Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Benjamin William BRAZIER (1893–1915)

Benjamin Brazier

Benjamin William Brazier was born at Bareilly in the North West Province of India on 30 November 1893, the eldest son of Wallace Brazier (born in Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire in 1866) and Mary Jane Paddon (born at Shoreham in Sussex in 1863 and the daughter of William Paddon of the Royal Navy).

His parents probably married in Scotland, as his mother was living at 4 Pentland Villas, Juniper Green, Midlothian at the time of her marriage. They had three children:

  • Benjamin William Brazier (born at Bareilly in Bengal on 30 November 1893 and baptised there on 17 January 1894)
  • Annie Amanda Brazier (born in Cowley in 1895, reg. third quarter)
  • Wallace Roberts Brazier (born at Cowley Barracks in 1900 and baptised at St James's Church, Cowley on 20 May).

Benjamin’s father was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He served in India, and then in 1894/5, when Benjamin was about one year old, the family moved back to England to Cowley Barracks. The Chaplain to the Barracks at this time was the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.

Benjamin was educated at Cowley & East Oxford Council School. At the time of the 1901 census he was seven years old, living at Cowley Barracks with his parents and two siblings, Annie (5), and Wallace (eleven months).

Miss Elizabeth Green Brazier, the elder sister of Benjamin’s father, appears to have come to live with the family, as on 22 January 1908 she died at Cowley Barracks at the age of 58 and was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard on 24 January.

In September 1908 Benjamin joined his father’s battalion, the 2nd Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, At the time of the 1911 census both Benjamin and his father appear to have been serving abroad.

From October 1913 to August 1914 Benjamin was back in England, living at Cricklewood while he attended the Royal School of Music; but he rejoined his battalion at the outbreak of war.

The London Gazette of 22 September 1914 reports that Benjamin’s father Wallace Brazier had been appointed Temporary Quartermaster with the honorary rank of Lieutenant.

Benjamin Brazier

 

Poppy In the First World War Benjamin Brazier served as a Corporal in the ill-fated 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 8949). He served in France and Flanders, and was twice wounded, the second time at the Battle of the Aisne. He was killed in action aged 21 on 16 May 1915 in France during a night attack at Richbourg L’Avoue.

His grave is unknown, but he is mentioned on the Le Touret Memorial. He is also listed on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.

His company commander wrote: “During the time I was out in France he was in my company, and I looked upon him as a promising N.C.O. who would in time have risen to the highest rank. He was a gallant lad”; and the Quartermaster: “He was a brave lad, the best of soldiers, and would, I am certain, had he been spared, have risen to a high position. There is not one but will mourn his loss.”

Corporal Brazier was a keen sportsman and football player, in which latter sport he won two medals.

The following words were added to the grave marker of Brazier’s aunt, Elizabeth Green Brazier, in Holy Trinity churchyard:

ALSO
BENJAMIN WILLIAM BRAZIER
CORPORAL 2ND BATTN OXF. & BUCKS. LT INFTY
KILLED IN ACTION AT RICHEBOURG D’AVOUE [sic: for “L’Avoue”], FRANCE
16TH MAY 1915.
AGED 21 YEARS & 6 MONTHS.
AT REST– HIS DUTY DONE.

Words re Brazier in Holy Trinity churchyard


Quarry memorial

Postscript

Benjamin’s parents
  • Wallace Brazier died in 1946 at the age of 81 in the Hendon district.
  • Mary Jane Brazier died in 1948 at the age of 85 in the Willesden district.
Benjamin’s siblings
  • Wallace Roberts Brazier married Violet A. Wybrow in the Kensington district in the third quarter of 1925. The birth of their son, William W. Brazier, was registered in the Kensington district in the first quarter of 1931.
  • Annie Amanda Brazier married Herbert C. Bradford in the Bristol district in the third quarter of 1918. They had three children: Sybil M. Bradford (Alton district 1921); Constance M. Bradford (Epsom district 1925); and Alan J. T. Bradford (Epsom district 1929).

See also

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website