Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

George William ATKINSON (1884–1915)

George William Atkinson was born in Oxford in 1884, the son of James Atkinson (born in Liverpool in 1840) and Rachel Smith (born in Kirtlington in 1841/2).

His parents were married in the Durham registration district in the second quarter of 1870 and had eleven children:

  • Mary Ann Kate Atkinson, known as Kate (born in Oxford in 1871, reg. third quarter)
  • James Robert Atkinson (born in Oxford in 1873, reg. second quarter); died aged 17 at the Radcliffe Infirmary and buried at SS Cowley & John Church on 28 July 1890
  • Fanny Lavinia Atkinson (born in Oxford in 1875 and baptised at SS  Mary & John Church on 6 April)
  • Eleanor Atkinson (born in Oxford in 1876, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Annie Margaret Atkinson (born in Oxford in 1880 and baptised at SS  Mary & John Church on 19 August)
  • Ada Margaret Atkinson (born in Oxford in 1880 and baptised at SS  Mary & John Church on 19 August)
  • Ethel Florence Atkinson, known as Florence (born in Oxford in 1882, reg. third quarter)
  • George William Atkinson (born at 11 Randolph Street, Oxford in 1884, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Gertrude Evelyn Atkinson (born at 11 Randolph Street, Oxford in 1886/7 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 26 January 1887)
  • Sidney Charles Atkinson (born at 11 Randolph Street, Oxford on 27 June 1889 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 19 December)
  • Joseph James Atkinson (born at 11 Randolph Street, Oxford on 18 December 1891 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 31 March 1892).

At the time of the 1871 census George’s father James Atkinson (30), who was a joiner, was boarding on his own at Penson’s Gardens, St Ebbe’s in the home of Charles & Temperance Williams. His wife Rachel moved down to Oxford to join him later that year.

By the time of the 1881 census, George's father James (40), now described as a carpenter, and his mother Rachel Atkinson (xx) were living at 12 Randolph Street in east Oxford with their first six children: Kate (9), James (7), Fanny (6), Eleanor (4), who was misrecorded as Helena, Annie (2), and Ada (eight months). James was now described as a carpenter.

George himself was born there three years later.

At the time of the 1891 census George (6) was at school and living with his father James (s); his mother Rachel (x); and six of his siblings: Eleanor (14), who was working as a general servant, and Annie (12), Ada (10), Florence (8), Gertrude (4) and Sidney (2).

By the time of the 1901 census, George (16) was a carman, still living at 11 Randolph Street with his parents and five of his siblings: Ada (20) and Florence (18), who were working as domestic servants, and Gertrude (14), Sidney (11), and Joseph (9).

George’s mother, Rachel Atkinson, died at 11 Randolph Street in 1905 at the age of 63, and was buried in SS Mary & James churchyard on 16 December.

♥ On 9 July 1910 at St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington, George William Atkinson (25) married Ada Morris (21). Although Ada had been born in Littlemore and was baptised there on 25 August 1889, her father was originally a Barton man, and she had grown up in New Headington: back in 1901 when she was 11, she was living at the present 15 Windsor Street (then No. 3 Windsor Terrace) with her father Thomas Morris, who was a shepherd, and her mother Zilpah (formerly Butler).

George and Ada had just one child who died:

  • George William Atkinson (born in New High Street in 1914 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 19 July;
    died aged three months and buried in Headington Cemetery on 16 September 1914).

George Atkinson was described as a labourer at the time of his marriage, and the couple started their married life living with Ada’s family in Old High Street. Just two months later George’s mother-in-law, Zilpah Morris died at the age of 61: she was buried at Headington Cemetery on 24 September 1910.

At the time of the 1911 census George Atkinson and his wife Ada can be seen living as “boarders” with Ada’s father Thomas Morris in his Old High Street home: George was then described a porter (probably at the Workhouse, as the Master of the Workhouse had been a witness at his wedding), and Ada was employed as a cook. George's wife was probably looking after three babies boarding with the family: Mabel Morris (2), Arthur Beckett (five months), and George's sister illegitimate son Stanley Atkinson (six months). Meanwhile George’s father James Atkinson was living at 21 Randolph Street with his eldest daughter Kate (39) who kept house for him; his youngest son Joseph (19), who was working as a college servant; and his grandchildren Harley (8) and Mabel (7), who were born in Banbury and Oxford respectively.

By the time of their son's birth in 1914, George, who was now an attendant at the Warneford Asylum, had moved to New High Street in Highfield parish.

Poppy George Atkinson volunteered to serve in the First World War, and was a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Service No. 6338). He died in France at the age of 31 on 15 May 1915 and has no known grave. He is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial and on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.


Postscript

All Saints' board

George’s widow
  • Mrs Ada Atkinson married her second husband Charles Kyte, another serving soldier, near the beginning of 1917, and their first child, Lilian Jean Kyte, was baptised at All Saints’ Church six months after the wedding. They began their married life at 171 Howard Street, but came back up to Headington and were living at 59 New High Street when their next three children were baptised at All Saints’ Church: Arthur Charles Kyte on 21 March 1920, Basil Andrew Kyte on 28 May 1922, and Francis Gordon Kyte on 21 March 1926. Charles Kyte worked as a labourer after the war, and they later lived at 33 Chestnut Avenue.
George’s father
  • James Atkinson died at 1 Leopold Cottages in east Oxford at the age of 78 in 1925 and was buried in SS Mary & James churchyard on 20 April.
George’s sister Ada
  • Ada Margaret Atkinson (born 1880) gave birth to two illegitimate children at her parents' house, 11 Randolph Street: Cecil George Lewis Atkinson (born on 29 May 1909 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 8 August) and Stanley George Thomas Atkinson (born on 12 October 1910 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 6 November): the baptismal register postulates a father. At the time of the 1911 census Ada (30), still described as single, was lodging with Cecil (1) at 19 Randolph Street, and her younger son Stanley (six months) was lodging with her father, brother, and sister-in-law in Headington. Ada evidently continued to bring up Stanley George Atkinson, her husband's illegitimate nephew as her own, as his address was given as 33 Chestnut Avenue when he married Rose Eleanor Collins at St Andrew's Church on 24 June 1933.

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website