Ronald Preston was born circa 1920, in Shropshire, according to his Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945 Transcription. I did find a birth of a Ronald A. Preston in the March quarter of 1920 (Mt.Drayton Vol. 6a Page 1562), but nowhere is Ronald referred to as Ronald A. Preston in any documents I have seen, so there is a question mark over this. A birth certificate would need to be purchased to confirm or deny this.
He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Preston, which gave me another problem, the name of his mother, but if the birth entry is correct, that tells us that his mother’s name was Simcock, so I looked for a marriage between an Arthur Preston and a lady with the name of Simcock and I do think that I have found it. Arthur Preston married Mary Elizabeth Simcock in Market Drayton in 1917, they were married in St. John the Baptist Church in Ashley, Staffordshire and the marriage was registered in December quarter of 1917 (Market Drayton Vol. 6a Page 1577).
I do not know anything about Ronald’s early life or teen years, so any information to help tell his story and make sure he is not forgotten would be gratefully received.
I believe that Arthur Preston*, Ronald’s father is seen on the 1939 National Register, taken on the 29th September 1939, living at Ivy Cottage , Hawarden, Flintshire. I do not know the relationships in the household, (please see the Register below) but this source tells us Arthur’s birth date of 22nd May 1894 and he was a Fitter’s Labourer and married, but Mary Elizabeth is not in the household. I cannot find her on any 1939 National Register, but as Arthur states he was married, I am presuming that she had not died, unless it was a clerical error by the Enumerator. Neither could I find Ronald, and according to the newspaper report, Ronald had been in the forces 2 years before his death, since 1942, so he should be on one somewhere.
*I have the baptisms of Arthur’s 12 siblings and the burial of two of them, if anyone wants them please contact the website.
Ronald met and married Rose Tudor in the March quarter of 1943 in the Methodist Church in Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold)A144/02/E36). The only female child’s birth circa 1943 I can find is for a Phyllis M Preston, who’s birth was registered in the December quarter of 1943. (St Asaph Denbighshire North ASAPH/B03/E458).
Rose Tudor was born in 1919, (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/25A/27) and the newspaper report tells us that she was the daughter of Councillor Tom TUDOR, of Penarlag. This source also tells us that he was a Bricksetter but I don’t know where he worked before the Army.
I do not know exactly when Ronald was either conscripted or enlisted but it seems that it was in 1942.
However it seems that Ronald was to be involved with his regiment in the Normandy Landings and subsequent fighting, Thanks to TD form WW2 Forum http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/6th-battalion-the-royal-scots-fusiliers.30144/page-2 who gave me these links of events of the 6th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers leading up to Roland’s fate on the 26th June 1944. Many thanks to TD and the Forum in general for all their help over the last few years.
From these links, it appears that Ronald was involved in Operation Epsom (also known as the First Battle of the Odon).
Please click on this link as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_for_Operation_Epsom
Excerpt from the above website:-
The 4/5th and 6th battalions both saw service in the European Campaign in 1944-1945 with the 6th also serving in France in 1940, assigned to 51st (Highland) Infantry Division and part of the BEF. The 4/5th Battalion was the TA 4th and 5th battalions merged and became part of 156th Infantry Brigade assigned to the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Corbett commanded the 6th Battalion during the Battle of France in June 1940. The 6th Battalion was reassigned to the 46th Infantry Brigade part of 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division, the 2nd Line duplicate of the 52nd, and served with them during the Battle of Normandy.
Casualty List 1513 (Page 27) tells us that Ronald was reported missing on the 29th June 1944.
Casualty List 1565 (Page 15) Tells us that Ronald was first missing on the 29th June 1944, but now reported Killed in Action on the 26th June 1944.
CWGC Graves Concentration Report Form tells us that Ronald was buried, probably on the day he died and probably where he died, at St. Manvieu, and then reburied on the 11th October 1945 at Hottot-Les-Bagues, British Cemetery, Calvodos.
According to the other CWGC Graves Registration Report Form, he was the only 6th Bn Royal Scots Fusilier buried on that report. It seems the others who are now buried with him were found and reburied on the same day, but not from the same place.
Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Citation:-
The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. Most of the burials in Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery were brought in from the surrounding district, where there was much heavy fighting through June and July 1944 as Commonwealth forces tried to press on from Bayeux in an encircling movement to the south of Caen. The cemetery contains 1,005 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 56 of them unidentified, and 132 German graves. There are 21 Special Memorials within the above, bearing the inscription “Buried near this spot.”
Ronald was well loved by his family as they made sure that his name was added to the WW2 War Memorial so his name will be remembered for perpetuity.
I am adding the items below, in case they are connected, any help in confirming or denying would be gratefully received.
Is this Arthur’s death cert.? If it is, he died before Mary Elizabeth who died in 1961. His death is recorded in the September quarter of 1960, age 61, which is not quite right, if this is the right person, but any information would be gratefully received. (Ruthin Vol. 8a Page 326).
Again, did Mary Elizabeth Preston die a year after Arthur as in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-199, this may be Ronald’s mother – Here is her probate:-
PRESTON, Mary Elizabeth of Bath House, Hixon, Staffordshire, Widow, died 22nd January 1961 at the General Infirmary, Stafford. Administration, Chester 15th March 1963 to Arthur PRESTON*, Labourer and John William PRESTON, Farmer.
*Arthur is named as a Legatee, but Mary Elizabeth may have made to Will out before Arthur died.
Also I believe that this is the death of Thomas TUDOR – Rose’s father – in the March quarter of 1970, (Hawarden, Flintshire Vol. 8a Page 2835), his death was registered in January of that year. His date of birth of the 16th May 1891, coincides with the date on the 1939 National Register, when he and his wife and family were living at 18 Ridgeway , Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, (see the Register below.)
I think that Rose may have married again, but I am not quite sure, although I have some information on that, but would like to confirm before adding this to Ronald’s story, so please get in touch with the website. I do hope that Rose found happiness again.
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE REMEMBER HIM R.I.P.