First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Edward Charles COPPOCK (1898–1918)

Edward Coppock

Edward Charles Coppock was born in Swindon in 1898, the son of Harry Coppock (born in Headington Quarry in 1866 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 3 June) and Mary Elizabeth Smith (born at the Pheasantry, Warminster, Wiltshire in 1873, reg. as Elizabeth Mary Smith).

At the time of the 1891 census, Edward’s father Harry (24) was still single and living in Quarry High Street with his parents. He was working as a general labourer.

Edward’s parents were married (evidently in haste) at St Paul’s Church in Swindon on 12 May 1898, and had five children:

  • Edward Charles Coppock (born at 69 Deacon Street, New Swindon on 24 November 1898)
  • Harry William Coppock (born in Headington Quarry in 1901 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 1 September); died aged 13 months and buried in the churchyard on 13 September 1902)
  • Cornelia Elizabeth Coppock (born in Headington Quarry in 1903 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 29 March)
  • Margaret Vera Coppock (born in Headington Quarry in 1905/6 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 7 January 1906)
  • Edith Kate Coppock (born in Headington Quarry on 29 October 1909 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 November).

The family did not remain long in Swindon after the birth of Edward, and by early 1901 they had moved to his father's home village of Headington Quarry. The census that year shows Edward (2) living at Harley’s Row in Quarry with his father Harry, who was a boiler smith’s labourer, and his mother. His only brother Harry was born later that year, but died aged thirteen months.

At the time of the 1911 census Edward (12) was still at school (almost certainly Headington Quarry National School). He was living at Quarry with his father Harry (46), who was now described as a labourer with the “Cowley Steam Plough”, his mother Mary (36), and his sisters Cornelia (8), Margaret (5), and Edith (1). The family of six was living in a cottage with only three rooms (including the kitchen) at the south-east end of the London Road in Holy Trinity parish: it is likely to have been on the site of the present No. 278.

Poppy Early on in the First World War when he was about sixteen, Edward Coppock lied about his age, saying that he was 19 (the earliest age that soldiers could be sent to the Front), and joined the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. In a letter dated 23 February (no year given, but likely to be 1915), William Stone (Edward’s friend) had a letter from his mother which included the line: “Mrs Coppock upset about Eddie and he don’t like being there don’t get enough to eat.” On 9 April 1916 Mrs Stone wrote, “Do you know he [Eddie] is in hospital with French Fever but is getting better now?” and “Mrs Coppock has been trying to get Eddie back but Major Melville Lee told her he would let her know but he did not think they would as he had been passed fit and gave his age as 19.” (Major Melville Lee lived at Stoke House in Old Headington.)

Edward Coppock did in fact return home to Headington, but as soon as he reached the age of 18 he was officially called up, and rejoined the army as a Private in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (Service No. 302664). He was sent to Chelmsford for home service on Friday 5 January 1917, and on to the Front once he reached the statutory age of 19 in November that year.

On 6 Sept 1918 Coppock’s mother’s friend wrote in a letter, “Eddie Coppock is expecting to be home on leave soon”; but five weeks later on 15 October 1918 (less than a month before the Armistice) he was killed in action in Belgium at the age of 19.

He was buried at the Cement House Cemetery, Langemark-Poelkapelle (XVII. D. 5):

Eddie Coppock's grave

His effects of £16 11s. 10d. were sent to his father Harry Coppock on 1 April 1919, followed by a war gratuity of £15 on 25 September.

Edward Coppock is remembered on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.


Quarry memorial

Edward’s parents
  • Mary Coppock died at the age of 47 and her funeral was held at Holy Trinity Church on 15 July 1923. Her address was given as 86 London Road: this is probably the house later renumbered 278 (near the present Green Road roundabout).
  • Harry Coppock was still living at 278 London Road in 1947. He is probably the man of that name whose death at the age of 82 was registered in Oxford in the fourth quarter of that year.
Edward’s sisters
  • Cornelia Elizabeth Coppock (born 1903) married John Henry Stevens, a bricklayer who lived at the nearby New Inn, at Holy Trinity Church on 19 August 1926.
  • Margaret Vera Coppock (born 1905) married Edward C. Sharman in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1929. The birth of their daughter Dawne B. Sharman was registered in the Oxford district in the third quarter of 1934.
  • Edith Kate Coppock (born 1909) married Harold F. Temple in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1931.The birth of their son Roy Temple was registered in the Oxford district in the fourth quarter of 1936.

See also
  • CWGC: Coppock, E (confirmed by FindMyPast as Edward Coppock and resident in Headington)
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 4 December 1918, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of E. Coppock of Headington, wearing his Scottish army uniform, who had died six weeks earlier (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • “The Long, Long Trail”: The Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1914–1918

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website