Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Arthur DREWITT (1884–1916)

Some of this information is repeated under the entry for Arthur’s brother Albert Drewitt, who also died in the war

Arthur Drewitt was born in Marston in 1884, the third son of William Drewitt (born in Old Marston and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 18 June 1848) and Rosa Hewlett (born in Old Marston in 1856 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 23 November 1856).

His parents were married at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 24 December 1877 as soon as Rosa Hewlett came of age, which was, two and a half years after the birth of their first child. They had seven children in all:

  • William Richard Hewlett, later Drewitt (born in Marston in1875 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 6 June, described as the son of Rosa Hewlett, “single woman”)
  • Ellen Louisa Drewitt (born in Marston in 1878 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 14 July)
  • Henry Thomas Drewitt (born in Marston in 1881 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 1 May)
  • Arthur Drewitt (born in Marston in 1884 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 27 July)
  • Mary Drewitt (born in Marston in 1886 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 4 July)
  • [The Albert Drewitt who died aged six months and was buried at St Nicholas’s Church on 25 January 1894 may be the missing child]
  • Albert John Drewitt (born in Marston in 1896 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 9 August).

Arthur’s father was an agricultural labourer all his life. The 1881 census shows him living in Main Street, Marston with his wife and their first three children, and his sister-in-law Clara Hewlett.

At the time of the 1891 census, the family are listed as living in Old Marston, and Arthur was a schoolboy of six.

In 1901 Arthur (16) as well as his father and his brother Henry (20) were carters on a farm. His brother William Hewlett (25) was a bricklayer’s labourer, his sister Mary (15) was a general servant, and Ellen (22) was married.

In the second quarter of 1909 in the Headington Registration District Arthur Drewitt married Jane Keziah Eadle (born in Marston in 1888). They had four children:

  • Gladys Amelia Drewitt (born in Old Marston on 19 July 1909 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 29 August)
  • Arthur Drewitt (born in Church Lane, Old Marston on 18 July 1910 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 11 September)
  • Edwin William Drewitt (born in Old Marston on 28 November 1912 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 26 January 1913)
  • Winifred May Drewitt (born in Old Marston on 6 June 1914 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 9 July).

The 1911 census shows Arthur (26), a market gardener, living with his wife and two children in Church Lane, Old Marston. His parents were living separately in Old Marston: his father (63) was still working as a farm labourer, while his mother (54) was running a grocer’s shop on her own account: she was still listed as a shopkeeper in Kelly’s Directory for 1915. Their house had only three rooms, including the kitchen, but as well as their sons Henry (30) and Albert (13) they were looking after their daughter Ellen’s illegitimate daughter and had a lodger.

Drewitt grave

 

Poppy In the First World War Arthur Drewitt served as a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 24330).

He was killed in action at the Somme in France at the age of 32 on 13 November 1916.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 10A and 10D) and on Roll of Honour of St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston.

 

Arthur’s younger brother Albert was killed nine months later in the First World War, on 22 August 1917. William John Walton, who had married their sister Mary Drewitt in the third quarter of 1907, was also killed.

 

 

Left: The grave of Arthur’s parents in St Nicholas’s churchyard, Old Marston also remembers their two sons who died in the First World War. Albert is remembered first (see detail below) with the words:

ALSO ARTHUR THIRD SON OF ABOVE
KILLED IN ACTION
NOV. 13 TH. 1916 AGED 31 YRS.

Arthur Drewitt inscription


Postscript

Old Marston memorial

Arthur’s parents

They are buried in St Nicholas’s churchyard in the grave shown above:

  • William Drewitt (born 1848) died on 17 October 1920 aged 72.
  • Mrs Rosa Drewitt (born 1856) died on 15 December 1927 aged 71.
Arthur’s widow
  • Mrs Jane Drewitt gave birth to a son in Old Marston on 28 March 1920 (over three years after her husband Arthur’s death, and had him baptised with the name Albert John Drewitt at St Nicholas’s Church on 2 May 1920: no father was named.
Arthur’s siblings
  • Ellen Louisa Drewitt (born 1878) gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Clara Louisa Drewitt, on 16 August 1899 and had her baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 28 October 1899. On 26 December 1900 she married George Henry Matthews at St Nicholas’s Church and she was probably his child, as George’s father acknowledged her as his grandchild in the 1901 census when they were living with him at Cromwell Cottage. They lived in Marston until at least 1915, and then moved to Elsfield. They had nine children baptised at St Nicholas’s: Ethel May Drewitt (born 24 April, baptised 26 May 1901); Florence Annie Drewitt (baptised 25 December 1902); Lily Drewitt (born 17 February, baptised 17 April 1904); George Henry Drewitt (baptised 25 March 1906); Mary Margaret Drewitt (baptised 28 April 1907); William John Drewitt (baptised 25 July 1909); Albert Edward Drewitt (born 26 May, baptised 29 May 1914); Ernest Arthur Drewitt (baptised 21 November 1915); and Winifred Alice Drewitt (baptised 11 August 1918).
  • Albert Drewitt (born 1896) was also killed in the First World War: see separate page.

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website