Rowland John Burston was born at Ipstones in August 1887, the son of Rowland John and Elizabeth Burston, the second of their seven children. During his early life the family lived at various locations with sibling children being born at Consall, Kingsley, Holsley (Worcs) and Bockleton (Worcs). In 1901 the family were living at Swimley Cottage, Bockleton, Nr Bewdley, Worcestershire. (1901 Census). Later in 1915 his parents were living at Foxtwood, Foxt, Staffs. (Army Records).
In April 1912 Rowland, (then aged 24yrs), married Fanny Everall. The couple initially lived at The Vineyard, Rowley Lane, Bodenham, Herefordshire. By this stage Rowland was employed as a Gamekeeper and this may have resulted in him travelling extensively. In June 1912 the couple were living at Mildenhall, Suffolk. (1911 Census). Later the couple returned to Herefordshire, living at Pea Green, Bodenham. There were no children from the marriage. (Army Records).
On 29th July 1915 Rowland Burston (aged 28yrs) enlisted joining the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), Service No. 65135, at which stage he was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed a little under 9 stone. Following his initial examination the Medical Officer described him as ‘Bow Legged, Flat Footed, with the tip of his right index finger missing. Fit for action’. (Army Medical Records).
In September 1915 following initial training Rowland was posted to Northern France. In November 1915 he was redeployed to Salonika, (now called Thessalonika), Northern Greece, and allocated to the 68th Field Ambulance, dealing with casualties in that area of conflict.
In December 1917 Rowland Burston contracted Pneumonia. On 9th December he was admitted to the 31st Casualty Clearing Station at Sarigol, Greece. He failed to respond to treatment and sadly died on 12th December. Capt E Davies (RAMC) Medical Officer commented, “His illness was contracted subsequently to enlistment and entirely due, in my opinion, to exposure whilst on active service.” (Army Medical Records).
The memorial to Rowland Burston is at the Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Northern Greece.
As well as Kingsley Rowland Burston is also commemorated on a memorial in Eriswell Suffolk which is some 10 miles from Mildenhall. Whilst living there before the war he gave his address as in Hertfordshire on enlistment which was in Newmarket Suffolk.
Footnote 1: In 1914 the Ottoman empire joined the Austro – German alliance against the Allied powers in return for a promise that Macedonia would be returned to Turkish rule. Early Turkish offensives were unsuccessful; an attack against Russia was repelled and ended with Russia seizing Armenia. Turkish efforts against other western allies fared better. The landing by British empire forces at Gallipoli in April 1915 was repelled after 9 months while a combined Anglo French force stationed at Salonica in October 1915 was bottled up there until 1918. (The Times – History of the World).
Footnote 2: Rowland John Burston was the uncle of Christine Fowler, (nee Burston), now living in Church Street, Kingsley.