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Oxford War Memorials: St Frideswide’s Church, Oxford

William George H. NORTH (1891–1917)

North in OJI
Oxford Journal Illustrated, 31 January 1917
Reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire
County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre

William North on memorial

Parents and siblings
  • Father: Frederick John NORTH: born in Headington on 26 September 1862 and baptised as an adult at SS Mary & John Church, Cowley Road on 21 December 1882; died 1937/8
  • Mother: Miriam HALL: born in Garsington in 1861/2 (reg. first quarter of 1862); died 1897

A year before their marriage, William’s father Frederick (18) was living with his aunt, Miss Sarah Vallis, in Old High Street, Headington and working as a gardener; and Miriam (19), was living with her parents at 18 Randolph Street off the Cowley Road and working as a dressmaker.


William’s parents were both minors when they were married in the Headington registration district in the first quarter of 1882. They had six children:

  • Frederick Thomas North: born at 1 Donnington Road, Oxford in 1882 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church, Cowley Road on 5 November
  • Elizabeth Sarah Ann North: born at Prospect Place, Magdalen Road, Oxford in 1884 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church, Cowley Road on 13 July
  • Florence Jessie North: born in Cowley St John, Oxford in 1885 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church, Cowley Road on 4 October
  • Gertrude May North: born at 51 Magdalen Road, Oxford on 5 April 1889 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church, Cowley Road on 14 July
  • William George H. North: born at 48 Mill Street, Oxford in 1891 and baptised at St Frideswide’s Church on 17 January 1892
  • Henry George North: born at 10 Arthur Street, Oxford in 1894/5 and baptised as Harry North at St Frideswide’s Church on 25 April 1895

William’s father was a gardener. He and his wife were living at 1 Donnington Road when their first child was born in 1882, but had moved to Magdalen Road by mid-1884. The 1891 census shows them living at 51 Magdalen Road with their first four children, as well as William’s maternal aunt Mrs Jessie Hatts (25), who was a washerwoman, and her two young sons.

The family must have moved to Osney soon after that census, because William was born at 48 Mill Street by the end of 1891.They stayed in Osney. moving to 10 Arthur Street by the beginning of 1895, when William’s younger brother Henry was born.

William’s mother died at the age of 35 around the time of his sixth birthday, and her funeral was at St Frideswide’s Church on 30 September 1897. By the time of the 1901 census William’s father, who was still working as a gardener, had moved to 26 Barrett Street. All six of his children were still at home with him, including William (9). William’s eldest brother Frederick (18) was now an apprentice coppersmith, and doubtless his sisters Elizabeth (16) and Florence (15) kept house for the family.

On 13 October 1906 William’s father married his second wife, widowed neighbour Mrs Elizabeth Ann Colwell (née Anthistle), at St Frideswide’s Church. He was then living with his children at 12 Barrett Street, and after the marriage he moved into his wife’s home at 49 Henry Road, leaving his son Frederick (who himself got married at around the same time) in the former family home. William also remained there and lived with his married brother.

William’s second sister Florence (no longer needed as her father’s housekeeper) was married the following year and took in her sister Gertrude. Then William’s eldest sister Elizabeth Sarah Ann North (27) was married from her father’s home at 49 Henry Road on 2 February 1907: she was 27, and her husband Frederick Robert Jones (37), who worked as a bricklayer, was a widower. His address was given as 12 Barrett Street, and he may have lodged with Frederick North.

At the time of the 1911 census, William (19), now a cutter in an underclothing factory, was living at 12 Barrett Street with his brother Frederick and Frederick’s wife, who now had a baby. William’s father Frederick and his new wife Elizabeth had now moved away from Osney and were living at 51 Argyle Street in East Oxford with William’s younger brother Henry (14), who was an apprentice carpenter & wheelwright, and Elizabeth’s two children by her first marriage, Stephen David Colwell (12) and Sophia May Colwell (10).

Poppy In the First World War William George H. North enlisted in Oxford and served as a Corporal in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No: 3343). He was wounded in 1916, and the Oxford Journal Illustrated for 19 July 1916 then published the same photograph as that shown above.

When he recovered, he was attached to the Nigeria Regiment of the West African Frontier Force, and died of sickness in Nigeria on 10 January 1917 at the age of 26. He was buried in the Morogoro Cemetery, Nigeria (Grave reference VIII.E.1).

The Oxford Journal Illustrated for 19 July 1916 mistakenly records him as having been in the East rather than the West African Frontier Force (see caption under photograph at the top of this page).


William North’s father

  • Frederick John NORTH (born 1862) is probably the man of that name who was living at 24 Cumberland Road, Cowley in 1936. He died in Oxford at the age of 75 (death reg. first quarter of 1938).

William North’s siblings

  • Frederick Thomas North (born 1882) was described as a coppersmith of Simmond's Stores, Osney Lane when he married Grace Lucy Farrant at St Thomas's Church on 27 October 1906, and they remained in his father’s former house, 12 Barrett Street. They had one son: Frederick Robert F. North (born in Oxford in 1909). Frederick Thomas North was still listed as living at 12 Barrett Street in 1936.
  • Elizabeth Sarah Ann North (born 1884) married a widower, Frederick Robert Jones at St Frideswide’s Church on 2 February 1907: she was 27, and her husband 37: he worked as a bricklayer.
  • Florence Jessie North (born 1885) was living at 24 Hollybush Row when she married the house decorator Willie Rowland Smart at St Thomas's Church on 29 June 1907. At the time of the 1911 census they were living at 32 Essex Street with their first two daughters Miriam (3) and Ivy (1). They had two more children: Kathleen R. Smart (1913) and Jack W. Smart (1914/15).
  • Gertrude May North (born 1889) married William Frederick Moger at Ss Mary & John Church on 19 August 1911; both she and her future husband, who was a plasterer, were living with her sister Florence at 32 Essex Street before the marriage. Their son Harold W. F. Moger was born in 1912 (reg. Headington district second quarter); and there are three other possible children born later elsewhere in the country.
  • Henry George North (born 1895) was a police constable living at the city police station in Blue Boar Street when he married Hilda Maude Somers at Ss Mary & John Church on 20 March 1920.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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