First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Charles TOLLEY (1884–1916)

Charles Tolley

Charles Tolley was born in Old Marston in 1884, the son of Charles Tolley senior (born in Elsfield in 1854) and Annie Maria Jones (born in Horton-cum-Studley in 1862).

At the time of the 1881 census Charles’s father Charles Tolley senior (25) was working as a labourer and living with his parents in Church Lane, Old Marston.

Charles's parents were married at St Nicholas’s Church in Old Marston on 4 November 1883 and had just two children:

  • Charles Tolley (born in Old Marston in 1884 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 2 November)
  • Kate Tolley (born in New Marston in 1890 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 6 April).

Charles's parents began their married life in Old Marston, where he was born in 1884, but by the time his sister was born in early 1890 they had moved to New Marston.

At the time of the 1891 Charles (6) was at school and living in Edgeway Road (then called Hedgeway Road) in New Marston with his father Charles (37), who was a gas stoker, his mother Annie (29), and his sister Kate (1).

In 1901 Charles (16) was working as a telegraph messenger and living in Edgeway Road with his father Charles (46), who was still a labourer in the gas works, his mother Annie (38), and his sister Kate (11).

In 1911 Charles (26) was working as a postman and still living in Edgeway Road with his father Charles (56), who was described as a gas stoker, his mother Annie (48), and his sister Kate (21), who was now a tailoress.

Poppy In the First World War Charles Tolley served as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 5927). He died of wounds at the Somme in France at the age of 32 on 26 August 1916.

He is buried in the Varennes Military Cemetery (I.A.30), and his war grave there has the added words “DEATH DIVIDES BUT LOVE AND MEMORY CLING”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

He is remembered on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford and on the Post Office War Memorial at Royal Mail House, Oxford.

The following words were later added to his parents’ gravestone in St Nicholas’s churchyard in Old Marston:

AUGUST 26TH 1916
AGED 32.


New Marston War Memorial

Charles’s parents
  • Charles Tolley senior died at the age of 75 on 26 August 1930 and was buried at St Nicholas’s churchyard in Old Marston.
  • Mrs Annie Tolley died at the age of 79 on 21 April 1942 and was buried with her husband.
Charles’s sister
  • Kate Tolley (born 1890) married Lewis Bolton of Preston, a tailor who was then a Sergeant in the Army Service Corps, at St Nicholasís Church, Old Marston on 28 December 1914. They lived in New Marston, and their daughter Jean Bolton was baptised at St Nicholasís Church on 18 January 1920.

See also

Back to New Marston War Memorial

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website