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Oxford War Memorials: South African (Boer) War

This Boer War memorial originally stood at the Plain in Oxford, but is now at the Edward Brooks Barracks
near Abingdon. The photograph below was taken during its period at the former Slade Barracks in Headington.

Boer War Memorial

The South African War Memorial is dedicated to the 142 men of the First Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry who died in the South African (Boer) War of 1899 to 1902.

The monument was designed by an art metal worker of London called Gawthorp and sculpted by John Edward Hyett. It is made of Portland stone and is about nine feet high. It shows a soldier in pith helmet and South African campain uniform, holding his rifle in the ready position.

It was unveiled by the Bishop of Oxford on 19 September 1903 in the former churchyard of St Clement’s Church (now the site of the Plain roundabout) in front of a crowd of up to five thousand people. The 1st Battalion of the OBLI were under orders for India, and the ceremony took place while it was still unfinished so that they could be present: there was no statue on top of the plinth at the time. The photograph below showing the occasion belonged to Annie Collins, née Hedges (1879–1941):

Boer War Memorial unveiling

Between 4,000 and 5,000 people attended the ceremony. The procession, headed by the Mayor’s sergeant carrying the mace, started at Magdalen College School in Cowley Place. Lieutenant General Green Wilkinson said that the memorial was “a sacred possession, and would be handed down for many years in the City of Oxford amongst the beautiful buildings and historic houses”. The Mayor said that they had tried to find a site even more public than this one at the Plain, but it would nevertheless “be always prominent before the citizens”.

“Hymns to be sung at the unveiling of the South African war memorial of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry by the Lord Bishop of Oxford: September 19, 1903” is available at the Oxfordshire History Centre (PA Pamphlets (strongroom) OXFO/725.94).

Sadly this memorial is no longer even in Oxford. It has had four locations in all:

  • It originally stood in the former St Clement’s churchyard at The Plain in Oxford
  • It was moved to Cowley Barracks in 1950 when the Plain roundabout was created
  • In 1966, when Cowley Barracks was due to close down, it was moved to the Territorial Army Centre at Slade Park in Horspath Driftway, Headington
  • In 2008 it moved with the County Territorials to their new TA Centre in Abingdon, and forms the centrepiece of the entrance to Edward Brooks Barracks (This means that a memorial to the First Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry stands in what was Berkshire at the time of the Boer War.)

Picture of memorial in 1907 when it stood in St Clement's churchyard (Historic England)

View of the remains of St Clement's churchyard with the Boer War memorial in 1939 (University of Oxford)

Information about the memorial on the Imperial War Museum website

The memorial lists the 33 men killed in action and the 109 men who died of disease. The front panel which originally faced the city of Oxford bears an inscription, and the other three panels bear the names listed below:

Killed in action

Died of Disease

C. R. Day

A. R. Bright

Second Lieutenant:
V. A. Ball-Acton

2568 J. H. Aspey

4240 W. F. Meggs

3669 A. G. Walker

5455 E. Batstone
5686 W. Coleman

1797 O. Allnutt
5751 T. Appleby
3934 W. Baker
3205 J. Broom
5634 G. Browning
3719 J. Comber
5878 C. Cripps
3027 T. A. J. Cripps
3529 G. Crouch
3743 A. Davis
5682 P. Delaney
3360 C. Floyd
3301 J. Goldswain
5445 P. Lawrence
3994 R. Page
5550 G. Pitman
4791 J. Quelch
5939 W. Rudge
5540 A. Say
1460 J. Steward
3561 W. Ward
5822 J. C. Watling
3407 E. Webb
785 C. Woodley
3838 F. Yerby

R. W. Porter

2506 G. Olney
2129 T. Turnbull

2478 F. Cadley
2645 C. Clarke
2185 J. Hearn
4195 J. E. Larden

1966 W. Dudley

3645 J. A. C. Grant
3982 G. Grove
5591 A. H. Jones
2903 F. Ward
5588 W. Whall

Lance Corporals:
83 W. Boon
5174 A. J. Constable
2155 H. Inder
4246 P. C. Mason

4329 R. Lester
5142 H. Wylde

4610 G. Archer
6014 E. Avery
5886 R. Baker
1494 T. Baker
6005 W. Baldwin
2781 W. Barton
4931 A. Batchelor
2939 H. Bateman
3693 W. Baughan
4452 J. Beckley
5661 A. Boomer
1131 F. Bowles
7316 R. Bowles
4399 E. Brocks
2834 W. Brooks
3191 A. Brown
3380 H. Buck
3036 C. Burgess
3497 J. Chitty
5918 J. Churm
5532 H. Clarke
4098 J. Cloe
2137 F. Coleman
3414 F. Cook
5867 F. Cooper
7320 L. Coulton
5164 G. W. Davis
3782 S. W. Devoisey
3032 F. Eagle
3828 A. Edwards

2455 B. Edwards
3117 J. Faulkner
5525 E. Gardiner
4912 A. George
3586 J. Goodenough
7303 J. Gould
6546 I. Hamblin
4433 G. Harris
1857 T. Harwood
3701 W. Heydon
7233 C. Hobbs
5736 H. Horton
3351 F. Horwood
2937 C. Houlton
3951 A. Huckins
4427 A. Huckins
3631 E. Hunt
6533 W. Hutchins
6107 R. Jones
6284 T. Jones
3278 J. Kentish
2369 G. King
3603 W. Lidgeley
6443 E. Lloyd
3423 A. Macefield
6118 E. Marshall
4462 A. Maslin
5997 T. Merry
3745 F. Morris
6257 G. Nimms
5497 H. Ockleford
5697 F. Penny
2986 J. Portsmouth
5971 F. Puddifoot
3469 W. Quarterman
4629 F. Rickson
2916 F. Rymell
2963 J. Sawbridge
4284 W. J. Sherman
1437 J. Simmonds
3240 H. Smith
5903 J. Sparkall
5976 A. Staunton
6069 W. Stopp
6263 E. Strong
2749 C. Tilbury
5604 G. Townsend
5357 E. Trinder
4747 S. Turner
7331 G. Turton
3755 J. Tyson
4516 L. Vincent
4471 J. Wade
5464 W. Wakefield
2202 W. Walker
3499 E. Warner
3136 J. Warner
5989 G. Wilks
3230 R. Wilson
3912 C. Woodbridge

Officers killedAbove: the three men most senior in rank who are listed on Oxford's South African War Memorial
were pictured in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 3 March 1900

Boer War Memorial in Abingdon The Boer War Memorial at its new home at Edward Brooks Barracks (photographed by John Drummond)

© Stephanie Jenkins

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