First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Frederick Alfred Lewis NEWPORT (1887–1916)

Frederick Newport

Frederick Alfred Lewis Newport (also known as Frederick Alfred Lewis Spiers) was born in Oxford on 22 September 1887. He was the son of Frederick Charles Newport Spiers (born in Headington in 1867/8) and Laura Jane Fletcher (born in Oxford in 1866 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 3 February 1867).

The surname of both Frederick and his father was officially Spiers rather than Newport because Frederick’s father Frederick Charles Spiers was born to Eliza Spiers when she was a single woman: he was baptised at St Clement's Church on 2 February 1868, and his mother did not marry his father Alfred Newport (at St Ebbe's Church) until 12 July that year.

Before their marriage, Frederick’s father, Frederick Spiers/Newport senior, lived with his parents at 2 Caroline Street; while his mother, Laura Fletcher, was living at 19 Victor Street in Jericho.

Frederick’s parents were married at St Barnabas's Church on 11 June 1887 when they were both minors. They had the following children (with Frederick the eldest, born less than three months after the wedding):

  • Frederick Alfred Lewis Spiers (born in Oxford on 22 September 1887 and baptised at St Barnabas Church on 13 October)
  • Walter Newport Spiers (born in Oxford in early 1891)';
    died aged at 4 Catherine Street aged fifteen months and buried in Cowley St John churchyard on 28 March 1892)
  • Harry James Spiers (born at 1 Princes Street, Oxford on 20 October 1894 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 23 November)
  • Nellie Beatrice Spiers (born in Oxford on 25 May 1896 but not baptised at Cowley St John Church until 21 May 1899, at the same time as her next sister)
  • Kathleen Ada Spiers (born in Oxford on 5 April 1899 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 21 May):
    appears to have died
  • George Redvers Newport Spiers (born in Oxford in 1900 and baptised eleven years later on 18 December 1910 at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston, with the name George Alfred Spiers)
  • Albert Edward Spiers (born in Oxford in 1901 and baptised nine years later at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 18 December 1910)
  • Laura Louie Spiers (born in Oxford in 1904 and baptised six years later at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 18 December 1910)
  • Willie Spiers (born in Oxford in 1906/7, reg. first quarter of 1907)
  • Frank Spiers (born in Oxford in 1909, reg. Headington district in third quarter and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 22 March 1911).

Frederick’s father was a marine store dealer. He and his wife began their married life in the Jericho area of Oxford.

By the time of the 1891 census Frederick (3) was living at 16 Bath Street, St Clement's with his father Frederick (23), who was a self-employed marine store dealer, his mother Laura (24), and his younger brother Walter (3).

They had moved to 4 Catherine Street by early 1892 and to 1 Princes Street by October 1894.

By the time of the 1901 census Frederick (13) was living at 103 Magdalen Road, again in east Oxford, with his father Frederick (32) , who now described himself as a self-employed general dealer, his mother Laura (33), and three of his siblings: Harry (5), Nellie (3), and George (1).

On 24 November 1904 Frederick (17), who had been working as a steam plough boy, joined the Royal Navy, calling himself Frederick Newport: he was described as having dark hair and blue eyes, and was 5' 1½" tall. On his eighteenth birthday, 22 September 1906, Frederick signed up for a twelve-year engagement in the Royal Navy: he was now 5' 5¼ in height.

Frederick (24) spent the census night of 1911 as an Able Seaman on board HMS Pembroke at Chatham. His parents may have separated by this time, as his father Frederick Charles Newport Spiers (42) was boarding in east Oxford at 93 Magdalen Road with Mrs Eliza King (61), while his mother Laura (43), who was now also using the surname Newport, was living at Edgeway Road, New Marston. She described herself as both married and the head of the household and gave her occupation as “Marine store dealer”.

In the second quarter of 1913 in the Nuneaton registration district, Frederick (under his official surname of Spiers) married Rhoda Newell. Their banns had been called at her home parish of St Mary Magdalen in Oxford in September and October 1912.

Frederick and Rhoda had two sons (in both cases their surname was registered as “Spires” rather than “Spiers”). :

  • Frederick Alfred Lewis Spires (born at 25 Church Street, New Hinksey (now called Vicarage Road) on 20 August 1913 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Church there on 17 September)
  • Stanley Alfred Lewis Spires-Newport (born at 10 New Street, Oxford in 1915 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 31 October)

At the baptism of his first son in 1913. Frederick was described as a sailor in the Royal Navy, but on 26 June 1914 he purchased his discharge for £12 and joined the army: hence at the baptism of his second son he was described as a Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery.

By 1916 he and his family appear to have been living in St John Street in Oxford.

Poppy In the First World War Frederick Alfred Lewis Newport (alias Spiers, alias Spiers-Newport) rose to be a Corporal in the “X” 25th T.M. Battery of the Royal Field Artillery (Service No. 83648). He was killed in action at the Somme in France on 3 September 1916, and was awarded the Military Medal.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 1A and 8A) and on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford.


New Marston War Memorial

Frederick’s father
  • Frederick Charles Newport Spiers died at the Cowley Road Hospital at age of 55 in 1923, and his funeral was held at St Thomas's Church on 21 August.
Frederick’s widow
  • Rhoda Spiers-Newport appears to have remarried within six months of Frederick’s death, as a Rhoda S. Newport married Francis Higginson in Oxford in the first quarter of 1917. She may be the Mrs Rhoda Higginson who died 44 James Street at the age of 42 and whose funeral was held at Holy Trinity Church in St Ebbe's on 3 January 1930.
Frederick’s children
  • Frederick Alfred Lewis Spires-Newport (born 1913) died in 1985.
  • Stanley Alfred Lewis Spires-Newport (born 1915) died in 1950.

See also
  • CWGC: Newport, Frederick (confirmed by FindMyPast as having been born in, and enlisted at, Oxford)
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 4 October 1916: photograph of Corporal F. Newport following his death (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • Wikipedia: Royal Field Artillery

Back to New Marston War Memorial

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