Cue to link Dunstable snooker club with naval hero

Admiral Lionel Preston's home in Dunstable
Admiral Lionel Preston's home in Dunstable

Have you ever wondered why the building housing Dunstable Snooker Club in High Street North should be called Admiral Place?

The answer is that today’s business premises, also the base for Access Electrical Services, stands on the site of a beautiful Georgian mansion which was once the home of Admiral Sir Lionel Preston, the Fourth Sea Lord.

He came to live in Dunstable on his retirement in 1935.

Photographs of the old building are scarce, and this Yesteryear picture, from an amateur colour transparency, was taken when it was about to be demolished after the Admiral’s death in 1971.

Sir Lionel’s distinguished naval service included the daring rescue of most of the crew of HMS Bruiser while it was sinking in heavy weather off the coast of Malta.

He also gave brave assistance in 1914 to a fleet of trawlers which had strayed into a German minefield.

He commanded HMS Eagle, the first through-deck aircraft carrier to join the Royal Navy, and was recalled to service in the Second World War when he took responsibility for providing the small craft which famously took part in the evacuation from Dunkirk.

The headquarters of Dunstable Sea Cadets in West Street is named TS (Training Ship) Lionel Preston in his honour.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.