First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Frederick Percival MORRIS (1898–1918)

Frederick Percival Morris was born in Headington on 19 September 1898, the son of Frederick Morris (born in Headington in 1863 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 December) and Sophia Jane Coleman (born in Headington in 1866 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 29 April).

Frederick’s father was a shoemaker and his mother was a servant when they were married in haste at St Andrew’s Church on 1 August 1886. They had eleven children, of whom four were dead by 1911. Three are missing from this list, and probably died in infancy without being baptised:

  • Mabel Caroline Morris (born in Headington on 27 February 1887 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 10 April)
  • Edith Morris (born in Headington on 29 November 1888 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 January 1889)
  • Gilbert John Morris (born in Headington on 11 August 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 October)
  • Mildred Morris (born in Headington on 21 January 1893 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 26 March)
  • Lucy May Morris (born in Headington on 30 May 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 July)
  • Frederick Percival Morris (born in Headington on 19 September 1898 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 20 November)
  • Elsie Morris (born in Headington on 8 December 1899 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 March 1900)
  • James Andrew Morris (born in Headington in 1902); died aged two months and buried Headington Cemetery on 1 January 1903
  • Daisy Sophia Morris (born in Headington on 6 October 1902 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 January 1903).

At the time of the 1891 census Frederick's father was at home in St Andrew’s Road with his four-year-old daughter Mabel, while his mother was visiting her parents, John & Matilda Coleman, at 55 Magdalen Road in east Oxford with her daughter Edith (2) and baby Gilbert.

The Morrises' house

From 1898 Frederick’s father was described as a gardener rather than a shoemaker, and by the time of Elsie’s birth in 1899 the family had moved to 11 Westbourne Terrace on the London Road. This is now the Shanghai House takeaway at 127 London Road (right).

At the time of the 1901 census Frederick (2) was living at Westbourne Terrace with his father Frederick (37), his mother Sophia Jane (35), and his five older siblings Mabel (14), Edith (12), Gilbert (10), Mildred (8), and Lucy (5).


Below: Westbourne Terrace in about 1916, when the present shops were still houses with front gardens

Westbourne Terrace in 1916

By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 9 New High Street in All Saints’ parish. Frederick (12) was still at school (almost certainly Headington National School) and was living there with his father Frederick (47), who was a gardener, his mother Sophia Jane (45), and his younger sisters Elsie (11) and Daisy (8).

Poppy In the First World War Frederick Percival Morris served as a Private in the 9th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment (Service No. 31553). He died of wounds in France on 10 November 1918 (the day before Armistice Day) at the age of 20 and is buried in the Busigny Communal Cemetery extension (II.B.16).

He is remembered on the roll of honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield, and the grave of his parents in Headington Cemetery below) has the words along the side:

Frederick Morris’s parents’ grave

All Saints' board


Frederick’s parents
  • Mrs Sophia Jane Morris died at 9 New High Street at the age of 56 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 22 November 1922.
  • Frederick Morris died in 1933. (His name is shown on the above grave but is not entered in the cemetery register, so he may have been cremated).
Three of Frederick’s sisters
  • Edith Morris (born 1888) was described as living in The Croft, Old Headington when she married Edward Thomas Garner, a joiner from Northamptonshire, at St Andrew's Church on 26 December 1917.
  • Lucy May Morris (born 1895) was still living with her parents at 9 New High Street when on 2 August 1920 she married Jack William Spencer, a mechanic of Enfield Wash, at St Andrew's Church in Headington
  • Daisy Sophia Morris (born 1902) married Percy A. Blake in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1923.

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