First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Raymond JACOBS (1889–1916)

Raymond Jacobs

Raymond Jacobs was born in Headington on 12 July 1889, the son of William Jacobs (born in Headington in 1862) and Eliza Ann Adams (born in Headington in 1862 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 April).

Raymond’s parents were married at St Andrew’s Church on 1 May 1888 and had six children:

  • Raymond Jacobs (born in Headington on 12 July 1889 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 11 August)
  • Millicent Jacobs (born in Headington on 10 December 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 18 January 1891)
  • Ernest Jacobs (born in Headington on 2 August 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 September)
  • Andrew Jacobs (born in Headington on 3 March 1894 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 8 April)
  • Lewis Jacobs (born in New Headington on 26 January 1897 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 21 March);
    died aged 22 months and buried at Headington Cemetery on 21 December 1898)
  • Gladys Jacobs (born in New Headington in 1901 and baptised at St Clement's Church in Oxford on 29 December).

Raymond’s father William Jacobs was a stonemason (as indeed his father George had been before him); but at the time of the 1881 census William, who was still single, was unemployed and living with his parents at 21 Windsor Street, where his mother Eliza ran a shop. (She had been a pupil teacher back in 1881, living in Old High Street with her widowed mother and her brother John Adams (25), who was a butcher.)

Raymond’s father appears to have moved away to look for work, as his residence was given as Bromsgrove at the time of his marriage; but he then settled back in Headington with his wife. The 1891 census shows the family living at the house now numbered 90 Lime Walk: Raymond was then just one year old, and his widowed maternal grandmother, Ann Adams, was living with them.

They were still at 90 Lime Walk in 1901, and there were now four children: Raymond (11), Millicent (10), Ernest (8), and Andrew (7). Mrs Ann Adams (78) was still living with them, and her unmarried daughter Jane Adams (47) had moved in too.

Raymond Jacobs and familyThe Jacobs family in about 1910. Back row: Andrew, Raymond, and Ernest;
front row Millicent, Mr & Mrs Jacobs, and Gladys.

Raymond became a stonemason like his father. At the time of the 1911 census, when he was aged 22, he was boarding at 62 High Street, Portland, Dorset with the family of Albert Jesse Jacobs. (Albert, who was the first cousin of Raymond's father, was born in Headington in 1870, the son of the labourer Daniel Jacobs and his wife Alice, but must have moved to Dorset after marrying a Portland girl.)

Back in Lime Walk, only Raymond’s sisters Millicent (20), who was a dressmaker and Gladys (9), and his aunt Jane Adams (57), were at home with Raymond’s parents. His brothers Ernest (18) and Andrew (17) were both electrical meter testers and were boarding at a house in Rugby.

In 1912 Raymond returned to Oxford, and was employed by Magdalen College as a stone mason.

Raymond Jacobs with wife and daughter
This photograph of the family must have been
taken just before Raymond Jacobs was killed in 191

♥ On 23 December 1913 in Buckinghamshire, Raymond Jacobs (24) married Sarah Jane Haynes (29). Sarah (born in Marsh Gibbon in 1884) had gone into service at the age of 11, and according to her grandson ran away from her first employment but was returned by her mother. It was as a servant that she later came to Oxford, and postcards (in the possession of her grandson) that she received there show that in May 1904 and March 1905 she was working for Mrs Stedman (wife of the physician & surgeon Percy Andrew Stedman) at 10 Rawlinson Road. She then came to The Pullens on Headington Hill to work for Lady Markby (wife of Sir William Markby, Reader in Indian Law at the University of Oxford and Tutor and Senior Bursar of Balliol College), and was there from at least April 1906 to September 1907. By 1909 she was working for Mrs Carpenter (wife of the Revd Joseph Estlin Carpenter, Principal of Mansfield College) at 11 Marston Ferry Road, Summertown, where she is shown as a housemaid at the time of the 1911 census.

They had one child:

  • Margaret Bessie Jacobs (born in Headington on 28 October 1914).

By January 1916 their home was at  the south-west end of St Leonard's Road. This was then called Southern Road and was just a short spur on the west side of London Road. Their house was then numbered 3, but is probably the present No. 75.

Raymond Jacobs's grave

Poppy In the First World War Raymond Jacobs served as a Sapper in the 216th Army Troops Company of the Royal Engineers (Service No. 91819).

On 7 February 1916, a German shell scored a direct hit on the company, which was then near Loos, killing seven men and mortally wounding several more, including Jacobs, who died the same day at the age of 26.

He is buried in the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery (Grave 13)


Right: Photograph of Raymond Jacobs' grave in the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery, kindly supplied by his grandson, Ian Garrett. The inscription reads:

[Emblem of the Royal Engineers,
G V R [George V], surrounded by the words

91819 SAPPER

He is remembered on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield and on the Magdalen College war memorial.

See also his biography on Magdalen College's website

As he was a stonemason at Magdalen College, Raymond Jacobs is also remembered on the First World War Memorial in that college’s cloisters (below).

Memorial to Raymond Jacobs

Raymond Jacobs



Below: Informal will of Raymond Jacobs,
made less than a fortnight before his death.
Reproduced by permission of David Roberts

Will of Raymond Jacobs




All Saints' board

Raymond’s widow
  • Mrs Sarah Jane Jacobs moved with her young daughter Margaret to 2 Old High Street. When Margaret married, Mrs Jacobs went to live with her and her husband, and remained with them for the rest of her life. She died in 1974.
Raymond’s daughter
  • Margaret Bessie Jacobs married Harry Spencer Garrett, a local government officer, in Oxford in 1935 and they had two children. Their first address was 2 Forest Road, Risinghurst. Harry died in March 2007 and Margaret in August 2009, and they are buried together in Headington Cemetery.
Raymond’s parents
  • William Jacobs died at the age of 67 at the house now numbered 90 Lime Walk and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 9 November 1929.
  • Eliza Ann Jacobs died at the Cowley Road Hospital at the age of 87 on 17 October 1949. Her home was still at 90 Lime Walk.
Three of Raymond’s siblings
  • Millicent Jacobs, who was a seampstress, married William George Cox, who was a chemist, at All Saints’ Church on 22 August 1912, and three days later they embarked from Liverpool bound for Montreal, Canada. They remained there until September 1922, when they emigrated again to the USA, first to St Louis, Missouri. By 1925 they were in Los Angeles, and their daughter Roberta Mae Jacobs was born there on 4 January 1929: she was later Mrs French and, following a divorce in 1971, Mrs Laidlow.
  • Ernest Jacobs remained an electrical engineer and had a senior position at Shanghai Power Station before the Second World War. He was interned during the war, and when freed went to Australia. He married Rose Hodder on 2 June 1920 and they had at least one child, Beryl Jacobs (born c.1925). Ernest died on 20 August 1969 in Sydney.
  • Gladys Jacobs married Reginald Holton in 1926. She died in the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 26 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 18 February 1928.

The photographs of Raymond Jacobs on this page were kindly supplied by his grandson, Ian Garrett

See also
  • CWGC: Jacobs, R
  • Wikipedia: Royal Engineers
  • James Sambrook, With the Rank and Pay of a Sapper the 216th (Nuneaton) Army Troops company of the Royal Engineers in the Great War (Paddy Griffith Associates, 1998: ISBN 0 9521488 3 8) describes the tragedy on p. 46 

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website