Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Harold John AKERS (1888–1915)

Harold Akers

Harold John Akers was born in New Marston on 28 September 1888. He was the son of William Akers (born in Marston in 1856/7, and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 22 February 1857) and Harriet Ada Harris, sometimes named as Ann (born in Abingdon in 1866).

His parents were married at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on Christmas Day 1884 and had the following children:

  • William Akers (born at the Marston Road in 1885/6 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 14 February 1886)
  • Thomas Oscar Akers (born at the Marston Road, New Marston in 1886/7 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 13 March 1887)
  • Harold John Akers (born at the Marston Road New Marston on 28 September 1888 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 13 January 1889)
  • Harriet Ada Akers (born in New Marston in 1890)
  • Eveline (or Evelyn) May Akers (born in New Marston in 1893 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 28 May)
  • Florence Emily Akers (born in New Marston in 1896 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church in July)
  • Bertha Annie Akers (born in New Marston in 1898, birth reg. fourth quarter)
  • Robert Henry Akers (born in New Marston on 22 June 1902 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 20 July)

Harold’s parents lived on the Marston Road (then known as Marston Lane) at the start of their marriage. At Harold's baptism in 1889 his father was described as a publican (possibly at the original Somerset House).

By the time of the 1891 census Harold (2) was living at Gordon Cottages on the Marston Road with his father William (34), who was now a hay binder, his mother Harriet (24) and his brothers William (5) and Thomas (2) and his nine-month old sister Harriet.

At the time of the 1901 census Harold (12) appears to have just left school and was living at Edgeway Road (then called Hedgeway Road) in New Marston with his father William (44), who was still a hay binder, his mother Harriet (33), and his six siblings: William (15), who was a house boy; Thomas (14), who was a hay binder; and Harriet (10), Eveline (7), Florence (4), and Bertha (2). Harold's youngest brother Robert was born the following year.

In the second quarter of 1907 in Oxford, Harold John Akers married Edith Barton (born in Flackwell Heath, Buckinghamshire in 1886). The marriage was evidently in haste, and they had the following children:

  • Olive May Akers (born in New Marston in 1907, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Harold John Akers junior (born in New Marston on 5 November 1911 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 7 January 1912)
  • Margaret Akers (born in New Marston on 16 March 1914 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 17 May).

At the time of the 1911 census Harold (22) was a waiter, living with his wife and first daughter in Oxford Road (known as Main Road), New Marston; He was probably a waiter in a college, as he is described as a college servant at the baptism of his son in 1912. He is still listed as living in Oxford Road in Kelly’s Directory for 1915.

In 1911 Harold's parents were living at Hill View House, Oxford Road, New Marston with Thomas, Florence, Bertha, and Robert. His father William Akers (55) was then a builder’s labourer; but in Kelly’s Directory for 1915 directory he is listed as a hay binder in Ferry Road. His brother William (25) was in India, serving with the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment in Chakrata.

Poppy Harold John Akers volunteered to serve in the First World War, and was a Lance Corporal in the 8th Battalion of the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) (Service No. G/6709). He was killed in action at Ypres in Belgium at the age of 27 on 11 November 1915.

Harold Akers inscription

 

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panels 45 and 47) and on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford.

 

Left: Harold John Akers’s name on the Ypres (Menin Gate) War Memorial, kindly supplied by British War Graves


Postscript

New Marston War Memorial

Harold’s parents
  • Mrs Harriet Ada Akers died at the age of 70 on 31 December 1936 and was buried in St Nicholas’s churchyard, Old Marston.
  • William Akers continued to be listed in directories at 35 Ferry Road until his death at the age of 92 on 22 February 1949. He was buried with his wife, and there does not appear to be any remembrance of their son Harold added to the small headstone.
Harold’s widow
  • Mrs Edith Akers appears to have gone back to her family home in Buckinghamshire with her children after her husband’s death. She died in 1966 in the Wycombe registration district.
Harold's daughter
  • Olive May Akers (b.1907) married William P. Adkins in the Wycombe registration district in the first quarter of 1927. They had five children: Joan Adkins (1927), Gerald Adkins (1928), Derek Adkins (1930), Doreen Adkins (1932), and Alan Adkins (1936). She died near the beginning of 1978.
Harold’s siblings
  • William Akers is probably the man of that name who with his wife Winifred May Akers had his child Clifford William Akers born on 1 February 1918 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 19 May. He was then a munitions worker.
  • Thomas Oscar Akers worked as a college servant. He married Elva May Hymus in the third quarter of 1921, probably at St Nicholas’s Church, and they lived at Ferry Road. Their son Thomas Richard Akers was born on 8 February 1922 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 9 May 1922.
  • Harriet Akers appears to have had an illegitimate child, Doris May Akers, born on 5 June 1916 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 5 July 1916.

See also

Back to New Marston War Memorial

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website