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Oxford War Memorials: St Frideswide’s Church, Oxford

John Edward SOUNDY (1885–1918)

Soundy in OJI
Oxford Journal Illustrated, 27 July 1918
Reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire
County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre

 

Soundy on the memorial

Parents and siblings
  • Father: Henry Thomas SOUNDY: born in St Mary Magdalen parish, Oxford in about 1852 (not baptised there, nor indexed by GRO under that name); died aged 57 in 1912
  • Mother: Sarah Elizabeth WESTELL or WISTALL: born in St Ebbe’s, Oxford in 1852/3 (registered as WESTELL first quarter of 1853); died aged 81 in 1934

John’s parents were married at St Laurence’s Church, South Hinksey on 2 December 1872. They were both then living in New Hinksey (which was in the parish of South Hinksey in Berkshire until it was taken into the city of Oxford in 1889). At the time of their marriage, John’s father (20) was a soldier and his mother (19) was the illiterate daughter of a labourer (surname spelt as WISTALL on marriage registration). They had eleven children, all of whom survived:

  • Thomas Henry Soundy: born in New Hinksey on 1 May 1875 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 1 August
  • (Hannah) Rosina Soundy (known as Rose): born at Henley Street, east Oxford in 1876/7 (possibly at a relation’s house: the family does not appear to have moved there) and baptised as Anna Rosina Soundy at Cowley St John Church on 22 April
  • Ada Elizabeth Soundy: born in New Hinksey in 1878/9 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 30 January 1879
  • Sarah Amelia Soundy: born in New Hinksey in 1881 (reg. first quarter)
  • Laura Emily Soundy: born at 27 Church Street, New Hinksey on 27 July 1883 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 2 September
  • John Edward Soundy: born at Church Lane, New Hinksey on 1 October 1885 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 8 November
  • Anne Matilda Soundy: born at Lake Villa, New Hinksey on 8 July 1887 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 31 July
  • Alice Soundy: born at Lake Villa, New Hinksey on 2 September 1889 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 31 October
  • May Beatrice Soundy: born at 1 Lake Villa, New Hinksey in 1891 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 30 August
  • Frederick Richard Soundy: born at 1 Lake Villa, New Hinksey in 1893/4 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 21 January 1894
  • Ernest William Soundy: born at Lake Villas, New Hinksey in 1895 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 10 November.

The registrations of the above births between 1879 and 1894 were in the Abingdon district; but New Hinksey was taken from Berkshire into the City of Oxford by the time of Ernest’s baptism in 1895. St John the Evangelist Chapel was built in Vicarage Road, New Hinksey 1870 but the area remained in the parish of South Hinksey (St Laurence).

At the time of the 1881 census John’s parents were living at Church Lane, New Hinksey, Berkshire (now renamed Vicarage Lane, Oxford). His father Henry (27) was now a clothes cleaner (as his father had been before him), living with his wife Sarah (29) and their first three children: Thomas (4), Rosina (3), and Ada (2).

By the time of the 1891 census their address is specified as 1a Church Lane in New Hinksey. Despite now having eight children including a one-year-old baby and another on the way, John’s mother was working as a laundress, probably helped by Rosina (14) who had no other occupation. John’s eldest brother Thomas (16) was a printer’s machine boy, and Ada (12), Sarah (10), Laura (7), John himself (5), and Annie (3) were all at school.

By the time of the 1901 census, New Hinksey had moved counties and was part of of the city of Oxford, so although the family’s address was now  Church Lane, St Aldate’s, it is likely to have been the same house in Vicarage Lane as before. John (15), who was now working as an errand boy, was no longer at home with his parents: he was living with his elder brother Thomas (25) and his wife Ellen at 24 Lake Street. His mother (50) and sisters Rose (23) and Ada (22) were all working as laundresses at 10 Chuch Lane, while another three of his siblings were living in a separate household nearby at 6 Church Lane: Laura (17), who was a domestic servant; May (8); and Fred (7).

On 16 May 1909 at the new St John the Evangelist Church in Vicarage Road (evidently in haste), John Edward SOUNDY (23), described as a labourer of Lake Villa, married Mary Margaret WHEELER (22) of 13 Church Street. She was born in Kennington, Berkshire in 1886/7 and was the daughter of the plate-layer Joseph Wheeler.

They had at least three children:

  • Rosina May Soundy (born at 6 Church Lane New Hinksey on 30 October 1909 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 12 December)
  • Gladys Muriel Soundy (born at 54 Church Street on 16 May 1911 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 8 July)
  • Henry John Soundy (born at 18 West Street, Osney on 1 November 1914 and baptised at St John the Evangelist Chapel, Vicarage Road on 21 January 1915).

At the time of the 1911 census, John was working as a labourer for a baker & coal merchant and living his wife and their first child, Rosina (1) at 54 Church Street, New Hinksey (now Vicarage Road, Oxford). John’s parents were still living nearby in Church (Vicarage) Lane, again occupying two houses there: his mother Sarah (59) was working as a laundress and living with her unmarried daughter Hannah Rosina (34), who was a laundrymaid; and his father was nearby with four of his children: Alice (21), who was a laundry maid; May (19); Frederick (17), who was a printer’s labourer; and Ernest (15), who was a carpenter’s labourer.

John’s father Henry Thomas Soundy died in 1912 at the age of 57 (reg. Oxford third quarter).

By the time his son was baptised in 1914, John Soundy was living in Osney, at 18 West Street.

At the time he enlisted (probably in 1916) he was working as a packer in the Engineering Department of the GWR in Oxford.

Poppy In the First World War John Edward Soundy enlisted in Oxford and served as a Sapper in the 273rd Railway Construction Company of the Royal Engineers (Service No: WR/295440). He died of pneumonia in Salonika after the Armistice on 5 October 1918, aged 33.

He was buried in the Bralo British Cemetery, Greece (grave ref. 37).

His photograph was published in the GWR staff magazine on 26 February 1919.

He is also remembered on the Cowley St John War Memorial and the St John the Evangelist war memorial in New Hinksey, where his mother still lived.


Poppy John’s brother Frederick Richard Soundy (25) also died after the Armistice, in Germany on 21 September 1918

Frederick is not listed on the St Frideswide’s Church war memorial because he did not live there, but is listed with his brother on the St John the Evangelist war memorial in New Hinksey.

Aftermath

John Edward Soundy’s widowed mother

  • Mrs Sarah Elizabeth SOUNDY (born 1852/3) was living at 60 Lake Street just after the war. She died at the age of 81 in Oxford in 1934 (age recorded as 80)

John Edward Soundy’s widow

  • Mrs Mary Margaret SOUNDY (born 1886/7) remained at 18 West Street and was still there in 1936. She never remarried, and died in Oxford at the age of 75 in 1962 (registered second quarter).

John Edward Soundy’s children

  • Rosina May SOUNDY (born 1909) married James DAVIES in Oxford in the third quarter of 1934
  • Gladys Muriel SOUNDY (born 1911) never married. She died at the age of 98 at St Luke's Hospital, Latimer Road, Headington on 16 February 2010 and was buried in Headington Cemetery.
  • Henry John SOUNDY (born 1914) married Alice M. ABBOTT in Oxford in the third quarter of 1939.

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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