First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Alfred ROBINSON (1890–1917)

Alfred Robinson

Alfred Robinson was born in Oxford in 1890. He was the son of William Thomas Robinson (born in St Clement’s, Oxford in 1848 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 10 September) and Fanny Gosling Couling (born in Oxford in 1849 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 July).

His parents were married in the Oxford registration district in the third quarter of 1871 and had nine children:

  • Ann Elizabeth Robinson, known as Annie (born at Cave Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1874 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 29 November)
  • Fanny Matilda Robinson (born at 30 Cave Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1876 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 30 July)
  • William Henry Robinson (born at 40 Cave Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1880 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 28 March)
  • George Robinson (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1882 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 30 April)
  • Eva Robinson (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1885 and baptised privately by Clement’s Church on 14 December);
    died aged 17 months, and buried in St Clement’s churchyard on 16 November 1889
  • Ernest Robinson (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in c.1887 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 29 January 1888)
  • Percy Robinson (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1888 and baptised privately by Clement’s Church on 29 January);
    died aged 21 months and buried in St Clement’s churchyard on 16 November 1889
  • Alfred Robinson (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1890 and baptised at Clement’s Church on 27 April)
  • Thomas Henry Robinson, known as Henry or Harry (born at Caroline Street, St Clement’s, Oxford in 1893 and baptised privately by Clement’s Church on 15 December)

At the time of the 1871 census, a few months before their marriage, Alfred’s parents were both were boarding in the house of Miss Harriet Gardner in Cherwell Street, St Clement’s: William Robinson (22) was a porter , and Fanny Couling (21) was a domestic servant.

After his marriage, Alfred’s father became a house painter like his own father. From 1874 to 1881 Alfred's parents lived in St Clement’s at Cave Street (which was then known as George Street), and their first three children were born there. The house number is given as 40 in the 1881 census.

By 1882 the family had moved to 11 Caroline Street in St Clement’s. Alfred himself was born at that house and is shown there the 1891 census, aged one. His older siblings were all still at home: Annie (16) was now a dressmaker, and Fanny (14) a domestic servant.

The family was still living at 11 Caroline Street at the time of the 1901 census. Alfred (11) and his brothers Ernest (12) and Henry (8) were at school. Of his four eldest siblings, only George (18) was still at home, and working as a gas fitter. William (20) was lodging at Leighton Buzzard and working as a grocer’s manager; and Fanny (24) was living elsewhere in St Clement’s with her husband and three children.

By 1911 Alfred’s family had moved back to Cave Street, and were living at No. 26. Alfred (20) and his younger brother Harry (18) were the only children still living at home, and both worked for an outfitter: Alfred was a hosiery assistant and Harry a porter. Alfred’s brother George was now married with three children, and living in another house in Cave Street.

Alfred Robinson & family


♥ In the second quarter of 1912 in the Headington Registration District, Alfred Robinson married Caroline Beatrice Ingram (born in Sevenhampton, Wiltshire in 1889). At the time of the 1911 census, Caroline had been working as a parlourmaid at 16 Linton Road, Oxford.


The couple initially lived at 6 Cherwell Street in St Clement's, but by 1916 they had settled in Holyoake Road (then called Western Road), the eastern side of which was in St Andrew’s parish.

They had two children:

  • Alfred William Frederick Robinson (born at 6 Cherwell Street in 1912 and baptised at St Clement's Church on 26 January 1913)
  • Gwendoline Beatrice Robinson (born in Headington on 24 March 1916 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 June).

Alfred was described as a warehouseman at the time of his son's baptism in 1913, but as a soldier at his daughter's baptism in 1916.


Right: Alfred and Caroline Robinson with their children Alfred and William in 1916. Photograph kindly supplied by James Alfred Robinson, the grandson of the young boy shown here

Poppy Alfred Robinson served as a Private, first in the Somerset Light Infantry (Service No. 25291), and then in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Service No. 18509).

He died of wounds in France at the age of 27 on 23 April 1917.

Alfred Robinson’s grave in France


Alfred Robinson is buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery extension (II. D. 13). The photograph of his grave (left) was kindly supplied by British War Graves.

The crest at the top is of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and shows an antelope, “ducally gorged and chained standing on a heraldic torse”. The inscription reads:

23RD APRIL 1917 AGE 27


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).



Alfred Robinson is remembered on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.



St Andrew's memorial board

Alfred’s father
  • William Thomas Robinson continued working as a house painter, and died at the Cowley Road Hospital at the age of 85. He was buried in Headington Cemetery on 4 July 1934.
Alfred’s widow
  • Mrs Caroline Robinson appears to have returned to her native Wiltshire after her husband’s death. She may be the person of that name who married Henry Ball in the Swindon registration district in the fourth quarter of 1918.
Alfred’s children
  • Alfred William Frederick Robinson (born 1912) married Dora M. Lukins in Bridgwater, Somerset near the end of 1945. Their daughter Susanne C. Robinson was born in Swindon in 1947, and their son Christopher A. Robinson in 1951.
  • Gwendoline Beatrice Robinson (born 1916) married John Herman Burges in the fourth quarter of 1936 in the Swindon registration district, and their daughter Gwendoline A. Burges was born in 1937/8 (reg. Weymouth district first quarter of 1938). Gwendoline Beatrice lost her husband in the Second World War: John Burges was killed while serving in the Royal Navy on 14 July 1940; she married her second husband, Edward F. Painter, in the fourth quarter of 1942 in the Swindon registration district. She died in the Swindon district at the age of 60 in 1976.
Alfred’s siblings
  • Fanny Matilda Robinson (born 1876) gave birth at the age of 18 to Edward Arthur H. Robinson in 1894: he was born at her parents’ home at 11 Caroline Street and was privately baptised by St Clement’s Church on 18 March 1895. She married Edwin Arthur Hignell in Oxford in the fourth quarter of 1895, and they had three children baptised at St Clement’s Church: Elsie Edna Fanny Hignell (1897), Florence Daisy Hignell (1900), and George Ernest Hignell (1906). They lived first at 6 Albion Place and then at 1 Dudley Gardens in Cave Street.
  • George Robinson (born 1882) married Harriet Georgina Weaver in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1906. He was by this time an electrician, and the family lived at 6 Chapel Terrace in Cave Street. They had three sons baptised at St Clement’s Church: Stephen William Edgar Robinson (1908), Frederick Percy Robinson (1912), and Horace Edward Robinson (1914).

See also
  • CWGC: Robinson, A (confirmed by FindMyPast as Alfred Robinson, born in Oxford and residing in New Headington).
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 6 June 1917, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of Alfred Robinson of Headington, who had died about two weeks earlier (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • Wikipedia: The Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Back to St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website