First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

William George NEVILLE (1895–1918)

William George Neville was born in New Headington in 1896, the son of Charles Henry Neville or Nevill (born in Headington in 1857 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 April) and his second wife Emma Louisa Horne (born in Tubney, Berkshire in 1867).

Back in 1871 William’s father Charles Neville (14) was living in Silman’s Row (the south side of Wilberforce Street) with his parents and working as an errand boy, while his first wife Emily Hickman (born at Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire in 1856) was living with her parents at Steeple Claydon.

Charles was a cellarman and Emily was living in St Clement’s when they were married at St Andrew’s Church in Headington on 25 April 1878. They had four children, who were William’s half-siblings:

  • James Henry Neville (born in Headington on 15 September 1880 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 31 October)
  • Ella Selina Neville (born in Headington on 8 March 1883 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 29 April)
  • Lizzie Neville (born in Headington on 16 July 1884 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 31 August)
  • Clara Lilian Neville (born in Headington on 16 July 1888 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 8 April).

At the time of the 1881 census William's father Charles, described as a grocer’s porter, was living in New High Street with his first wife Emily and their son James. Between 1883 and 1888 three daughters were born to them. Emily died in 1889 at the age of 34 when their four children were all still aged under nine, and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 6 July 1889.

Just a few months after his first wife’s death, near the end of 1889, William’s father Charles Neville (32) married his second wife Emma Louisa Horne (22) in the Headington Registration District. They had five children:

  • Edith Mary Neville (born in Headington on 2 September 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 19 October 1890)
  • John Neville (born in Headington in 1891/2 and privately baptised on 22 February 1892)
  • Henry (Harry) Walter Neville (born in Headington on 9 November 1893 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 18 February 1894);
    died at Bateman Street at the age of 15, buried in Headington Cemetery on 18 May 1909
  • William George Neville (born in Headington on 15 November 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 9 February 1896)
  • Charles Bernard Neville (born in Bateman Street on 12 August 1903 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 October).

The 1891 census shows William’s father James still working as a grocer’s porter and living with his second wife and their first child Edith (seven months) at 13 Bateman Street (then No. 2 Oxford Terrace, East Road). Two of James's four children from his first marriage, James Henry (9) and Clara (3), were also living with them; the other two appear to have been sent away to live with relatives: Ella (8) was with her step-grandmother Ella Horne in Tubney, while Lizzie (6) was with her uncle and aunt, John & Elizabeth Neville, in Clapham.

William George Neville himself was born in 1895.

At the time of the 1901 census Willilam (5) was living at 13 Bateman Street. with his father Charles (43), who was now a brewer's labourer, his mother Emma (33), and his siblings Edith (10), John (9), and Henry (7), plus his step-siblings James (20), who was working as a gardener, and Clara (13).

At the time of the 1911 census William (15) was working as a gardener and living at the same address with his father Charles (54), who was still a brewer's labourer; his mother Emma (43); his brothers William (17), who was also a gardener, and Charles Bernard (7); and his stepsister Edith (20), who was a domestic nurse.

William’s father died at 13 Bateman Street in 1917 at the age of 61, and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 23 April, so was spared from seeing his son killed in the war.

Poppy In the First World War William George Neville served as a Private, first in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 241014), and then in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Service No. 220238). He died of wounds in France at the age of 22 on 21 March 1918.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Pozières Memorial (Panels 56 and 57) and on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.


All Saints' board

William’s mother
  • Mrs Emma Louisa Neville appears to have married Walter Busby in the Abingdon registration district in 1930. She died in Oxford at the age of 83 in 1950.
William’s siblings
  • Edith Mary Neville (born 1890) married Henry Smith in the Headington registration district in the first quarter of 1913.
  • John Neville (born 1892) married Edith H. Simms in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1913. He was still working as a gardener when they had their daughter Dorothy Edith Neville baptised at All Saints’ Church on 19 October 1913: they were then living in Windsor Street.

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website