The people of Bergh Apton have, over many years, amassed a wealth of information about the village and its people.
You can search the latest index of the Bergh Apton Archive using the search box below – please note that search text is case-sensitive (“school” is not the same as “School”). Click on the little + symbol to see the full data available.
If you wish to view the full document then please get in touch, but do bear in mind that the archive is entirely run by volunteers, usually meeting once a month. Be sure to provide the “Full Ref” (click the + sign and then scroll down) of the items you are interested in viewing as well as your contact details. We regret that we are unable to provide electronic or posted copies of archive material – you will need to make an appointment to come along to one of the regular archive sessions (usually a Tuesday afternoon at Bergh Apton Village Hall).
This map of Bergh Apton shows you where all the commemorative figures are placed throughout the village. In the great majority of cases the figure stands outside a house where we know a man lived during his life in the village. Others stand where our research gives us confidence that we know the road but not the precise house. In only five cases are we uncertain of the right place; three are at the church gates and two are at the junction of Dodger’s Lane – that was once known as Weddup’s Lane.
The key is as follows:
1. ALEXANDER, Walter 2. ANNIS, Arthur
3. BEAUMONT, Robert 4. BLIGH, Alfred
5. BOGGIS, Alfred 6. BRACEY William
7. CARR, Leonard 8. CUBITT, Alfred
9. DAVEY, Edward 10. ETHERIDGE, Horace
11. EVERETT, Leonard 12. GILLINGWATER, Victor
13. GREENACRE, Henry 14. GREENACRE, Charles
15. HARBER, Freeman 16. HARVEY, Albert
17. HUNT, Ernest 18. KEDGE, Sidney
19. KEELER, Sidney 20. KING, Alfred
21. LEEDER, Ernest 22. MACE, Albert
23. MARKS, Sydney 24. MAYES, Harry
25. MITCHELL, Reginald 26. PARKER, Albert
27. PRESTON, John 28. ROPE, Alfred
29. ROPE, Leonard 30. STARMAN, William
31. STONE, Aubrey 32. STONE Thomas
33. THROWER, Herbert 34. THROWER, Walter
35. WALL, Clement 36. WEDDUP, Charles
37. WRIGHT, James 38. ALL WHO DIED
We have made a start in the quite daunting task of providing you with a page of information and captioned photographs for each man.
“Daunting” because there are thirty-seven of them and our knowledge of each man is comprehensive. Thus we must take care to tell you what we know but in a form and volume that will not overwhelm! The same is true, in the case of many of our men, of photographs.
But the task has begun and, in due course, we will have put on record something about each one of these men whom we honour in these pages.
JOHN HENRY PRESTON DCM
2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regt and Bombay City Police
Who died aged 29 on 9th January 1920
Buried in Sewri Cemetery in Bombay, India
John Preston was the son of Fred & Sarah Honor Preston of The Bell at Hellington Corner on the main road from Norwich to Lowestoft. He was baptised in Bergh Apton church on 30th March 1890.
Of all Bergh Apton’s war dead John Preston is one of the most intriguing in that he does not appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database of men who died.
He was a professional soldier who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, (the highest decoration for bravery after the Victoria Cross) in 1915 for his actions at the Battle of Barjiseyah Wood to the south of Basra.
In the 1911 Census John Preston is listed as a Private soldier, a Musician, serving in the 2nd Bn the Norfolk Regiment based in Belgaum, India, 500 km south of modern Mumbai.
Army Musiscians’ duities in battle are usually as stretcher-bearers so it is reasonable to assume that his bravery award was related to that role.
Following that battle his service record shows that he was saddled with long-term illness and hospitalisation and, eventually, his discharge from the Army in 1919 after which he continued service to the Crown in the Bombay Police with the rank of Sergeant.
Though John Preston died well after the Armistice of November 1918 his name was added to our village war memorial on the grounds that his death was directly linked to his war service in Mesopotamia.
More Family Background
John Preston came to our attention when we found that a memorial service had been held for him in Bergh Apton’s parish church on 12th March 1920.
Two years of searching, and a few strokes of luck, eventually tracked down his burial in Bombay’s Sewri cemetery following his death on 9th January 1920 from pneumonia while was serving with the Bombay City Police.
Following that lead we then found that Preston had married Agatha Gabriella da Rosario, who was of Portuguese descent, in Bombay on 19th May 1919 while still serving in the 2nd Norfolks.
His widow and his son Leyton, who died a young man, were frequent visitors to John’s parents who, by that time, had moved to the old Star public house on Star Lane, off the road from Hellington to Rockland St Mary.