Private Stan Cresswell, Princes Louise's Kensington Regiment

Photo:Private Stan Cresswell on his Norton - but where?

Private Stan Cresswell on his Norton - but where?

Courtesy of Victor VonChidgey

Photo:Private Cresswell's grave at Hothfield where he last served

Private Cresswell's grave at Hothfield where he last served

We remember them

Photo:Private Cresswell with fellow soldiers

Private Cresswell with fellow soldiers

Courtesy of Victor VonChidgey

Died in service and buried at Hothfield

By Chris Rogers

Private Stanley Cresswell

We do not know much about Pvt. Cresswell except that he joined the 1st Battalion of the Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment who were posted to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force establishment (possibly in the 56th Division).

They were evacuated from France in the Dunkerque Evacuations (and are thought to have left on the steamer ‘Lady of Man’).  Once back in England the Regiment was accommodated by the Middlesex Regiment at Mill Hill and were retrained as a Medium Machine Gun Battalion.  Forces Chaplain Capt. Rev. Frank Bennett gave a special service of thanks and prayed for fellow Kensingtons whose fate at that time was still uncertain (some of their number, including the 13th Division, had been diverted to Le Havre and were not to be evacuated until after the Dunkerque operations).  Little could the Padre have known that he was soon to bury one of his number at Hothfield.

On 5 July 1940 most of the Battalion left London and arrived by rail at Ashford train station and then marched to Hothfield to join the massed armies billeted there (on the Common, in the Manor and other nearby buildings).

The Battalion was detailed to support the infantry on the coast (this being just after the Dunkerque evacuations and withdrawal from France).  The Company was responsible for defending Herne Bay, Sarre, Bishopstone, Reculver, Minnis Bay with the 1st London Infantry at Greatstone and Whitstable.

Stanley Cresswell was given the job as courier (Despatch Rider) ferrying messages around the coast and to and from Hothfield during this busy and strategic time.  He was given an Army Norton motorcycle to deliver his mail and messages.

Sadly after only a few weeks posted at Hothfield Pvt.Cresswell was killed in an accident on the Ashford to Canterbury Road (A28).  The circumstances of his death, on 29th July 1940, are unknown at present.  Cresswell had no known relatives or family to claim his body and so was buried, with full Military Honours, at St.Margaret’s, Hothfield by Frank Bennett FC on 1st August 1940.  The register of burials at St.Margaret’s church gives Pvt. Cresswell’s age as 22.

This page was added by Chris Rogers on 20/10/2013.

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