First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

William WHITE (1888–1917)

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

William White

William White (known as Willie) was born in New Headington in 1888, 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, was 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).

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

William was born near the beginning of 1889.

At the time of the 1891 census Willilam (3) was already at school (almost certainly New Headington Infant School in Perrin Street) and 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 Herbert (two months). Also living with them were Herbert's cousin Owen Harris (16), who was a blacksmith's apprentice.

In 1894, when William was only six, his mother Florence Louisa White died at the age of 43, and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 20 October 1894.

William’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 William (13) was working as a stable lad 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; and Herbert (11) and Ella (8).

♥ On 25 August 1908 at Wolvercote Church, William White married Alice Sadler, a domestic servant based at 293 Woodstock Road and the daughter of Isaac Sadler. They had three children:

  • Blanche Alice White (born on 5 October 1909 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 21 November)
  • Gertrude Helen White (born in 1914, reg. Headington district second quarter)
  • Alan Herbert William White (born in 1916 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 26 October).

From 1900 to 1916 William was employed by John Mattock in his nursery to the south of Wilberforce Street: his special work was attending to exhibits at all the great rose shows.

When their first daughter was baptised at the end of 1909 William and his wife were living in Perrin Street (then called Church Street), and William was described as a rose grower. William (24) and Alice (24) can be seen in the 1911 census living at Perrin Street with their first child Blanche (eighteen months). Meanwhile his father and stepmother in 1911 were still living at 40 New High Street, but only two of William’s siblings were still at home: Walter junior (25), who was a builder’s carter, and Herbert (20), who was also a nursery gardener.

By 1914 William and his young family were living in Gardiner Street (then known as South Street), and were still there when their third child was baptised in October 1916. William was then described as a Private in the O.B.L.I.

William White’s grave


Poppy In the First World War William White was a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 201459). He was killed in action by a shell in Belgium at the age of 29 on 10 September 1917.

He was buried in the Tyne Cot Cemetery (III.C.15). The photograph of his grave (left) was kindly supplied by British War Graves. The inscription reads:

[Emblem of the OBLI]

201459 PRIVATE
10TH SEPTEMBER 1917   AGE 29


This is one of the 40% of war graves that bears a personal message at the end (for which the family had to pay 3½d per letter).


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

William brother Herbert White died just seven months later in France.


All Saints' board

William’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.
William’s widow
  • Mrs Alice White was living at 68 Sutherland Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent after her husband’s death.
William’s children
  • Gertrude Helen White (born 1914) married Richard W. Pettit in the Bilston (Staffordshire) registration district in the first quarter of 1937. She died in that district in 1953 at the age of 39.
William’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 ), Ernest George White (born in 1911 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 7 August); Mabel K. White (born 1913); and Doris M. White (born 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 (1910), Francis H. Brooker (born 1912), and Ivy M. Brooker (born 1916). At the time of the 1911 census they were 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.
  • Herbert Benjamin White (born in 1892) 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