First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Joseph RUSHTON (1897–1914)

Joseph Rushton was born in Birmingham on 6 May 1897, the eldest child of Joseph Rushton (born in Birmingham in 1869, reg. third quarter), and Florence Amelia Carter (born in Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire in 1875, reg. second quarter).

His parents were married in the last quarter of 1893 in the Birmingham registration district and had nine children:

  • Joseph Rushton (born in Birmingham on 6 May 1897)
  • Emily Elizabeth Rushton (born in St Thomas’s parish, Oxford in 1898/9, reg. first quarter 1899)
  • George Edward Rushton (born in St Gabriel’s parish, Birmingham on 8 April 1901 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Headington on 3 June 1906 at the same time as his next brother but one)
  • Frank Jesse Rushton (born in Ashtead, Birmingham in 1902/3, reg. first quarter of 1903)
  • Ernest Albert Rushton (born in St Clement’s parish, Oxford on 22 January 1905 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Headington on 3 June 1906)
  • Kathleen Margaret Agnes Rushton (born in New High Street on 22 December 1906 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington on 3 February 1907)
  • Janet Syria Florence Rushton (born in New High Street on 13 March 1908 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington on 5 April 1908)
  • Albert Jesse Rushton (born in Perrin Street on 23 September 1909 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 7 November 1909)
  • Edith Mary Ellen Rushton (born in Perrin Street in 1911, reg. third quarter, and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 2 July 1911).

Joseph’s father, Joseph Rushton senior, was a faggot maker or wood sawyer.

At the time of the 1891 census, three years before her marriage, Joseph’s mother, Florence Amelia Carter (16), was a “penitent”, living at St Martin’s House in Belmont Road, Hereford.

Joseph and Florence Rushton moved around with their family: they were in Birmingham in 1897, and in Oxford (St Thomas’s parish) in 1899. By 1901 they were in Birmingham again, and the census that year shows Joseph’s father (33) “living on own means” in Fozeley Street, Birmingham with his wife and first two children: Joseph (3) and his sister Emily (2). They were still there at the beginning of 1903.

They were evidently back in Oxford and staying in St Clement’s parish when Ernest was born in early 1905, but had moved up to Headington by the time of his baptism in June 1906. They were living in New High Street from 1906 to 1908, but by the end of 1909 had moved around the corner to the west side of Perrin Street (then Church Street).

By the time of the 1911 census Joseph (13) was in a children’s home: he was an “inmate” at St Andrew’s Home for Boys, 28a Wilton Road, Reading. His parents were at their Perrin Street house (which had only four rooms, including the kitchen) with their other seven children: George (10), Frank (8), Ernest (6), Kathleen (4), Janet (3), and Albert (1). His father was still working as a wood sawyer, and his mother was working in a laundry, despite having young children and another baby due in three months.

It seems likely that Joseph joined the Royal Navy when he reached the age of 16 in May 1913, as his children’s home only accommodated boys up to the age of 15. He was certainly in the navy by the time the war started the following year.

Poppy Joseph Rushton served as a “Boy First Class” (Service No. J/19099, Devonport) and died at the age of 17 on 1 November 1914 when his ship the HMS Monmouth was sunk by the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau under Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee with the loss of her entire complement of hands in the Battle of Coronel off the Chilean coast.

Memorial to Rushton


Joseph’s body was not recovered from the sea for burial, but he is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 2, right), where he is remembered in a group headed BOY), as well as on the roll of honour of All Saints’ Church.

At 17, Rushton was the youngest Headington casualty of the First World War in Headington, and the third to die (jointly with Frank Bateman, who died in the same naval battle while serving on the HMS Good Hope). Charles Hartwell of New Marston also died with Rushton on HMS Monmouth.


All Saints' board

Joseph’s parents
  • Mrs Florence Amelia Rushton died at Piper Street (then Cross Street) in New Headington in 1914 at the age of 39 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 23 December. (Her age at death is recorded as 42, but this family was very vague about ages.)
  • Joseph Rushton married his second wife, Amy M. Mitchell, in the second quarter of 1916 in the Headington Registration District. He is probably the “Joseph Rustin” who is recorded as living at the present 35 Perrin Street in 1930. By 1936 “Joe Rushton” was living at 25 Spencer Crescent in Rose Hill. His second wife Amy died at the London Road Hospital (the former Headington Workhouse) at the age of 56 in early 1937 and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 9 January.
Joseph’s siblings
  • Emily Elizabeth Rushton (born 1898/9) married Albert J. Taylor in the Oxford registration district in the second quarter of 1937.
  • George Edward Rushton (born 1901) was living at 15 Southmoor Road, Oxford in 1936.
  • Frank Jesse Rushton (born 1902/3) married Nellie E. Clarke in the Oxford registration district in the third quarter of 1921. He was living at 10 Spencer Crescent, Rose Hill, Oxford in 1936.
  • Kathleen Margaret Agnes Rushton (born 1906) married Percival G. Neale in the Oxford registration district in the second quarter of 1933.
  • Janet Syria Florence Rushton (born 1908) married George S. Hembury in the Oxford registration district in the first quarter of 1933.
  • Albert Jesse Rushton (born 1909) married Gwendolen E. A. Soanes in the Oxford registration district in the second quarter of 1933, and they lived from that year at 37 Littlehay Road, Cowley.
  • Edith Mary Ellen Rushton (born 1911) married Reginald W. Honey in the Headington registration district (probably at All Saints’ Church) in the fourth quarter of 1929.

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