Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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216   Rifleman Charles Preston
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 08/11/2021
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 06/01/1871
Died: 27/11/1915 (Home)
Age: 44
Summary      
Charles Preston was born on 6th January 1870 in Clabby, County Fermanagh. The 1911 census lists Charles as age 40 living with his wife Mary Jane and family at house 43 in Seskinore, Omagh, County Tyrone. Charles was a general labourer. Charles enlisted at Finner Camp, County Donegal. He was living in the Omagh at the time. Private Charles Preston was serving with the 18th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles when he died at home on Saturday 27th Nov 1915. Private Charles Preston is buried in Seskinore, Omagh, County Tyrone.
Further Information
Charles Preston was the eldest son of John and Mary Preston. John Preston and Mary Keys were married on 12th October 1866 in the district of Fermanagh.
Charles Preston was born on 6th January 1870 in Clabby, Tempo, County Fermanagh. He was one of at least six children, all but the youngest being born in Clabby.
Known family: John Preston, Mary Preston, Anne Preston (born 16th November 1868, Tempo), Charles Preston (born 6th January 1870, Tempo), Andrew Preston (born 2nd June 1872, Tempo), James Preston (born 11th December 1873, Tempo), Mary Preston (born 8th August 1875, Tempo), Margaret Preston (born 8th August 1875, Fintona).
Charles Preston married Mary Jane Keys about 1892. No record can be found on GRONI.
Charles and Mary Jane went on to have at least eight children, most of whom where born in Fintona.
Family: Charles P Preston, Mary Jane Preston, John Preston (born about 1893, Fintona), Cassie Preston (born 4th July 1893, Fintona), William Preston (born 15th June 1895, twin, Fintona), Joseph Preston (born 15th June 1895, twin, Fintona), Mary Ann Preston (born 6th April 1900, Belfast), Thomas Preston (born 7th November 1901, Belfast), Caroline Preston (born 4th April 1903, Fintona), Charles Preston (born 7th August 1905, Fintona), Rebecca Rubie Shea Preston (born 18th April 1906, Fintona).
Charles was formerly in the army, and fought through the South African campaign.
The 1901 census does not list Charles as living with his wife and family at house 1 in Drumragh, Caldwell, Loughmuck, County Tyrone. Mary Jane is described as a soldier’s wife.
The 1911 census lists Charles as age 40 living with his wife Mary Jane and family at house 43 in Seskinore, Omagh, County Tyrone. Charles was a general labourer.
Prior to the outbreak of war, he had been in the employment of Colonel J K McClintock, D.L., officer commanding the 3rd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Londonderry.
Charles enlisted at Finner Camp, County Donegal. He was living in the Omagh at the time. He volunteered in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, but was subsequently transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles.
One of his sons was serving at the front, and another was in America, while his wife Mary Jane had care of four younger members of the family at home.
Private Charles Preston was serving with the 18th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles when he died at home in the Fintona area on Saturday 27th Nov 1915. It seems he died in a fire.
The funeral took place from his late home, a little cottage on the Seskinore Estate, County Tyrone, of Private Preston, and the remains were reverently laid to rest in the quiet graveyard in Seskinore, Omagh, County Tyrone.
Colonel McClintock personally attended as a mark of respect for a trusted employee and a gallant soldier, and the pall bearers consisted of a number of men of the Inniskillings from Omagh depot. Rev Dr Hunter, rector of the parish, conducted an impressive funeral service.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 30th November 1915: Tyrone Fire Tragedy – Funeral of Private Preston
The funeral took place yesterday afternoon from his late home, a little cottage on the Seskinore Estate, County Tyrone, of Private Charles Preston, of the 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, and the remains were reverently laid to rest in the quiet graveyard in Seskinore. The deceased, prior to the outbreak of war, had been in the employment of Colonel J K McClintock, D.L., officer commanding the 3rd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Londonderry, and was held in high regard by the people of the district. He was formerly in the army, having fought through the South African campaign, and shortly after the outbreak of the present war, he volunteered in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Ulster Division), but was subsequently transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles. One of his sons is serving at the front, and another is in America, while his wife had care of four younger members of the family at home. The funeral was exceptionally large, the attendance including practically every person in the vicinity. Colonel McClintock personally attended as a mark of respect for a trusted employee and a gallant soldier, and the pall bearers consisted of a number of men of the Inniskillings from Omagh depot. Rev Dr Hunter, rector of the parish, conducted an impressive funeral service.
Private Charles Preston is buried in Seskinore Church of Ireland Churchyard, near Omagh. His inscription reads: ABSENT FROM THE BODY PRESENT WITH THE LORD
Private Charles Preston is commemorated locally on Fivemiletown War Memorial.
The CWGC record Private Charles Preston as the husband of Mary Jane Preston of Drumskinney, Dromore.
Private Charles Preston is listed on page 18 of the Fivemiletown book, from which most of these details come from. Many thanks to Mark Byers for the information.
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Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Clabby Fivemiletown Born in Clabby 54.401174 -7.371161
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Preston family Does not list Charles as living with the family at house 1 in Drumragh, Caldwell, Loughmuck, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Preston family Lists Charles as age 40 living with his family at house 43 in Seskinore, Tyrone
3 Facebook - War Graves Ulster Project Photo of Charles Preston's grave
4 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private Charles Preston's s grave can be purchased here
5 War-related Graves in Tyrone Cause of Death: Died of Suffocation at Seskinore, County Tyrone (Accidental fire)
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021