First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Ernest Edward JACOB (1893–1916)

Ernest Jacobs

Ernest Edward Jacob (or Jacobs) was born in Headington in 1890, the son of Charles Jacob (born in Headington Quarry in 1860 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 11 June) and Annie Shorter (born in Oxford in 1865, reg. third quarter).

At the time of the 1881 census Ernest’s father, Charles Jacob (21), was a mason’s labourer, living with his family at Shotover Hill Place in Headington Quarry (in the area at the east end of Old Road). His future wife Annie Shorter (15) was a domestic servant, living with her parents (a carter and a laundress) at 59 Observatory Street in north Oxford.

On 21 May 1888 at St Barnabas's Church, Charles Jacob, described as a labourer of Headington Quarry, married Annie Shorter of 14 Albert Street, Jericho. They had eight children:

  • Charles Henry Jacob (born in Headington Quarry in 1889 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 April)
  • Alfred George Jacob (born in Headington Quarry in 1890 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 September)
  • Ernest Edward Jacob (born in New Headington on 22 January 1893 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 2 April)
  • Annie Elizabeth Jacob, known as Elizabeth (born in New High Street on 13 December 1896 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 21 February 1897)
  • Florence Edith Frances Jacob (born in Perrin Street on 15 March 1899 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 14 May)
  • Dorothy May Jacob (born in New High Street in 1901 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 18 August)
  • Albert Gillman Jacob, known as Bertie (born in Highfield on 30 April 1903 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 July)
  • Beatrice Alice Maud Jacob (born in Highfield on 27 July 1905 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 3 December).

Following their marriage in 1888, Ernest’s parents first lived in Quarry High Street (then called Main Road), and they can be seen there at the time of the 1891 census with their first two children.

In about 1892 they moved to New Headington village, where Ernest was born in 1893.

They were living at New High Street in 1896 and at Perrin Street (then called Church Street) in 1899.

By the time of the 1901 census Ernest (8) was living at the present 28 New High Street with his father Charles (40), who was a builder's labourer, his mother Annie (34), and his siblings Charlie (12), Alfred (10), Annie Elizabeth (4), and Florence (2).

By the beginning of 1903 the family had moved to the next street, Lime Walk.

According to his obituary in the Oxford Chronicle, in his mid-teens Ernest Jacob was employed by the Oxfordshire Steam Plough Co. Ltd.

In 1910 New Headington, including Lime Walk, was taken into the new parish of All Saints.

By the time of the 1911 census Ernest (18) had joined the army, and he spent census night at Cowley Barracks. Meanwhile his parents were living at “Arthers Cottage” in Lime Walk (now No. 85) with Alfred (20) who was working on his own account at home as a coal dealer, and Lizzie (14), Florence (12), Dorothy (10), Bertie (8), and Beatrice (6), who were all at school. The census form was filled in by Mrs Jacobs, suggesting that her husband could not read and write. Ernest's brother Charles (22) is missing from the 1911 census, and he too may have joined the army.

Poppy In the First World War Ernest Edward Jacob served as a Sapper, first in the 178th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, then with the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 3285), and finally with the Corps of Royal Engineers (Service No. 148462). He was awarded special leave for gallantry in the field, but twelve days after he returned to France on 7 August 1916, he was killed in action by a shell at the Somme, on 19 August at the age of 24.

He was buried at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval (Sp. Mem. 32), and his war grave there has the added words “GONE FROM SIGHT BUT TO MEMORY EVER DEAR”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

He is remembered on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.

His two older brothers Charles and Alfred Jacob continued to serve in the army after his death.

All Saints' board


Ernest’s parents
  • Mrs Annie Jacob died in Oxford at the age of 70 in the first quarter of 1935.
  • Charles Jacob died in Oxford at the age of 75 in the fourth quarter of 1935.
Ernest’s siblings
  • Annie Elizabeth Jacob (born 1896) married Cyril G. Wiggins in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1921.
  • Florence Edith Frances Jacob (born 1899) married Sidney G. Middleton in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1928.
  • Beatrice Alice Maud Jacob (born 1905) married Albert T. Wood in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1945.

See also
  • CWGC: Jacobs, Ernest Edward
  • Oxford Chronicle, 25 August 1916: Photograph of the three serving brothers C. H., A. G., and E. E. Jacobs;
    and 15 September 1916, photograph of E. E. Jacobson on p. 7 and obituary on p. 8
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 13 September 1916: “Heroes of the War: Sapper E. E. Jacobs, Headington, RE”
    (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • Wikipedia: Royal Engineers
  • Wikipedia: The Battle of the Somme

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website