Poppy Louis Alfred DUKE (1898–1917) Poppy

Louis Alfred Duke (known as Alfred Duke) was born at Oxford in St Aldate’s parish in 1898. He was the son of Louis Douglas Duke (born in Oxford in 1873, the son of William Duke, Common Room Man of Exeter College) and Mary Ellen Griffiths (born in Oxford in c.1874). His parents were married at Ss Philip & James's Church on 3 July 1897 and had two children:

  • (Louis) Alfred Duke (born at 16 Edith Road, St Aldate’s, Oxford on 27 April 1898 and baptised at Ss Philip & James's Church on 12 June)
  • Evelyn Mary Duke (born St Stephen’s Dublin in c.1905).

Back in 1891 Alfred’s father (18) had been a cook’s apprentice living with his own parents at 43 Leckford Road. Ten years later in 1901 he was Steward of the Clarendon Club and living upstairs at 54 Cornmarket with his wife and Alfred (2).

By 1905 Alfred’s parents were evidently in Dublin, where Alfred’s younger sister was born.

At the time of the 1911 census they were in London, managing the Naval & Military Hotel in Harrington Road; but Alfred (12), who was still at school, was living with the family of his uncle, the compositor Thomas Griffiths, and his wife Emily at 30 Southmoor Road in St Margaret’s parish, while his sister Evelyn was parked with her widowed grandmother Hannah Griffiths (78) who lived nearby at 86 Kingston Road.

Alfred Duke is recorded as living in Chelsea when he enlisted in the army: given that he became a Corporal at a young age, he may have been a career soldier before the war.

Poppy In the First World War Alfred Duke served as a Corporal in the 2nd/18th Battalion of the London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) (Service No. 590537). He was killed in action in Egypt at the age of 19 on 23 December 1917. He is buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery in Israel (T.50), and his parents paid for the additional inscription HEB.XII.CHAP. VERSES 22–24 I HAVE GONE HOME” to be added to his headstone.

He is remembered on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Alfred Duke’s parents
  • Army records indicate that Louis Douglas and Mary Ellen Duke, were living at “Windyridge”, Wargrave Road, Twyford, Berkshire in the early 1920s. Louis Douglas Duke emigrated to Canada at the age of 48, arriving on 28 July 1921 with the intention of becoming a farmer. He was not accompanied by his wife, but he named her as his next of kin and stated that she lived in Sonning-on-Thames.

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