Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Charles Henry WEBB (1868–1917)

Charles Henry Webb

Charles Henry Webb was born in St Clement’s, Oxford in 1868, the son of Arthur Webb (born in Stonesfield and baptised at St James the Great Church there on 30 May 1841) and Jemima Trinder (born in Headington and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 April 1845).

The 1861 census shows Charles’s father, Arthur Webb (19), who was an agricultural labourer, as a visitor at the New Headington home of Joshua and Sarah Trinder (a farm labourer and a laundress), who were his future wife’s parents. Their daughter Jemima Trinder was then 15 years old, and four years later on 24 December 1865 she and Charles's father Arthur were married at St Paul’s Church in Walton Street: Arthur was described as a brewer of Jericho Street, and Jemima signed her name with a cross. They began their married life in New Headington, probably with Jemima’s parents, and had the following children:

  • Arthur Edward Webb (born in New Headington in1866 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry on 12 August)
  • Charles Henry Webb (born in Brewery Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in early April 1868 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 5 April)
  • Ellen Ann Webb (born in Brewery Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1869 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 25 December); died aged ten months and buried in its churchyard on 6 October 1870)
  • Bessie Webb (born in Brewery Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1871 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 6 August)
  • Ellen Ann Webb (born in Cherwell Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1873 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 30 November)
  • Albert Victor Webb, born in Cherwell Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1876 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 25 December); died aged one and buried in its churchyard on 12 April 1878)
  • Herbert William Webb (born at 5 Cherwell Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1878/9 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 26 January 1879)
  • Ada Jane Webb (born in William Street, New Marston in 1880/1 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 27 March 1881).

At the time of the 1871 census Charles (3) was living in Little Brewery Street, St Clement’s with his father Arthur (29), his mother Jemima (25), and his older brother Arthur (4).

The family moved from Little Brewery Street to 5 Cherwell Street in about 1872, and were still there in 1879.

By March 1881 Charles’s father, still described as a brewer’s labourer, had moved with his wife and children to “Lucky Cottages” on the Marston Road (these may in fact have been in William Street, where the family had been described as living a month earlier at the time of their youngest child’s baptism). The 1881 census shows them living at William Street: Charles was then still at school at the age of 13.

The following year Charles’s father Arthur Webb died at the age of 40 (with his address given as the Marston Road). He was buried in St Clement’s churchyard on 24 October 1882.

On 12 June1884 at St James's Church in Cowley, Charles’s mother Jemima Webb (40) married her second husband, the widower, Arthur Lewis Jeffs (60), who was a greengrocer: both were then living in Cowley.

Jemima  Jeffs spent the census night of 1891 with her youngest daughter, Ada Jane Webb, at the Half Moon boarding house in Aylesbury, she was listed as a tramp and wrongly described as single. Charles himself, who would have been 23, is hard to find in that census. Later in 1891 his mother Jemima and her second husband Arthur Jeffs (latterly described as a hawker) and her daughter Ada Webb were all at Oxford Workhouse. Arthur Jeffs died at the workhouse at the age of about 70 on 24 October 1891 and Jemima at the age of 41 on 19 December 1891, and both deaths are recorded in the burial register of St Thomas’s Church.

On 30 October 1893 in St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston Charles Webb (25) married Amelia Ann Ward (born in Old Marston in 1864, reg. second quarter): she was the daughter of the parish clerk of Old Marston, Richard Ward, and at the time of the 1891 census was living with her parents and working as a machinist. They had six children:

  • Charles Henry Webb junior (born in Old Marston and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 13 April 1894)
  • Eugene Arthur Webb (known as Arthur; born in Old Marston in 1896; reg. first quarter of 1896: St Nicholas’s register has a gap)
  • George Albert Webb (born in Old Marston in 1898; reg. third quarter; St Nicholas’s register has a gap)
  • William Colenso Webb (born in Old Marston in 1900 (reg. third quarter) and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 25 November 1900)
    (The Battle of Colenso in the Boer War occurred on 15 December 1899, around the time of his conception)
  • Bessie Verna Webb (born in Old Marston on 2 March 1903 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 28 June 1903)
  • Ellie May Webb (born in Old Marston and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 26 January 1908).

At the time of the 1901 census Charles Webb was a general labourer at a nursery and was living with his wife and their first four children in one of the cottages opposite the Red Lion in Old Marston.

By the time of the 1911 census Charles Webb was working as a jobbing gardener and still living in Old Marston. He and his wife now had six children ranging in age from four to seventeen, and the eldest two, Charles Henry (17) and Eugene Arthur (15), were working as errand boys.

Poppy In the First World War Charles Henry Webb served as a Bombardier in the 128th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery (Service No. 104). He died of wounds in Belgium at the age of 50 on 6 February 1917.

He is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery (XI.A.7A), and is remembered on the Roll of Honour of St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston.

His wife, Amelia Ann Webb, formerly Ward, also lost two of her nephews in the war: Ernest Ward and Henry Ward.

Grave of Charles Webb's widow

Fifteen years later the following words were added to Charles Webb’s widow’s grave in Marston Cemetery (above):

ALSO OF HER HUSBAND
BDR C. H. WEBB, R.G.A.
DIED OF WOUNDS FEB. 6. 1917,
AGED 50 YEARS.
INTERRED AT POPERINGHE,
BELGIUM.
WORTHY OF EVERLASTING REMEMBRANCE.


Postscript

Old Marston memorial

Charles’s widow
  • Mrs Amelia Ann Webb died at the age of 67 on 20 March 1932 and is buried in Marston (Elsfield Road) Cemetery (grave shown above).
Charles’s children
  • Charles Henry Webb (born 1894) died at the age of 53 on 7 June 1947 and is buried in St Nicholas’s churchyard.
  • Eugene Arthur Webb (born 1896 and known as Arthur) married Caroline Edwards in the Neath registration district in the third quarter of 1918. He worked for the Great Western Railway, and in 1940 managed to get transferred back to Oxford, where they lived at 121 Marlborough Road. They had five of their children, ranging in age from 2 to 22) all baptised together at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 24 May 1942: Raymond Charles Webb (born 1 March 1920); Allan George Webb (born 9 July 1926); Gerald Gwyn Webb (born 8 September 1932); Haydn John Webb (born 29 March 1935); and Clive Webb (born 6 April 1940); the sixth son, Gordon Webb (born 1921/2) was away in Canada in the RAF. Eugene Arthur Webb and his wife Caroline are buried together in St Nicholas’s churchyard: she died at the age of 73 on 18 December 1969, and he died at the age of 77 on 19 October 1973. Their son Raymond Charles died on 27 February 2001 and his wife Margaret Joan on 10 November 1980, and they are also buried at St Nicholas’s churchyard.
  • William Colenso Webb (born 1900) married Winifred Ivy Durham of Magdalen Road, the daughter of the fruiterer William Alfred Durham at Cowley St John Church on 2 August 1926.
  • Bessie Verna Webb (born 1903) married John Edward Akers (the brother of Albert Akers of New Marston, who also died in the First World War) at St Nicholas's Church, Old Marston on 1 August 1927. He was a motor fitter, and they lived in Ferry Road. Their first child Keith Akers (born 9 February 1930) was baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 16 March 1930. Bessie was widowed, and in the fourth quarter of 1960, when she was 57, married Herbert Lewis Howson (a bachelor of 62 born in St Saviour in 1898). He died in 1967 at the age of 69 in the Oxford area, and Bessie died in 2000 at the age of 97 in the Abingdon district. Her son Keith married Gillian J. Smith in the Ploughley registration district in the fourth quarter of 1951, and died in the Abingdon district in 2000.

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