

he was a Sapper no 476077 with 225 Field Company Royal Engineers and was killed in action France & Flanders and is one of the missing commemorated at Pozieres memorial panels 10-13 he was last seen in Hangard wood near Villes Brettonaux

here is his company

attachicon.gifProject5.png

His mother was Annie Preston and Father John Henry Preston he married his wife Clara Preston of 53 Frederick St Darnall when he returned on leave.

Here is his last letter home

attachicon.gifProject11.png

He looks so incredibly young. How old was he, when he was killed?

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Sorry everyone been moving all over the place. If anyone needs to contact me please do. Dean will pm you, Unitedite Returns this photo was taken when he first enlisted 21.06.15 but he lived until 30.03.18.

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Hi it might have taken me years to do this but it is finally available to view. Darnall Holy Trinity Roll of Honour for WW1 booklet to view at Darnall church, Darnall library and Sheffield local studies. Thanks to Dean Hill who compiled the list and everyone else that has helped me along the way. :)

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