Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Lewis HEATH (1895–1917)

Lewis Heath

Lewis Heath was born in Oxford in 1895, the son of Oliver Stephen Heath (born in Nettlebed in 1861 and baptised at St Bartholomew’s Church there as Oliver Steffen Heath on 27 March) and Hannah Kent (also known as Anna, born in Northmoor on 12 October 1856 and baptised there on 16 November).

His parents were married at Nettlebed on 1 January 1889. They had six children, including a set of triplets of whom Lewis was the only survivor:

  • Alfred James Heath (born in Henley in 1890 and baptised at Northmoor on 4 August)
  • Henry George Heath, known as Harry (born in Henley in 1891 and baptised at Northmoor on 31 July)
  • Triplet: Oliver Heath (born at 90 Howard Street, Oxford in 1895 and baptised at SS Mary & St John Church on 30 October 1895; died aged one month and buried in the churchyard on 30 December 1895)
  • Triplet: Lewis Heath (born at 90 Howard Street, Oxford in 1895 and baptised at SS Mary & St John Church on 30 October)
  • Triplet: Sidney Heath (born at 90 Howard Street, Oxford in 1895 and baptised at SS Mary & St John Church on 30 October; died aged six weeks and buried in the churchyard on 30 December 1895)
  • May Heath (born in Northmoor in1898, birth reg. Witney district fourth quarter).

 

Lewis Heath and his sister

 

Lewis’s father was a carpenter & joiner, and at the time of the 1891 census he was living with his wife and their first child in Henley-on-Thames at 3 Hop Gardens. They spent a short period at 90 Howard Street in east Oxford, where Lewis and the other two triplets were born in 1895; but by 1898 they had moved to Northmoor, the home of Lewis’s mother.

The 1901 census shows Lewis (5) living near the chapel at Northmoor with his father Oliver (39), his mother Hannah (42), and his siblings Alfred (10), Henry (9), and May (2).

By the time of the 1911 census Lewis (15) was employed by All Souls College as a messenger and was living with a group of other servants at the college. Lewis’s parents were still living at Northmoor (in North Villa) with Henry (17), who was working as a farm labourer, May (11), and Lewis’s maternal grandmother Mrs Elizabeth Kent (who died at the age of 87 a few months later). Lewis's brother Alfred (20) was now working as a domestic gardener in Pinner.

 

Around the time of the war Lewis’s parents moved to 33 William Street, New Marston.

 

 

Left: Lewis Heath, probably with his sister May

Poppy In the First World War Lewis Heath served as a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 201358). He was killed in action in Belgium at the age of 22 on 22 August 1917.

Letter about Lewis Heath

The letter on the right was sent to Lewis Heath’s parents by Lance-Corporal Edwin Pipe:

 

          L. Cpl. E. G. Pipe
               B. Company Signals,
                    B. E. F.
                         August 26th, 1917

Dear Mr & Mrs Heath

It is my very painful duty to inform you that your dear, brave son was killed in action on the morning of the 22nd. I send you my deepest sympathy and may Almighty God comfort you in your great loss. I feel his loss greatly, a better lad one couldn’t find. We had reached our objective when he went with an important message to Battalion Head Quarters. I heard afterwards that he got there in 10 minutes. Eager to do his duty he returned to come back when he was hit by shell fire. Our L. Cpl. Stretcher Bearer found him and was with him till the end. Before leaving us with the message he was with me. It may comfort you to know that he did his duty bravely. I know how you must feel. It was only a few weeks back that a dear brother of mine was killed.

He was always a cheerful lad, everyone liked him and we feel his loss very much. I again offer you my deepest sympathy.

Believe me
Yours sincerely
Edwin George Pipe

[Edwin George Pipe was himself killed at the age of 21 just two weeks after writing this letter; and all three of his brothers also died in the war.]

 

 

The two family photographs on this page and the letter on the right were kindly supplied by Lewis Heath’s great-nephew, Peter Heath.

Lewis Heath has no known grave, but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 96 to 98) and on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford. He is also listed as one of the famuli (servants) on the memorial in All Souls College, Oxford.

L. Heath on Tyne Cot Memorial

Left: Photograph of Lewis Heath’s name on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium, kindly supplied by British War Graves.

Below: Lewis’s name on the First World War memorial on the wall of the antechapel of All Souls College, together with his regiment and its emblem. “Famuli” means “Servants”.

Lewis Heath remembered at All Souls

New Marston War Memorial

Postscript

Lewis’s parents
  • Hannah Heath (born 1856) died at the age of 74 in 1931 (reg. Headington district third quarter)
  • Oliver Stephen Heath (born 1861) moved to live with his daughter May n Warwick following the death of his wife, and then moved in with his son Lucy in Birmingham, where he died in 1935 at the age of 74.
Lewis’s siblings
  • Alfred James Heath (born 1890) married Sarah Annie Moore in the Hendon district in 1913. He also fought in the First World War, and was gassed. He died in Aylesbury at the age of 75 in 1965.
  • Henry George Heath (born 1891) moved to Birmingham, where he was in a protected occupation and did not serve in the war. He married Lucy Franklin in the Aston registration district in the third quarter of 1920 and they had one son, Ronald Lewis Heath (born 4 March 1921, died 24 January 1982).
  • May Heath (born 1898) went into service and married a man named Frank. They had no children and kept a shop in Warwick. They later retired to Deal in Kent.

See also

Back to New Marston War Memorial

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website