Ajax Veterans Street Dedication: Preston Court
- Media Type:
- Street Name: Preston Court
Name of Veteran: Samuel William Preston 1911-Oct.12, 1940
Rank: Ordinary Seaman
Ship Served: HMS Ajax
Date of Service on Ship: 1940
Year of Visit/Dedication: June 2003
Veteran or Family Visit:
Veteran of the Battle of the River Plate: No
Died at Battle: No
Samuel Preston died on Saturday October 12, 1940, during action east of Malta along with 12 others (the largest Ajax loss). He was twenty nine years old.
The official report was as follows; Ajax provided cover for Convoy MF4 to Alexandria with Fleet units and deployed with ships of Squadron east of Fleet. In close range night action with HM Cruisers Orion, Sydney and York, screened by HM Destroyers Nubian and Mohawk against Italian convoy in Gulf of Otranto. Two destroyers, Airone and Ariel were sunk and destroyer Artigliere was damaged. Ajax was hit by seven shells resulting in thirty five casualties including thirteen killed.
The STRATFORD EXPRESS from April 27, 1961 reported the following;
"Grey-haired widow Grace Preston sat stunned as I broke the news that a Canadian town is to honour the sailor son who died in one of the World War II's major sea battles”, writes ALAN SHILLUM in the STRATFORD EXPRESS of Suburban Essex and East London.
"It's very nice", said 71-year-old Mrs. Preston who moved from Sultan-road, Wanstead, to her new home in South Woodford three years ago. "Willie - that's what I called Sam - was SUCH a good boy. He was my baby. I'm glad he's remembered ... but I wish it was nearer. I'd like to see his name up on a street. I still
think about him. But all I've got to remember him are some photos and an identity disc", she said this week.
Chrome-plater Sam went to Stratford's Colegrave school before the family moved to Wanstead from Chobbam-road. "He joined the Navy as soon as war started," said Mrs. Preston."They buried what was left of him at sea. He was just blown to bits." A few month's later Mrs. Preston's husband died--heartbroken.
A tree was planted in honour of Ordinary Seaman Preston by Town Council under the Millennium Tree Planting Project in June 2003.
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- Location of Original:
- Original document and image located in the Ajax Archives.
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