First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Herbert Benjamin WHITE (1892–1918)

Some of this information is repeated under the entry for Herbert’s brother William White, who also died in the war

Herbert White

Herbert Benjamin White was born in Headington in 1892, the son of Walter Richard White (born in Marston in 1847/8 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 27 February 1848) and Florence Louisa Harris (born in Summertown near the end of 1850 and baptised at St Michael & All Angels Church there on 19 January 1851).

His parents were married at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 10 November 1872 and had ten children:

  • Walter Benjamin White (born in Marston on 29 May 1872 six months before his parents’ wedding and registered as Walter Benjamin Harris; but on 8 March 1874 (sixteen months after the wedding) he was baptised as Walter Benjamin White at St Nicholas’s Church, at the same time as his younger brother). He died at the age of 5 in 1877
  • Frederick Richard White (born in Marston on 15 February 1874 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 8 March 1874)
  • Alice Emily White, known as Emily (born in Marston in 1876, reg. second quarter)
  • Kate White (born in Marston in 1877, reg. third quarter)
  • Frank White (born in Headington on 23 October 1880 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 November)
  • Ernest Walter White (born in New Headington in 1881, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Walter William White (born in New Headington in 1884, reg. fourth quarter)
  • William White (born in New Headington, born in Headington in 1887/8 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 8 January)
  • Herbert Benjamin White (born in Headington on 19 January 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 29 March)
  • Ella Beatrice White (born in Headington on 25 December 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 February 1893).

Herbert’s parents evidently started off their married life in Marston, but by 1880 they had moved to Headington. At the time of the 1881 census they were living on the south side of Wilberforce Street (at No. 2 Bath Buildings (later known as Mattock’s Row) with their first four surviving children: Frederick (7), Emily (5), Kate (4), and Frank (1). As Herbert’s father was a gardener, it is possible that he worked for John Mattock.

Herbert Benjamin White was born in Headington the following year.

At the time of the 1891 census Herbert (two months) was living at 23 Bateman Street (then known as East Road) with his father Walter (40), who was a gardener; his mother Florence (40); and six of his siblings: Frederick (17), who was a gardener, and Alice (14), Frank (11), Ernest (9), Walter (6), and William (3). Also living with them was Herbert's cousin Owen Harris (16), who was a blacksmith's apprentice.

In 1894, when Herbert was only three years old, his mother Florence Louisa White died at the age of 43. She was buried at Headington Cemetery on 20 October 1894.

Herbert’s father Walter White married his second wife, Harriett Kingham (born in Marston in c.1850), in the Headington Registration District in the first quarter of 1898.

At the time of the 1901 census Herbert (11) was still at school (almost certainly Headington National School) and living at Fern Cottage, 40 New High Street with his father Walter (50), who was a gardener, and his stepmother Harriett (51). All eight of his surviving siblings were still at home: Frederick (27), who was a gardener; Alice (24), who was a housemaid; Kate (23), who was a factory counter assistant; Frank (22), who was a cycle maker; Ernest (19), who was a Private in the Grenadier Guards; Walter (16), who was a carter; William (13), who was a stable lad; and Ella (8).

At the time of the 1911 census Herbert (20) was a nursery gardener (probably working for John Mattock, as his brother William did) and still living at Fern Cottage with his father Walter (62), who was a jobbing gardener; his stepmother Harriet (63); and his brother Walter (25).

Poppy In the First World War Herbert White served as a Private in the 2nd/1st Bucks Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 200999). He was wounded in France and was presumably taken to the hospital in Rouen, where he died at the age of 20 on 2 April 1918.

He was buried in the St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen (P. IXK. 8B), and his war grave there has the added words “THY WILL BE DONE”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

He is remembered on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.

(Herbert’s older brother William White had died in Belgium seven months earlier.)


All Saints' board

Herbert’s stepmother and father
  • Mrs Harriett White died at 40 New High Street in 1919 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 14 January.
  • Walter White died at 14 Piper Street (then called Cross Street) in 1927 at the age of 78, and was still described as a gardener. He was buried in Headington Cemetery on 12 January.
Herbert’s siblings
  • Frederick Richard White (born 1874) married Ellen Louise Jones at St Andrew’s Church in Headington on 25 May 1901. They had eight children: Charles Walter White (born on 24 October 1901 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 24 October), Florence Lilian White (born on 20 May 1903 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 19 July), Frederick Richard White (born 1904/5), Herbert Owen White (born on 28 September 1907 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 3 November 1907), Elsie White (born in 1908/9), Ernest George White (born in 1911 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 7 August); Mabel K. White (born in 1913); and Doris M. White (born in 1916). They were living at 3 Piper Street (then called Cross Street) at the time of the 1911 census with their first six children and three Bushnell nephews and nieces; in the previous ten years they had lived in New High Street, the Croft, and Perrin Street, and a few months after the 1911 census they moved to Windsor Street. Frederick’s daughter Elsie gave birth to an illegitimate child, Arthur John Kemp White, at 14 Piper Street in December 1920 and had him baptised privately at All Saints Church on 23 December 1920; he died aged three weeks and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 5 January 1921.
  • (Alice) Emily White (born 1876) married George Heathers in the Hartley Wintney district of Hampshire on 25 January 1908 and they had four children: Cyril John Heathers (1909), Cecile E. Heathers (1910), Constance E. Heathers (1912), and Doris K. Heathers (1913).
  • Kate White (born 1877) married Arthur Henry Brooker of Plumstead at St Andrew’s Church in Headington on 3 August 1901. They had eight children, all reg. in the Woolwich district: Roland Arthur Brooker (born 1901); Florence Emily Brooker (born 1903); twins Hilda Kathleen B. Brooker and Herbert Walter H. Brooker (born 1905); Ethel Marjorie Brooker (born 1908); Leslie J. Brooker (born 1910); Francis H. Brooker (born 1912); and Ivy M. Brooker (born 1916). At the time of the 1911 census the family was living at 6 Princes Road, Plumstead.
  • Ernest Walter White (born in 1881) married Ann Jane Sadler at St Andrew’s Church on 2 January 1909. They had at least three children: Winifred May White (born in 1909), Gertrude M. White (born 1914), and Alan W. H. White (born 1916). At the time of the 1911 census they were living in Mattock’s Row on the south side of Wilberforce Street. Ernest White died at the age of 62 at 153 The Slade, Headington and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 7 November.
  • William White (born in 1888) was also killed in the First World War: see separate entry

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website