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drinng1Arthur Dring was born in Preston in 1897 to George and Maria Dring (nee Latham). Arthur`s parents were not originally from Preston, his father had been born in Cambridgeshire and his mother came from Manchester. At some time after the 1881 Census they both arrived in Preston and married in the town in 1887.

Arthur had five siblings, Alfred (1889), Alice (1891), Emily (1893), Annie (1895) and William (1899).

After George and Maria married they were living at 96 Brook Street in Preston and George Dring was working on Preston Docks as a labourer. By 1901 they had moved house and the family home was now 32 Parker Street but Arthur`s father had left the docks and had gone to work as a fireman in a cotton mill.

George Dring died in 1904 and it would appear that shortly after his death Arthur and his youngest sister Annie were sent to live in an orphanage in Hampshire. The orphanage was run by the Primitive Methodists and was in the small village of Alresford about seven miles from Winchester.

In 1911 Arthur and Annie were still resident in the orphanage while their mother Maria was still living in Parker Street in Preston. The three oldest children Alfred, Alice and Emily and also William who was the youngest were still at Parker Street with their mother. The older children were all working full time in a cotton mill but even twelve year old William was earning some money. He was a `half timer` which meant he went to school for half a day and then went to work in the mill as a weaver`s tenter.

We do not know when Arthur and his sister came back to Preston or even if they arrived back together but after he did come home he found a job as a spinner in Maynard`s Mill in Bold Street, Preston.

Unfortunately Arthur`s service record seems to be one of those destroyed in WW2 so information on his service is limited. However, according to the newspaper article below he enlisted in August 1915 so he would have been eighteen years old. He was initially allocated the number 4360 which changed to 201683 when the new style numbers were brought out in January 1917.

The newspaper article also states that he was sent to France on 3 March, 1916 so this would have been with a batch of reinforcements. After arriving in France he was posted to “D” Company of the 1/4th Battalion and then later become a Signaller which was a very precarious job and not known for having a very high survival rate.

In April 1918 Arthur was recommended for and then later awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct during the battle at Givenchy, he was just one of many who received an award around this time. 

Givenchy, April 1918

The country to the north of the spur was dead flat for miles, and the roads were all overlooked from the crest of the hill. Every effort had been made to strengthen the position by the construction of a series of tunnels for shelter during bombardments, but the exits from these were not of the best. A certain amount of cementing had also been done. By April 9th the GIVENCHY – FESTUBERT area was a mass of apron fencing stretching back in depth for several thousand yards.

The dangers of this tunnel system and the difficulties of negotiating the mass of wire in this area necessitated careful practice in the action of the troops holding it. Posts were manned daily from the tunnel system, this action being timed and every Officer, N.C.O., and man thus learnt his way about the whole system of defence.

The action of the Battalion in support was definitely laid down. No counterattack across the open was to be made on account of the number of apron fences; in the event of the enemy penetrating at any point into the line, further penetration was to be stopped by the supports, and when the enemy was pocketed he was to be cut off by movement along the trench system against his flanks and rear. All posts and strong points were wired in all round, and had orders to fight to the last even if surrounded. All this careful preparation bore fruit later, on April 9th, which was, as a battle, a most remarkable example of the value of taking the British solider into your confidence and making him understand why he was ordered to do something.

Arthur went on to receive a Bar to his Military Medal for his actions on the 30 September, 1918 when two companies of the 1/4th Battalion were involved in an attack on a German stronghold south of the La Bassee Canal.

Unfortunately they incurred heavy casualties during a counter attack, one of which was Arthur who received some quite serious injuries. He was sent back down the line and eventually transported back to England and admitted to the Birmingham War Hospital for treatment.

The Preston Guardian later published an article noting his achievements.


Arthur did eventually recover and was officially discharged from the Army on 11 May, 1919 under section W.Para.392xvia – surplus to military requirements (having suffered impairment since entry into the service). He was awarded a Silver War Badge with the number 02345.

He also received the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his services to his country.

By 1920 Arthur had recovered enough to be able to play in the Fylde Road Primitive Methodist football team with his brother Alfred. The team were members of the Preston and District Sunday School League.

On the 7 August, 1924 Arthur got married to Edith Thompson at the Primitive Methodist Church on Fylde Road in Preston, his occupation at the time was a motor lorry driver and he was living at 85 Eldon Street in Preston.

The couple had two sons, Brian Peter (1926-2003) and Geoffrey William (1929-1992). Not long after his second son Geoffrey was born Arthur went to work on the buses and on a couple of occasions he ended up in Court accused of speeding.

On the first occasion he appeared in court in Leyland and this was reported on by the Lancashire Evening Post. It seems Arthur was not entirely happy with the methods used to catch him and obviously felt the need to comment on it.

28th September, 1931 – “We don`t expect you to travel at 340 miles per hour yet” said the Magistrates Clerk (Mr. J Stanton) at Leyland today, Arthur Dring of Preston, who was summoned for exceeding the speed limit and who in critising the police methods of estimating his speed instanced the means used to estimate speeds in the Schneider Cup races*. Dring was fined 30 shillings.”

(*The Schneider Cup races involved seaplanes and flying boats and the cup was competed for annually by countries. The race in 1931 was won by Great Britain and the speed of the winning plane was recorded as 340.08 miles per hour).

The second occasion was in Lytham and again it was reported on by the local paper.

18th July, 1932 –“ Arthur Dring, Balcarres Road, Preston was fined £1 and costs at Lytham today, for driving a motor bus at an excessive speed, and ordered to pay costs for failing to sign his driving licence”

Arthur`s wife Edith died in Preston in the March quarter of 1971 and Arthur passed away twelve months later in the March quarter of 1972 at the age of 75.

Additional family information

drinng345998 Private William Dring 11th South Wales Borderers.  Enlisted 22 February 1917 and embarked on 17 October 1917 and died at No. 7 General Hospital, St. Omer of wounds received in action at Cambrai the same day.

William was buried at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery. Pre-war his occupation was a cotton spinner. He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals.

Janet Davis
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4 Responses to 201683 CPL. A. DRING. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Hollie Dring says:

    Such an interesting read – I have learnt facts about my Great Grandfather that I never knew before. Thanks to Janet for putting the time into writing this.

    Hollie Dring (Granddaughter to Geoffrey Dring, daughter to Paul).

  2. Paul Dring says:

    This was a really interesting website. I am a son of Geoffrey Dring who was mentioned in this piece. Geoffrey Dring had 2 sons (Paul, myself, and Mark). He also had 2 daughters, Lesley and Melanie.
    Feel free to contact me if you would like any further information.
    Myself and my sister Lesley visited the grave of Pte William Dring in St Omer on Monday this week for the first time and planted one of the poppies from the Tower of London on his grave in rememberance.

    • Janet Davis says:

      Hi Hollie and Paul,

      I`m pleased you both found the article on Arthur Dring interesting and thank you for taking the time to comment, it is very much appreciated.

      Kind regards

  3. Thank you Janet Davis for this article about my grandfather Arthur Dring. It is very enlightening, and brought back fond memories of Pop as I knew him in the 1960’s-70’s.
    I have shared the link to this page with my sister Jennifer. We are the daughters of Brian Dring, and cousin to Paul.

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