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Oxford War Memorials: St Frideswide’s Church, Oxford

Henry BROWN (1889–1917)

Brown in OJI
Oxford Journal Illustrated, 17 January 1917
Reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire
County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre

Parents and siblings
  • Father: Alfred Charles BROWN: born in Croydon in 1859 (reg. second quarter); died in Osney in 1923
  • Mother: Sarah Ann WRIGHT: born in Didcot in 1860/1; died in Oxford in 1937.


Henry ’s parents were married at Hagbourne Church on 25 April 1886. They had three children, all of whom survived infancy:

  • Agnes Brown: born at North Hagbourne near Didcot in 1886 and baptised there on 21 November
  • Alfred Brown: born at North Hagbourne near Didcot in 1888 and baptised there on 10 June
  • Henry Brown: born in New Botley on 9 August 1889.


Memorial: Brown

Henry’s father Alfred worked for the Great Western Railway and moved around the country to various railway towns. He was already an engine driver at the age of 22, when he was living with his aunt in Upper Heyford, and probably met his future wife Sarah Ann Wright in Didcot. They began their married life in Hagbourne near Didcot, but by the time Henry was born on 9 August 1889 they were in New Botley.

They did not stay long in Oxford at this point, and by the time of the 1891 census they were in Swindon, living at 52 Morris Street with Agnes (4), Alfred (3), and Henry himself (1); and by 1901 they were in Reading, living at 108 Salisbury Road with their three children. 

By 1909, when Henry’s sister Agnes married Ernest Barfoot, the family had returned to Oxford. The 1911 census shows his parents living alone at 43 Hill View Road, with his father Alfred (52) now more settled as a locomotive foreman. Henry himself (21) was a Chief Petty Officer in naval barracks at Portsmouth; Agnes was living with her husband and two children at 33 Earl Street; and Alfred is probably the Alfred C. Brown (23), a Didcot-born GWR engine fitter, lodging in Leamington.

In the third quarter of 1916 Henry BROWN married Beatrice BOWERMAN in the Headington registration district, which included Summertown. Beatrice, who was born in Summertown early in 1889 and baptised at its church on 25 March, was the daughter of the labourer Jesse Bowerman and his wife Eliza. They were married for less than six months before Henry’s death, and do not appear to have any children.

Henry is on the St Frideswide’s war memorial because his parents lived at 43 Hill View Road; but it is possible that his wife also lived there at the time of his death; she may only have moved back afterwards to be with her parents in Summertown.

Poppy In the First World War Henry Brown served as an Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class in the Royal Navy on HMS Indomitable (Service No: M/2647 (CH)).

He died of pleurisy back in England on 3 January 1917 at the age of 27. His funeral was at St Frideswide’s Church on 8 January 1917, followed by interment at Osney Cemetery, England: the gravestone below is in the Special Memorials section.

Henry Brown


Henry Brown’s parents

  • Alfred Charles BROWN: (born 1859) died at 43 Hill View Road in 1923 and his funeral was at St Frideswide’s Church on 24 September.
  • Mrs Sarah Ann BROWN (born 1860/1) had left 43 Hill View Road by 1928. She is probably the Sarah Ann Brown who died at 33 Crescent Road at the age of 87 in 1937 and was buried in Cowley St John churchyard on 26 August.

Henry Brown’s widow

  • Mrs Beatrice BROWN (born 1889) was living at 65 Islip Road at Sunnymeade in north Oxford after the war. On 11 April 1925 at Summertown Church, Beatrice (claiming to be 33 but in fact 36) married Collin Harold CLINCH (a bachelor of 30 who lived nearby at 75 Islip Road). Collin [sic] moved into her house, and was still listed there in 1976. They do not appear to have had any children.

Henry Brown’s siblings

  • Agnes Brown (born 1886/7) married Ernest Christian Mealing Barfoot in Oxford in the first quarter of 1909, evidently in haste, as the birth of their son Ernest Charles Barfoot was registered in the second quarter of 1909. They had two more children: Agnes Violet Barfoot (born at 33 Earl Street, New Botley on 15 November 1910 and baptised at North Hinksey Church on 1 January 1911) and John Henry Barfoot (born at the same address on 9 September 1912 at baptised at North Hinksey on 1 December).
  • Alfred Brown (born 1887/8) is hard to trace after 1911.

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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