Topic: Felix Henry Chevallier Preston

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Felix Henry Chevallier Preston (Service No. 28941) was a First World War soldier with links to Sumner

Felix Henry Chevallier Preston Felix was born at Lincoln Canterbury New Zealand on Friday 11th July 1884. He was the 4th child of Alfred Chevallier Preston, a surgeon from Suffolk, UK and Harriet Eliza (nee Cane) of Sussex, England.  His siblings included Dora Mary (b. 1882), Charles Arthur Chevallier (b. 1883; enlisted Service No. 92919 & survived war), Ethel Frances Georgina (b.1885), and Margaret Josephine (b.1886).  The family moved to the Sumner area in 1891 however Dr. Preston died the following year when Henry was just 8 yrs old. His mother them took in boarders at their 7 Head Street property until the end of 1916 at which time she appears to have returned to the UK (5 Laurie Road, Wimbledon, London SW) where she died in 1917. His brother Charles then took over the property at Head Street and became Felix’s next of kin.

Felix was a single Anglican man of 31 years of age and stood at 5’ 7” tall with a tanned complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes.  At the time of his enlistment on the 28th June 1916 he was boarding with his sister Ethel Ayes at Mays Road and working as a merchant for the Canterbury Seed Company, Christchurch. 

On enlistment Felix was assigned to the position of Corporal with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He arrived at Trentham Military camp on 29th June 1916 and he was promoted to Sergeant was on 29th August.

Felix departed New Zealand on the Port of Lyttelton (HMNZT 71) on 7th December 1916 with the 20th Reinforcements NZ Expeditionary Force first draft and NZ Rifle Brigade 11th Reinforcement to 4th Battalion. They arrived at Plymouth England on 18 February 1917. After disembarking the ship the troops marched to Sling Camp. Felix was temporarily demoted, but on 30th March 1917 was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal then to Corporal on the 13th May.  The Battalion left for France on 28th May.

On 26th July 1917 Felix was killed in the field in Belgium. He is buried in the London Rifle Brigade Military Cemetery Belgium along with 33 other New Zealand Soldiers.

He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which were presented to his brother Charles on 21st October 1921.

Felix is remembered on the Sumner War Memorial plaque.


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Felix Henry Chevallier Preston

First Names:Felix Henry Chevallier
Last Name:Preston
Place of Birth: Lincoln Canterbury New Zealand