Dennis William Diston, born in Stanton, Gloucestershire, in 1887 was the only son of Charles Diston from Cutsdean, Worcestershire, and Julia Ann Diston. The family moved to nearby Snowshill where Dennis found work as a jobbing gardener after leaving school. Dennis’s mother died in 1891, a year after his younger sister, Mabel, was born and his father remarried Phebe Hannah Bateman in October the following year. Dennis had three older sisters; Mary Ann (1878-1953), Elizabeth (1880-1883) and Dora Lavinia (1885-1915).
On 6th July 1912, Dennis married Mabel Elizabeth Grove in Broadway and they moved to Broadway where their two children (a son and a daughter) were born. Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Dennis enlisted with the 10th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment and he was posted to the Western Front on 9th August 1915.
The following year Dennis was initially posted as missing in action and was later confirmed as killed in action, aged 29, on 22nd July 1916. Dennis is buried in Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers La-Boiselle, and is commemorated on the Snowshill War Memorial, Prestbury War Memorial and inside St Mary’s Church, Prestbury. His epitaph on his headstone reads: IN THAT SWEET BYE AND BYE WE SHALL MEET ON THAT BEAUTIFUL SHORE.
Pozieres British Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
As a resident of Broadway at the time of his death, Dennis was considered by the Broadway War Memorial Committee for inclusion on the war memorial built on the village green in 1919. The Committee, however, decided against including his name and Dennis was later commemorated on the Snowshill War Memorial, a stone cross, designed by Frederick Landseer Griggs, located in St Barnabas churchyard in the centre of the village.
Further information about the men from Broadway who died in the First World War can be found in Broadway Remembers (ISBN 978-0-1-9929891-0-1) a not-for-profit publication raising money for the Poppy Appeal published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum.