First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Frederick GRAY (1888–1917)

Frederick Gray was born in New Marston in 1888, the son of William Gray (born in Great Yarmouth in 1842/3) and Sarah (surname unknown, born in St Thomas’s, Oxford in c.1847). His parents were married by early 1871 and had the following children:

  • Elizabeth Gray (born in St Thomas’s, Oxford in 1873/4)
  • Harriet Gray (born in St Thomas’s, Oxford in 1875/6)
  • Emily Gray (born in St Thomas’s, Oxford in 1877/8)
  • William Gray junior (born in St Ebbe’s, Oxford in about May 1880)
  • Alfred Gray (born in New Marston, reg. Headington district first quarter, and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 25 March 1883)
  • Eliza Gray (born in New Marston and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 3 October 1886)
  • Frederick Gray (born in New Marston in 1888, reg. Headington district fourth quarter)
  • George Gray (born in New Marston in 1891, reg. Headington district second quarter)

(Most of the children born prior to 1888 do not appear to have had their births registered; and none of them was baptised at St Thomas’s Church.)

Frederick’s father was a bricklayer. At the time of the 1871 census he and Sarah were lodging in Oxford at 50 High Street, St Thomas in the house of John Sergeant, a market porter. Their first three children were born in that parish.

Between 1878 and 1880 Frederick’s parents moved to St Ebbe’s, Oxford, and the 1881 census shows them living there at 18 Church Street with their first four children.

By 1883 they had moved to New Marston, where Frederick himself was born in 1888.

At the time of the 1891 census Frederick ( 2½) was living at Hazel Terrace, New Marston (which may have been in Ferry Road) with his father William (48), who was a bricklayer, his mother Sarah (43), and his siblings Harriet (15), Emily (13), Alfred (8), and Eliza (5).

In 1891 Frederick (12), who was still at school, was living at Ferry Road, New Marston with his parents and four of his siblings: William (20) and Alfred (19), who were builder’s labourers, Eliza (14), and George (9).

Frederick’s mother Sarah Gray died in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1905 (with her age at death given as 53, which does not tally with her age in the censuses).

At the time of the 1911 census Frederick (22), who was working as an athletic groundsman for a college, was living at 4 Edgeway Road in New Marston with his widower father (68), who was still working as a bricklayer, and four of his siblings: William (31) and Alfred (29), who were bricklayers’ labourers; George (20) who was a college servant; and Eliza (24), who was doubtless looking after them all. Eliza got married at the end of that year.

Poppy In the First World War Frederick Gray served as a Lance Corporal in the 6th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 10523). He was killed in action in Belgium at the age of about 29 on 20 September 1917.

F. Gray on Tyne Cot Memorial

Frederick Gray has no known grave, but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 96 to 98). The photograph his name on that memorial (right) was kindly supplied by British War Graves.

He is also remembered on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford.

New Marston War Memorial


Frederick’s father
  • William Gray died in 1923/4 at the age of 81 (reg. in Headington district first quarter of 1924).
Frederick’s sister and next of kin
  • Eliza Gray married John T. Smith in the Headington registration district (probably at St Nicholas’s Church, Marston) in the fourth quarter of 1911. They lived at Crescent View, New Marston, and Eliza  Smith was named as Frederick’s next of kin.

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