For King and Country

Person Details

PRESTON, Alfred Valentine


Name: Cookham School Lane, Cookham
NIWM Ref: 7925
RBWM Ref: WM151

Person Details

Place of birth: Cookham
Gender: Male
Date of death: 29/09/1916
Place of death: Somme, France
Manner of death: Killed in action
Age at death: 17
CWGC Ref: 1549262
TWGPP Ref: 119993
Address: 4 Gaynesford Road Forest Hill London
Address: West Lodge Maidenhead Road The Pound Cookham

Military details

Military Organisation: Army
Rank: Bombardier
Service Number: 34905


Father Edward Oxenford PRESTON
Mother Isabel Maud PRESTON
Sister Stella Gwendoline PRESTON
Sister Agnes Maud PRESTON
Sister Violet Blanche PRESTON

Additional information

Alfred came from a wealthy family. His Father Edward was a financier in 1891 and in the 1901 census was a "Contractor of Works". By 1911, when he was 50, he was described as a Gentleman of private means. Edward married Isabel who came from Guernsey and the family lived at West Lodge, Cookham, on the corner of the Pound and Maidenhead Road for 20 years or so. Their house had 14 rooms with a live in nurse, cook and chambermaid. There were at least three daughters as well as Alfred and all the children were born in Cookham. Alfred was born between January and March 1899. The Great War Internet forum has postings saying Alfred attended Lambrook Preparatory School in Winkfield Row and once sat with 21 other old boys who died in WW1 and is remembered in the school Chapel. He went on to Wellington College where he studied from 1913-15. After the War Alfred's parents moved to Forest Hill in London.
Alfred must have enlisted at a very young age and was only 17 when he was killed on 29th September 1916 - below the age for active service. He had joined the Royal Field Artillery in the 180th Brigade which was concentrated with the 16th (Irish) Division. The division had been engaged in two battles within the large Somme conflict - the battles of Guillemont and Ginchy - suffering massive casualties, but these particular battles were in the first half of the month. We can only assume that Alfred was killed during the continual exchanges of fire during this period. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the memorial to the missing of the Somme. It bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the UK and South African forces who died on the Somme before March 1918 and have no known grave. Alfred would have died towards the end of an offensive that started on 1st July 1916. Thiepval was captured from the Germans at the end of September 1916 and the Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18th November with the onset of Winter. His grave reference is Pier and Face 1A and 8A.


Summary: Information from Cookham researchers

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