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OXFORD ST. CROSS (HOLYWELL) WAR MEMORIALS

World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Barry Burnham 2012

St. Cross, also known as Holywell Church, was one of the oldest churches in Oxford, and was originally situated just outside the medieval city walls. Originally a chapelry of the nearby St. Peter in the East, and located adjacent to the former Holywell Manor house in St. Cross Road, the church held its last regular service on 12 October 2008, and is now home to the Historic Collections Centre of Balliol College, Oxford. After being declared redundant in 2008, Balliol was granted a 999-year lease on the building, although agreed that the chancel will remain, to be used for occasional church services.

Photograph Copyright © Barry Burnham 2012

The War Memorial Archive holds a brief description of the St. Cross memorial, and describes it as: a marble tablet in opus sectile of various colours, with a chequered boarder and gold incised lettering. A depiction of Christ crucified is surrounded by Tudor rose motifs, and the crowned letters I.H.S. - The lower inscriptions reads: -

"JESU MERCY, - IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THOSE WHO FROM THIS PARISH GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918”.

The memorial was manufactured by James Powell & Son (Whitefriars) Ltd, and the overall dimensions are 920 mm by 630 mm (approx. 3 ft. X 2 ft.). The main material is marble, and the primary colour is green.

The memorial was eventually unveiled at St. Cross by the Bishop of Oxford in June 1924.

Although a large parish by size, the St. Cross / Holywell area had a relatively small population at the turn the 20th Century, and this was possibly the reason why only eight names appeared on the Great War Memorial, although almost twice this number had appeared in a list of the local fallen which was published in the January 1918 edition of the St. Cross parish magazine.

IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THOSE
WHO FROM THIS PARISH GAVE THEIR
LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918

Photographs of the men are taken from the Oxford Journal Illustrated.

ADAMS Arthur Sydney
Regimental Sergeant Major 4926, 1/4th battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Died of wounds, Saturday, 13 June 1915. Born at the Union Workhouse in Witney, Oxon, on 6 March 1876, Arthur Sydney Adams was the only known son of Ann Adams, a single woman. A former agricultural labourer, Arthur became a career solder with the Oxfordshire Light Infantry in 1894, and he was serving at Cowley Barracks when he married his wife, Harriet Rose Henderson, at St. James Church (Cowley) on 24 June 1900. Arthur and Harriet had four children. Serving with the Territorial Army at the outbreak of war, Arthur was sent to France in March 1915, and by late May he was seen unpacking munitions when he was accidentally wounded by an exploding grenade. Arthur Adams was later buried at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France: Grave ref: VII. A. 79.
HUNT Frederick Frank
Lieutenant, 4th (City of London) battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). Killed in action Sunday, 27 June 1915. Born at 11 Blue Boar Street in Oxford, on 17 December 1895, Frederick Frank Hunt was the second of three children born to Frederick and Emily Amelia Hunt. A schoolboy at the Oxford High School (awarded 1st class honours) Frederick entered St. John’s College, Oxford, in October 1914, and soon joined the College Officer Training Corps. Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in January 1915, Frederick arrived in France in early April, and by late June he was serving in the trenches near La Bassee when he was killed by enemy shellfire. Frederick Hunt was buried at the St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoué, France: Grave ref: I. G. 8.
GILES Edward Victor
2nd Lieutenant, 9th battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. Killed in action Monday, 3 July 1916. Born at St. John’s Road (now St. Bernard’s Road) in Oxford, on 3 June 1887, Edward Victor Giles was one of six children born to Julia and Edward James Giles. A former pupil at the Oxford High School, Edward became a drapery assistant in Bayswater (London) prior to the war, and applied for a commission at the time of his enlistment in May 1915. Sent to France in March 1916, Edward was last seen leading his men into action near to Ovillers on 3 July. His name was commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France: Panel ref: Pier & face 11. D.
WREN Christopher Bray
2nd Lieutenant, 6th battalion, London Regiment (City of London Rifles). Killed in action Friday, 15 September 1916. Born at 130 Hurst Street in Oxford on 3 January 1892, Christopher Bray Wren was the eldest of three children born to Christopher and Agnes Wren. Privately educated at Bedford House School in Oxford, Christopher initially gained employment in the Oxford offices of A. R. Mowbray & Co, (Ecclesiastical publishers etc.) however, by the outbreak of war he was working in London, and employed by another publishing firm, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co Ltd. Enlisting on 2 September 1914, Christopher originally joined the 1/16th Bn. the Queen’s Westminster Rifles. Later commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (gazetted 2 November 1915) with the London Regiment, Christopher was serving on the Somme by September 1916, and he was killed at the Battle of Flers Courcelette. Christopher Wren was remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France: Panel ref; Pier & face 9. D.
HAYDON Thomas William
Corporal, R/1400, 12th battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Died of wounds, Thursday, 21 September 1916. Born at 13 Denmark Street, High Wycombe, on 23 August 1883, Thomas William Haydon was the fourth of eight children born to Thomas Haydon a Policeman, and his wife Maria Egan. Originally serving with the Royal Navy (1902-08) as a sick-berth attendant, Thomas joined the Army in May or June 1915, and by September 1916, he was serving in the trenches near Ginchy, south of Arras, when he was wounded. Thomas Haydon was buried at the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, France: Grave ref: I. F. 37.
FREEMAN Edward Henry
Private, 10976, 7th battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Killed in action, Tuesday, 24 April 1917. Born on the Banbury Road in Oxford, on 17 April 1895, Edward Henry Freeman was the eldest of four children born to Henry John and Marie Elizabeth Louise Freeman. Originally employed in Oxford as a ‘house-boy’, Edward probably enlisted early in 1915, and was initially sent to France in September. Transferred to Salonika in November 1915, Edward took part in the 1st battle of Lake Doiran on April 24, 1917, and was originally listed as missing in action. Brother of Roland John Freeman (below), Edward was later commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece.
FREEMAN Roland John
Private, 45579, 3rd battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. Killed in action, Saturday, 27 April 1918. Born at Turville Heath in Buckinghamshire in 1898, Roland John Freeman was the third child of Henry John and Marie Elizabeth Louise Freeman. Still only nineteen in April 1918, Roland was killed during the German offensive at Mount Kemmel in Belgium. Roland was later buried at the Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Belgium: Grave ref: V. A. 30.
MILLER Henry Edward
Private, G/29136, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) attached 1/20th battalion, London Regiment. Killed in action, Sunday, 25 August 1918. Born at the Holywell Cemetery Lodge in Oxford, on 2 July 1899, Henry Edward Miller was the youngest of seven children born to Elizabeth and William Margetts Miller, the cemetery sexton. Educated at the Wesleyan Higher Grade School in Oxford, Henry succeeded his father as the cemetery sexton following his death in 1916. Enlisting on 20 October 1917, Henry initially served with the Hampshire Regiment, but at the time of his death near Amiens, he was serving with the London Regiment. Henry Miller was later remembered on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France: Panel ref: 7.

1939-1945
ST. CROSS CHURCH HAS NO SECOND WORLD WAR MEMORIAL

St. Cross / Holywell Church, Oxford

Last updated 13 September, 2017

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