First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Richard John KIMBER (1899–1917)

Richard Kimber

Richard John Kimber was born in Titup in 1899. He was the son of Richard Kimber (baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry on 14 May 1872) and Anne Elizabeth Coppock (baptised at the same church on 31 October 1875).

His parents were married at Holy Trinity Church on 30 July 1898, and had the following children:

  • Richard John Kimber (born in Quarry in 1899 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 2 April)
  • Eric Jack Coppock Kimber (born in Quarry in 1901 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 26 May)
  • Doris Annie Kimber (born in Quarry in 1902 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 December)
  • Cicely Rebecca Jane Kimber (born in Quarry on 2 February 1905 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 23 April)
  • Harry Thomas Joyce Kimber (born in Quarry on 27 April 1906 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 27 May)
  • Herbert Arthur Kimber (born in Quarry on 23 June 1909 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 1 August)
  • Charles Ernest Kimber (born in Quarry on 10 March 1912 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 7 April).

At the time of the 1901 census Richard John Kimber (2) was living in Old Road at Titup with his father Richard (29), who worked for the Corporation as a yard foreman in Oxford, and his mother Ann (25).

In 1911 Richard (12) was a schoolboy (almost certainly at Headington Quarry National School), living at Wood View, Titup (now numbered 125 Old Road) with his father Richard (39), described as a drainage foreman with Headington Rural District Council; his mother Ann (35); and his five younger siblings Eric (9), Doris (8), Cicely (6), Harry (4), and Herbert (1). His sixth sibling, Charles, was born the following year.

By the start of the war, Richard was working for Oxford University Press as a feeder in the Machine Room (Miehle).

Poppy In the First World War Richard John Kimber enlisted on 2 April 1917, just after his eighteenth birthday, and because soldiers were not sent to the front until they were 19, he began his service in England as a Private in the 95th Battalion of the Training Reserve (Service No. TR7/13498). Just over a month after starting his training, on 11 May 1917, he died of cerebrospinal fever at the age of 18 at Tidworth Hospital in Wiltshire.

Richard Kimber’s grave

He was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard (SF 8). His parents must have set up his grave marker (a cross on a plinth with a surround, shown right) soon afterwards, as he did not get a war grave headstone.

The text on the plinth (shown below) reads:


Richard Kimber’s inscription

He is remembered on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church, and on the Oxford University Press war memorial (below):

Richard Kimber on OUP memorial


Quarry memorial

Richard’s parents
  • Richard’s parents continued living at Wood View in Old Road, which was then numbered 51 but is now numbered 125. His father Richard Kimber died there at the age of 64 at Old Road and was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard on 2 May 1936. His mother Anne Elizabeth Kimber died at the age of 74, and was buried with her husband on 2 November 1949.
Richard’s siblings
  • Eric Jack Coppock Kimber (born 1901) became a motor fitter and married Margaret May Bowerman at Holy Trinity Church on 9 August 1924.
  • Doris Annie Kimber (born 1902) became a domestic servant and married Edwin Arthur Caleb Harris at Holy Trinity Church on 1 August 1925.
  • Cicely Rebecca Jane Kimber (born 1905) worked as a shop assistant and married Edward Arthur Hinton at Holy Trinity Church on 21 September 1929.
  • Harry Thomas Joyce Kimber (born 1906) was still living at 125 Old Road in 1976.
  • Charles Ernest Kimber (born 1912) became Churchwarden of Holy Trinity Church. He died in 1999.

Charlie Kimber at William Kimber’s grave

Richard’s brother Charlie Kimber,
and his famous cousin William Kimber

The picture on the right (© Trevor Coppock) was taken in 1994 and shows Richard’s youngest brother Charlie Kimber (1912–1999) when he was Churchwarden of Holy Trinity Church.

He is crouched beside the grave of his and Richard's famous cousin, the morris-dancer William Kimber. The stone has a concertina on top of a pair of bells pads (worn by morris-dancers around the shins).


See also
  • CWGC: Kimber, R J
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 1 August 1917, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of Richard Kimber of Headington, who had died about three months earlier (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • War Record of the Oxford University Press (1923), entry for KIMBER, R. J.

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website