Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Arthur WESTELL (1890–1918)

Arthur Westell

Arthur Westell or Westall was born in Barton on 9 August 1890. He was the son of Richard George Westell (born in St Ebbe’s/ New Hinksey in 1860/1) and Fanny Cross (born in Barton in 1864 and baptised with her twin brother Felix at St Andrew’s Church on 28 August).

Right: Arthur Westell. The family photographs on this
page are reproduced by kind permission of Nicholas
Washington, grandson of Arthur Westell's sister Agnes

Arthur’s father grew up in St Ebbe’s, where his widowed mother was a laundress; and Harriet’s mother was also a laundress in Barton, while her father was a messenger. By 1881 Harriet (16) had joined her mother in laundry work, and the family was living at Windmill Hill (Bayswater Road).

Arthur's parents were married at St Andrew’s Church on 12 September 1887 and had ten children:

  • Gertrude Agnes Westell, known as Gertie (born in Barton on 8 December 1888 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 January 1889)
  • Arthur Westell (born in Barton on 9 August 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 14 September)
  • Harriet Kate Westell, known as Katie (born in Headington on 4 February 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 March)
  • George Richard Westell (born in Headington on 19 February 1894 and baptised privately by St Andrew’s Church on 8 March);
    died age 5 and buried at Headington Cemetery on 12 April 1894
  • William Richard Westell (born in Headington in 1895, reg. third quarter)
  • Elsie Westell (born at 49 St Clement’s Street, Oxford in October 1896 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 25 October)
  • Frederick George Westell, known as George (born in New Headington on 17 May 1899 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 2 July)
  • Aubrey J. Westell (born at Oxford Terrace, New Headington on 6 January 1901 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 10 March)
  • Florence Ethel Westell (born at Oxford Terrace, New Headington on 16 February 1903 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 April)
  • Nellie Irene Westell (born in New Headington on 17 January 1905 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 9 April).

Richard & Fanny Westell

After their marriage in 1887, Arthur’s parents Richard & Fanny Westell appear to have lived in the hamlet of Barton, which was in the parish of St Andrew. By 1891 they had moved to New Headington on the south side of the London Road, which at that time was also in that parish.

At the time of the 1891 census Arthur (seven months) was living at 31 New High Street with his father Richard (30), who was a butcher employed by someone else, his mother Fanny (26), who was working on her own account at home as a laundress, and his elder sister Gertrude (2).

The family was living at 49 St Clement’s Street in Oxford in the 1896, but by 1899 they were back in Headington again.

At the time of the 1901 census Arthur (10) was living at the present 17 Bateman Street (then 4 Oxford Terrace, East Street). with his father Richard (38), who was now a gardener, his mother Fanny (38), who was now working for someone else as a laundress, and his siblings Gertie (12), Katie (9), William (8), Elsie (6), George (2), and Aubrey (three months).

By 1909 they had moved around the corner to 3 Gardiner Street (then called South Street).

 

Right: Arthur's parents Richard & Fanny Westell, c.1900

 

Arthur’s mother Fanny Westell died at the age of 45 in 1909 and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 19 June.

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur (20) was working as a domestic gardener and living at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, where he was boarding with the Higgs family at Stocker’s Lodge.

Elsie & Florrie Westell

In 1911 Arthur's father, now a widower was still living at 3 Gardiner Street in New Headington with his children Gertrude (22), Kate (19), Elsie (14), George (10), Florrie (7), and Nellie (5). Gertrude had taken over her mother’s home laundry, where she employed her younger sister Kate; and Elsie (14) went out to work as a nursemaid. Arthur’s two missing brothers were staying with relations: William (15) was with his uncle and aunt, Charles & Elizabeth Coppock, at Ingleside in Headington Quarry and working as a jeweller’s errand boy, and Aubrey (5) was with his widowed maternal grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Cross, in St Andrew’s Road.

New Headington village was taken out of the parish of St Andrew when the new parish of All Saints was formed in 1910

 

Left: Arthur's sisters Elsie (born 1896)
and Florrie (born 1903) in c.1910

 

Arthur’s father Richard George Westell died at the age of 54 in 1915 and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 2 June.

Poppy In the First World War Arthur Westell served as a Rifleman in the 12th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Service No. R/5075). He died in France in France at the age of 27 on 27 March 1918.

He was buried at Rouy-Le-Petit Churchyard (at the north-east side of the old church), and is listed on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.


Postscript

All Saints' board

Arthur’s siblings
  • Gertrude Agnes Westell (born 1889) married Aubrey E. Gurden (a cook, and later a master confectioner) at All Saints’ Church on 20 December 1913, and they lived in Windmill Road. They had four children: Jessie Gertrude Gurden (born in 1915 and baptised at All Saints' Church on 21 November); Audrey Joan Gurden (born on 18 March 1922 and baptised at All Saints' Church on 23 April); Hilary Mary Gurden (born on 16 November 1924 and baptised at All Saints' Church on 28 December); and Donald O. Gurden (born in 1932)
  • Elsie Westell (born 1896) married Job Merry at All Saints’ Church on 3 June 1922. She was then living at 31 Gardiner Street. The birth of their son Leslie G. Merry was registered in the Headington district in the first quarter of 1929.
  • Aubrey J. Westell (born 1901) married Elsie R. East in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1925. The birth of their son Ernest O. R. Westell was registered in the Headington district in the fourth quarter of 1927.
  • Florence Ethel Westell (born 1903) married William Higgs in the Headington registration district (probably at All Saints’ Church) in the first quarter of 1931. Their son Michael W. Higgs was born in Oxford in 1936.
  • Nellie Westell (born 1905) married Harry C. Rayner in the Headington registration district (probably at All Saints’ Church) in the first quarter of 1928. They had three children whose births were reg. in the Hatfield registration district: David W. Rayner (first quarter of 1931), Marion I. Rayner (first quarter of 1936), and Eileen M. Rayner (first quarter of 1938).

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website