Albert LOUCH (1896–1917)
Albert Louch was born in Old Headington in 1896, the son of Walter Louch (baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 2 August 1874) and Mary Gertrude Durham, known as Gertrude Mary (baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 24 May 1874).
His parents were married at St Andrew’s Church on 2 June 1895 and had the following children:
- Albert Louch (born in Headington in 1896 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 10 May)
- Edith Mary Louch (born at Old High Street on 26 February 1898 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 1 May)
- Gertrude Mary Louch (born in Headington Quarry on 12 November 1900 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 30 December)
The Louch family had first settled in Old Headington near the end of the eighteenth century.
Albert’s father Walter Louch was a stone quarryman, and he and Mary began their married life in Old Headington, with their address given as Old High Street in 1898.
By 1900 they had moved to Headington Quarry. Albert’s mother Gertrude died there at the age of 26, probably as a result of childbirth, as her youngest child had been born just a week before she was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard on 19 November 1900. (The child however survived, and was given her name.)
Albert’s father moved back to Old Headington with his three young children to live with his widowed mother, Martha Louch (née Green), and the 1901 census shows him as a widower of 26 living with her in Old High Street with his two older children: Albert (4) and Edith (3). Albert is described as a scholar: he would have attended Old Headington Infants’ School, which was by this time in a building, now demolished, that stood behind the present St Andrew’s School. Albert's grandmother, who was 71 in 1901, probably could not manage to look after a baby as well as two young children, and Albert’s five-month-old sister Gertrude was described as a “visitor” at the home in St Andrew’s Road of a young childless couple, Frank and Annie Pether: and although they went on to have four children of their own (the first in October 1901, so Annie was not a wet nurse), they were still looking after Gertrude in 1911 and she was listed in the census as Gertrude Pether, so must have been unofficially adopted.
At the time of the 1911 census Martha Louch (81) was living in Church Street (St Andrew’s Road), and Albert (15) and his sister Edith (14) and their father were still living with her. The occupation of Albert is not given. Although the house only had four rooms (including the kitchen), Albert’s unmarried uncle, Frederick Louch (45), who was a house painter, was also living with them.
In the First World War Albert Louch served as a Lance-Corporal in the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 10401). He was killed in action in France at the age of 21 on 9 April 1917 and is buried at the Tilloy British Cemetery at Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines.
He is listed on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.
Left: Photograph of Albert Louch’s grave in the Tilloy British Cemetery, France, kindly supplied by British War Graves. The text reads:
[Emblem of the OBLI]
10401 LANCE CPL.
OXFORD & BUCKS LIGHT INF.
9TH APRIL 1917
- Martha Louch, who had brought Albert up, died at the age of 96 at Hill House (a home in Sandhills), and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 17 June 1925.
- Walter Louch married his second wife, the widow Mrs Ada Kate Crawford (whose son John Crawford is also on the St Andrew’s war memorial), at Oxford Registry Office on 4 August 1919. Ada died in 1950 and Walter in 1955, both at Wood Farm.
- Edith Louch married her cousin, Walter Thomas Louch, at Oxford Registry Office on 16 October 1920. They lived in Kidlington, and had no children. Walter died on 12 May 1973 at Cowley Road Hospital, and Edith on 7 December 1970, and they are buried beside each other in Kidlington churchyard.
- Gertrude Mary Louch married Stanley Reginald Saxton in the Headington registration district in 1929, and they had one child, Doreen May Saxton, born on 2 March 1931 at Lime Walk. Doreen Louch married Ronald W. Thomas in 1953. Mrs Gertrude Saxton died on 12 May 1999 at the age of 98.
- CWGC: Louch, A (confirmed by FindMyPast as Albert Louch, resident of Headington)
- Oxford Journal Illustrated, 2 May 1917, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of Albert Louch of Headington, who had died just over three weeks earlier (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
- Wikipedia: Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
- War Memorial to the soldiers of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at Rose Hill, Oxford