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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lt Rudolph Arthur PRESTON MC, No 70 Sqn, RFC


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Lt R A Preston MC (formerly Lincolnshire Regiment) was killed in action over Ytres while flying as observer in Sopwith 1½ Strutter A895, flown by Capt Guy Lindsay Cruikshank DSO MC MiD* (formerly 1st Bn, Gordon Highlanders) on 15 September 1916. A victory was credited to Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke of Jasta 2; it was the 23rd of his eventual 40 victories.

Lt Preston's MC was Gazetted a week after his death, on 22 September. The citation was:

Lt. Rudolph Arthur Preston, Linc. R.,Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry in action. He repelled strong hostile bomb attacks, consolidated his position and captured some 20 to 30 prisoners.



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From a google search he is commemorated on the War Memorial at West End in Hampshire - looks to be virtually a suburb of Southampton now


His MIC shows his medals went to his sister (Antoinette Eileen Maude) who was living there. Rudolph's birth was registered in the district of Havant, Hants in the 4th qtr of 1893




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Hi - I have some stuff on him, as he is, as Sue points out, remembered on the West End memorial. A chum and I produced a booklet on it a few years back.

He won his MC, I think I remember correctly, on 1st July '16 with (again, I'm working from memory) the 10th Lincs.

Anyway, I'll look it up later and get back this evening.

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Born 30.9.93, Emsworth (near Portsmouth). Had intended to join the Navy, but poor sight in one eye prevented, so he took up farming in Australia, returning home at the outbreak of war.

Private in the Lincolnshire regiment, commissioned (I believe in the 10th battalion) and won MC for work on 1st July 1916. Wounded.

Transferred to RFC and Observer in a Sopwtih 1 and a half strutter, 70 Sqdn. (They lost 4 aircraft that day).

Had 4 sisters: (Antoinette Eileen Maude, 29, living at Donadea Lodge, West End; Esme Hilda, 28, nursing at The Hospital for Officers, Ecclestone Square; Irene, 25, Erwood Hall, Buxton). Also a brother.

His MC was awarded after his death, and his brother accepted it at an official ceremony somewhere.

His name is inscribed on the memorial in West End.

Height, 5' 4"; weight 133 pounds; chest 36" (3" expansion).

Might be worth seeing if any Grimsby Battalion experts know him. I'm sure I remember his battalion as being 10th.

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He is not recorded among the list of awards in the appendix in Bryant's book about the Chums. His MIC records him as E/1315. MIC I'm pretty sure the 'E' is a mistake here and should read '8'. 99% sure he was not a Terrier.

But could be wrong!


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Steve, the MIC link won't work for me. Would the "8" indicate (presumably) 8th Battalion? As he was then commissioned, would that have been into the same Bn? I must get back up to kew for a look at his records: I'm thinking he might not appear in the Chums book (if he was in the 10th) because he had left the Bn well before the MC was gazetted. I wish I could find the notes I made; the stuff I posted is from the booklet we produced, and I'm rather sure I had a bit more.

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Steve was correct with the 8th Battalion correction (ceratinly for his time as an officer, but his number does suggest 10th Bn originally). Rudolph Preston recieves as far as i can find three mentions in the 8th Bn War Diary as follows:

6/10/15 - 6pm. Part of draft of 4 officers and 40 men drafted from 3rd Lincs Bn

Apr 16 - Appendix of officers lists him as a Platoon Commander and Acting Intelligence Officer. Passed grenade course at 2nd Army. Also states TERDE CHEM (not sure what that means)

1/8/16 - Lt. R A Preston left for RFC.

No mention as far as i can see for 1st July but would have been with the 8th almost certainly given the info above


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To add to last email Simpson (page 166) details the actions of Lt Preston with the 8th Lincolns on 1st july 1916 at Fricourt. He was posted at the junction of Lonely Trench with Lozenge Alley to guard against counter attacks which as his citation shows he did. Also mentions the capture of two German drums which were sent back to regimental depot at lincoln.


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Passed grenade course at 2nd Army. Also states TERDE CHEM (not sure what that means)


Thanks Chris - interesting stuff.

Is it possible that Terdechem is the location of the grenade school?

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Gareth

I just came across your Lt R.A. Preston post -- and I think I may have some extra info on him. I believe him to be mentioned in Alan Bott's memoir published in 1917 "An Airman's Outings," which was elliptical in its references due to the war still being on. Bott was 70 Sqn and the period was Sept., 1916. Let me quote:

"After landing, we compared notes with others who had returned

from the expedition. C., we learned, was down at last,

after seventeen months of flying on active service,

with only one break for any appreciable time. He

destroyed one more enemy before the Boches got him. In

the dive he got right ahead of the two machines that

followed him. As these hurried to his assistance, they

saw an enemy plane turn over, show a white, gleaming

belly, and drop in zigzags. C.'s bus was then seen to

heel over into a vertical dive and to plunge down,

spinning rhythmically on its axis. Probably he was shot

dead and fell over on to the joystick, which put the

machine to its last dive. The petrol tank of the second

machine to arrive among the Huns was plugged by a

bullet, and the pilot was forced to land. Weeks later,

his observer wrote us a letter from a prison camp in

Hanover. The third bus, perforated by scores of

bullet-holes, got back to tell the tale.

"C. was one of the greatest pilots produced by the war.

He was utterly fearless, and had more time over the

German lines to his credit than any one else in the

Flying Corps. It was part of his fatalistic creed that

Archie should never be dodged, and he would go calmly

ahead when the A.-A. guns were at their best. Somehow,

the bursts never found him. He had won both the D.S.O.

and the M.C. for deeds in the air. Only the evening

before, when asked lightly if he was out for a V.C., he

said he would rather get Boelcke than the V.C.; and in

the end Boelcke probably got him, for he fell over the

famous German pilot's aerodrome, and that day the

German wireless announced that Boelcke had shot down

two more machines. Peace to the ashes of a fine pilot

and a very brave man!"

I think "C." must be Capt. Cruikshank. If so, this passage represents an eye-witness report of Preston's fate. Incidentally, Bott himself went on after the war to found both the Book Club and Pan the paperback publishers.

Any more details needed, I can be reached at gurgast@aol.com

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