First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Emanuel Richard COOMBS (1887–1917)

Emanuel Coombs

Emanuel Richard Coombs or Coombes was born in Oxford in 1887, the son of Henry Coombs (born in Cumnor in 1856/7 and baptised there on 5 April 1857) and Ann Lamburn (born in Marston in 1853 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 30 October).

At the time of the 1881 census Emanuel’s mother Ann Lamburn (27) was living in Marston as housekeeper to her grandfather and father, who were both widowers, and also looking after her five younger siblings. Her grandfather William (74) was a farmer, and her father Richard (50) was a farm bailiff.

Emanuel's parents were married (evidently in haste) at Cumnor Church on 28 May 1882 and had eight children:

  • Constance Mary Coombs (born in Cumnor in 1882 and baptised at Cumnor Church on 26 November)
  • William George Coombs, born in Oxford in 1884 and baptised at Cumnor Church on 13 July); died aged 8 months and buried there on 21 January 1885
  • Thomas Henry Coombs (born at 13 Luther Street, Oxford on 8 December 1885 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe’s on 14 February 1886)
  • Emanuel Richard Coombs (born at 13 Luther Street, Oxford on 30 October 1887 and registered with that forename but baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe’s on 11 December as Mansell Richard Coombs)
  • Albert Lamburn Coombs (born at 13 Luther Street, Oxford on 2 October 1899 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe’s on 8 December)
  • George Ambrose Coombs (born in Oxford in 1892 and baptised at Cumnor Church on 10 July)
  • Elsie Annie Coombs (born at 13 Luther Street, Oxford on 14 October 1894 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe’s on 9 December)
  • Florence Mary Coombs (born in East Oxford on 25 August 1896 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 15 October).

Emanuel’s parents appears to have begun their married life in Cumnor, possibly at Henry’s parents’ home, but had moved to Oxford by 1884, where his father worked as a brewer’s labourer. In 1885 their address is specified as 13 Luther Street in St Ebbe’s.

At the time of the 1891 census Emanuel (3), with his name again recorded as Mansell, was living at 13 Luther Street with his father Henry (34), who was described simply as a labourer, his mother Ann (37), and his siblings Constance (8), Thomas (5), and Albert (1).

By 1896 the family had moved to 68 Hurst Street in Cowley St John parish, east Oxford

In 1901 Emmanuel (13) was a grocer's errand boy, living at 68 Hurst Street with his father Henry (44), described as a brewer's labourer, his mother Ann (47), and his siblings Thomas (15), who was a wheelwright’s apprentice, and Albert (11), George (8), Elsie (6), and Florence (4).

Henry & Ann Coombs


At the time of the 1911 census Emmanuel (23) was a grocer's assistant, living at 57 Henley Street in east Oxford with his father Henry (54), who was still a brewer's labourer, his mother Ann (57), and his siblings Albert (21), who was a brewer's labourer; George (18), who was a baker's deliverer; Elsie (16) who was working as a day girl; and Florence (14), who was still at school. His sister Constance (28) was working as a parlourmaid at 15 Norham Road, Oxford and his brother Thomas (25) was already married with two children and living in Charles Street.


Left: Emanuel’s parents Henry & Ann Coombs;



Below: Emanuel, George, and Thomas Coombs

Emanuel, George, and Thomas Coombs

♥ On 16 April 1914 at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, Emanuel Richard Coombs married Beatrice Mary Kimber. He was described as a shop assistant of Cowley St John, and she was the daughter of the builder Elias Kimber and his wife Catherine. She had been baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry on 28 August 1877, and her brother Anthony Kimber, who was a witness at the wedding, also died in the First World War and is on the Holy Trinity roll of honour.

Emanuel and his wife Beatrice went to live at 4 Gathorne Road (then called Alexandra Road) in the parish of Headington Quarry (a house built by the Kimber family, next door to her brother Frederick and his wife Ethel). They do not appear to have had any children.

Poppy In the First World War Emanuel Richard Coombs served as a Private in the 2nd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) (Service No. 245165). He was killed in action in Belgium aged 29 on 26 September 1917.

Coombs’s name on Tyne Cot Memorial

Emanuel Coombes has no known grave, but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium. The photograph of his name on that memorial (right) was kindly supplied by British War Graves.

He is also remembered on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, and on the Cowley St John war memorial.

Below: The soldier on the left of this group is believed to be Emanuel Coombs

Group of soldiers

The three family photograph on this page were reproduced by kind permission of
Barrie Knight, grandson of Emanuel Coombs’s brother Thomas


Quarry memorial

Emanuel’s widow
  • Beatrice Mary Coombs married her second husband William Booker, a soldier based at Portobello Barracks in Dublin, at St Stephen the Martyr Church in Hampstead on 8 November 1919. Beatrice Mary Booker died in Oxford in 1970.
Emanuel’s parents
  • Henry Coombs was described as a sling maker in 1915. He died at the age of 73 in 1930 (reg. second quarter in the Headington district, which included east Oxford).
  • Ann Coombs died at the age of 76 in 1930 (reg. third quarter in the Headington district).
Emanuel’s siblings
  • Constance Mary Coombs (born 1882) was living at 15 Norham Road (presumably in service) when she married Thomas Frederick Lovegrove of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars at Ss Philip & James's Church on 20 July 1915. They had one child: Richard Lovegrove (born 1922, reg. Woodstock district second quarter).
  • Thomas Henry Coombs (born 1885), a tram conductor of 68 Hurst Street, married Evelyn Nellie Bickerton of St Bernard's Road at Ss Philip & James's Church on 10 December 1905. They can be seen in the 1911 census living at 49 Charles Street with their children Harry Coombs (5) and Constance Coombs (2). Thomas moved to Coventry for improved employment shortly after 1911, but moved back to Oxford after being called up in 1916: he joined the 10th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment (service No. 39149) and served in India and Salonica. After demobilisation the family returned to employment in Coventry (at Courtaulds).
  • George Ambrose Coombs (born 1892), a baker of 57 Henley Street, married Edith Mary Masters of 18 Walton Street at St Paul's Church on 16 August 1921. They had no children.
  • Elsie Annie Coombs (born1894) never married. She died in Oxford at the age of about 70 near the beginning of 1966.
  • Albert Lamburn Coombs (born in 1899), described as a soldier on active service, married Edith Louise Green at Cowley St John Church on18 January 1917. They had two children: Albert Coombs (1917, first quarter) and Dorothy E. A. Coombs (1921, first quarter).
  • Florence Mary Coombs (born 1896) was living at 57 Henley Street when she married Sampson Henry Smith, a library assistant of 37 Norreys Avenue, at New Hinksey on 24 August 1922. They had two children reg. in the Headington district: Ralph B. Smith (1923) and Beryl E. Smith (1926).

See also
  • CWGC: Coombs, Emanuel Richard (confirmed by FindMyPast as residing in Headington, with birthplace given as Cowley St John parish in Oxford)
  • Oxford Chronicle of 19 October 1917, p. 7: Brief report on Emanuel Coombs’s death
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 7 November 1917, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of Emanuel Coombs of Headington, who had died six weeks earlier (shown above)
  • Wikipedia: London Regiment

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website