Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

George Leslie SKEY (1897–1919)

George Leslie Skey was born at Lime Walk, Headington on 11 June 1897. He was the son of Alfred Edward Skey (known as Edward, born in Headington Quarry in 1869 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 27 June) and Rose or Rosa Walker (born in Headington in 1872 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 1 September).

At the time of the 1891 census George’s father Edward (22) was living at the present 65 Lime Walk with his older brother Joseph, and both were gas-fitters. Living with them were their father John (67), a shepherd, and mother Jane (61), a laundress. George’s grandfather John was later to become the keeper of the toll-gate across the London Road at the Headington carfax. Edward’s future wife Rosa Walker (18) was then living with her parents in Wilberforce Street, New Headington, working as her mother’s laundress’s assistant.

His parents were married in Oxford in the third quarter of 1892 and had the following children:

  • Alfred Edward Skey junior (born in Headington on 14 January 1893 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 26 February)
  • Elsie Rose Skey (born in Headington on 25 September 1894 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 25 November)
  • George Leslie Skey (born in Lime Walk, Headington on 11 June 1897 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 25 July).

After their marriage George’s parents lived at the present 62 Lime Walk (then numbered 60), and George was born there in 1897.

At the time of the 1901 census George (3) was living at Lime Walk with his father Edward (31), who was still a gas-fitter, his mother Rose (29), and his older siblings Alfred (7) and Elsie (6).

In 1908, when George was nine, his mother Rose Skey died at the age of 36. She was buried in Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard on 20 December 1908.

In the fourth quarter of 1910 George’s father Alfred Edward Skey married his second wife (also called Rose), the widow Mrs Rose Keziah Page. Born Rose Keziah Cooper, she had married her first husband, John Edward Page, at St Andrew’s Church on 8 October 1900 and they had two children: Winifred Rosa L. Page (born in 1902) and John Edward Page (born 7 June 1904 and baptised three weeks later at the New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel). Her first husband John Edward Page died in 1905 at the age of 27 and her son died at the age of one shortly afterwards (reg. first quarter of 1906).

At the time of the 1911 census George (13) was living at Pitts Road in Quarry with his father Alfred (41) and stepmother Rose (30) who were running a grocer's shop there; his siblings Alfred (18) who was a plumber and Elsie (16); and his stepsister Winifred Page (8).

George’s father had one child by his second wife:

  • Muriel Kathleen Skey (born in Headington Quarry on 16 February 1916 and baptised at the Wesleyan Chapel in Tyndale Street, east Oxford on 29 March).

George Skey’s grave

 

 

 

Poppy George Skey volunteered for the First World War and served as a Private in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 201631).

He died of his wounds on 20 February 1919 at the age of 21 after being brought back to England.

He was buried in Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard on 23 February 1919, and is listed on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church.

 

 

 

Left: Photograph of George Skey’s grave in Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard (now the Cornerstone Christian Centre) taken in 2009. The text reads:

[Emblem of the Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry]

201631 PRIVATE
GEORGE SKEY
OXFORD & BUCKS. LIGHT INF.
20TH FEBRUARY 1919.

 


Postscript

Quarry memorial

George’s father
  • (Alfred) Edward Skey continued to work as a plumber and died at the age of 53 at Cross Street, Headington Quarry. He was buried at Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard on 17 March 1923.
George’s two full siblings
  • Alfred Edward Skey junior (born 1893) married Beatrice M. Cooper in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1915, but they do not appear to have had any children. He died at 2 The Pitts at the age of 29 and was buried at Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard on 23 March 1922.
  • Elsie Rose Skey (born 1894) married the landscape gardener Albert Henry Cooper at Headington Quarry Methodist Church on 13 April 1925. They had two children: Albert Skey Cooper (born 1927) and David R. Cooper (born 1937). Their son Albert Skey Cooper (21) married Muriel Elizabeth Baines (29) at Headington Quarry Methodist Chapel on 27 November 1948. Elsie Rose Cooper died at the age of 86 in the Abingdon district in 1980.

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website