PRIVATE WILLIAM CYRIL KINGSTON.
2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Service number; 14601247.
Died on August 14th 1944.
Aged 36 years.
Bayeux War Cemetery,
PRIVATE WILLIAM CYRIL KINGSTON.
Died August 14th 1944, aged 36 years.
Son of William and Ethel Kingston, of Castor, Northamptonshire.
Report copied from The Peterborough Standard, dated August 25th 1944:
Pte. William Cyril Kingston, Royal Warwickshire Regt., second son of Mrs. and the late Mr. W. Kingston, Prince of Wales Inn, Castor: Died of wounds on August 14th in North West Europe. Aged 36, he was educated at Peterborough Technical School, later working as a carpenter for Bagley and Cooper of Peterborough. He was a member of Milton Cricket Club and played football for Castor. His younger brother, L/Cpl John Kingston, is serving in France.
Report copied from The Peterborough Standard, dated September 1st 1944:
SOLDIER’S DEATH. - Much sympathy is felt for Mrs. W. Kingston and family in their bereavement through the death of Private William Cyril Kingston, on active service. He was the second son of Mrs. and the late Mr. W. Kingston of the Prince of Wales Inn.
There is a memorial stone in Castor churchyard with the following inscription:
William Cyril Kingston
Died of wounds 14th August 1944.
Interred in France.
Aged 36 years.
Further information about William Kingston on following pages.
WILLIAM CYRIL KINGSTON
BORN 10TH SEPTEMBER 1907
DIED 14TH AUGUST 1944
William Cyril Kingston was interred at the English Cemetery at Bayeux following his death from wounds sustained during fighting to close the Falaise Gap near Caen, Normandy. This battle was judged by many to be the turning point of the second world war, within the European theatre.
Around five thousand headstones mark the graves of soldiers, mostly under the age of twenty-five, many of them teenagers, some of them brothers. Cyril received only the basic training for the D-Day landings. This particular campaign lasted only two days after Cyril’s death.
William Cyril was born in the house next to the Congregational Chapel, Church Hill, Castor. He was the second son of William and Ethel Kingston, whose family consisted of three sons and five daughters. He sang as a boy soprano for many years in the church choir. After leaving Castor Fitzwilliam School he attended the Technical College on Broadway, Peterborough, learning the trade of carpenter/joiner, and was indentured to Mr. R. S. Jellings as an apprentice for four years. His wages were sixteen shillings (80p) per week for the first year, rising two shillings a week per year, until he was earning twenty-two shillings (£1.10) a week when his apprenticeship ended. He continued to work for R. S. Jellings until the outbreak of the Second World War, when he was called by the government to help with repairing damage to airfield, etc. He was called up for service in the army and enlisted at Norwich on 6th May 1943, in his thirty-sixth year.
Cyril was a talented sportsman, playing football for Castor and Ailsworth, also the Post Office Engineers, Peterborough. He was vice captain of the Milton Park Cricket Club, which was formed soon after the family moved to live at Milton Ferry when his father was promoted to Clerk of Works by Mr. G. Fitzwilliam. He was also quite proficient at the game of darts and made many friends in the villages.
Every year the village lads would hire a lorry plus camping equipment and off they would go for their annual holiday at Heacham. Everyone had a most enjoyable time.
For a short while Cyril served with the Anglian Regiment, which then merged with the Royal Hertfordshire Regiment. He joined D Company where he remained until being assimilated into the Second Royal Warwickshire Regiment during the course of the battles subsequent to the Normandy landings.
His last letter to his mother was written on August 13th 1944, and he died of wounds on August 14th 1944.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of World War Two, an article appeared in the Peterborough Evening Telegraph and the Citizen which caught the eye of Cyril’s youngest sister. Mr. Ces Lunn of Longthorpe had given an interview to the Citizen about his time in France and mentioned the death of his friend Billy Kingston. She contacted him and asked him to describe how it had happened. He was only too glad to speak about his friend as follows:
“We were unable to remove the Germans from Caen and had been forced to
retreat and reorganise ourselves three times. We finished up in the Warwickshire
Regiment. After we had dug ourselves in we had a field of high grass in front
of us, and behind that was a large dense wood. We weren’t sure whether
there were Germans there so
a patrol was sent to find out. Cyril was one of these and he called out and waved as they passed us. It was a lovely day, blue sky and not a cloud to be seen. Everything went suddenly very quiet and still. Then we heard two gunshots - only two - and the order to advance was given. We had to flush the Germans out of the wood. I saw two stretchers being rushed back to base and I called out to the bearers to ask who had been wounded. One of them was Cyril, so I shouted, “how bad?” and one of the bearers waved his hand across his chest and I knew that he had probably gone. The other chap had a leg wound and I think that he recovered. I still have nightmares, and those of us who survived were very lucky.”
Ces Lunn was a very sprightly eighty-one year old, although he had had much personal sorrow in his life. Cyril had been a close friend for years. Ces also knew Eric, the eldest brother, very well, and although he had never met John the youngest, he knew of him.
Cyril died the day after he was wounded but so great was the carnage that his family knew nothing about this until fourteen days later. His army career was a mere sixteen months.
Some time later a memorial service was held one evening in St. Kyneburgha’s
Church, Castor, and a pair of standard oak candlesticks for the altar, given
by his mother, were consecrated. the church was filled to capacity and the Rev.
Tom Adler, an army chaplain during the war, arranged the service, which included
the hymns, Onward Christian Soldiers and Sunset and Evening Star, the words
of which were written as a poem by Lord Alfred Tennnyson. Sometime later, a
processional candlesticks, now in the Lady Chapel, were presented to the church, commemorating the early deaths of Eric and John Kingston, by Mrs. Gladys Kingston and the sisters of Eric, John and Cyril.
Thus the old Castor family’s history is now complete.