Poppy Gilbert Sims GADNEY (1886–1916) Poppy


© Images & Voices,
Oxfordshire County Council

Gilbert Sims Gadney was born in Oxford in 1886. He was the son of Frank John Gadney (born in Isis Row, North Hinksey, Berkshire and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 2 August 1848) and Elizabeth Ann Sims (born in Pusey (then Alfred) Street, Oxford and baptised at St Giles's Church on 28 February 1849).

His parents were married in Holywell Church, Oxford on 22 August 1872 and had four children:

  • Ethel Mary Gadney (born in Oxford and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 26 October 1873)
  • Herbert George Gadney (born in Oxford and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 1 November 1874)
  • Cyril Frank Gadney (born in Oxford on 23 January 1885 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on on 1 March 1885)
  • Gilbert Sims Gadney (born in Oxford on 8 May 1886 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 13 June 1886).

Gilbert’s father Frank John Gadney was the son of the bookbinder James Gadney, and back in 1871 he was living with his unmarried aunt, Catherine Gadney, at 17 Walton Street and was a clerk to a tailor. He was living in SS Philip & St James parish in 1872 when he married Gilbert’s mother Elizabeth Sims: she was the daughter of John Sims, Clerk of the Schools, who lived at 54 Holywell Street, and the niece of George Frederick Sims, organist at Merton College (who taught Gustav Holst counterpoint for a period in 1891, when Holst was 17).

By the time their first child was born in 1873 Gilbert's parents were living at 1 Chichester Villas, Kingston Road (which was in SS Philip & St James parish until 1896). They were still at that address in 1875, but by about 1879 the family had moved to 2 Walton Villas, St John’s Road (now renamed St Bernard’s Road).

Gilbert’s father was still a tailor’s clerk in 1874, but soon afterwards became a partner at Hookham & Company, tailors & robemakers, at 3 Cornmarket near Carfax, which was renamed Hookham, Gadney & Embling Bros. By the time of the 1881 census Gilbert's parents were living over the Cornmarket shop with one servant, and his father was described as “Robemaker Resident Partner employing 40 to 50 Assistant Workmen”.

The family was still living over 3 Cornmarket at the time of the 1891 census, when Gilbert was four years old.

Gilbert attended Magdalen College School. In about 1900 the family moved to 163 Woodstock Road in St Margaret’s parish.

Both of Gilbert's surviving siblings were married in 1900:

  • On 19 April 1900 Gilbert's sister Ethel Mary Gadney (26) of 163 Woodstock Road married William Rollinson Deeping (27), a manufacturer's agent of 9 Harefield Road, Crouch End, London.
  • On 2 August 1900 at St John the Baptist Church, Fifield, Herbert George Gadney (25) married Beatrice Emma Theobald Adams (23).

At the time of the 1901 census Gilbert (14), who was still at school, was living at 163 Woodstock Road with his father Frank and his mother Elizabeth (both aged 52) and his brother Cyril (16). Also living with them was Gilbert's unmarried maternal uncle George Sims (49), who was an organist, and a general servant.

In 1905 Gilbert's brother Cyril Frank Gadney died at the age of 20.

In about 1908 Gilbert’s parents moved to 199 Woodstock Road to the north of St Margaret’s parish.

At the time of the 1911 census Gilbert (24) was an auctioneer’s clerk, living at “Northlands”, Sandpit Lane, St Albans with his sister Ethel and her husband William Deeping, who was a hosiery and clothing manufacturer, and their two children. Meanwhile his parents were at home at 199 Woodstock Road with their cook and housemaid, while his brother Herbert (36), who was a bookseller, was living at 22 Warnborough Road with his wife and two children and two servants.

Gilbert’s father, Frank John Gadney, died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 66 on 7 October 1914, and his funeral was held at All Saints' Church on 10 October. His effects came to £11,108 12s. 9d.

Gilbert's mother remained at 199 Woodstock Road on her own until about 1916.

Poppy In the First World War Gilbert Sims Gadney served as a Second Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was killed in action in France at the age of 30 on 3 July 1916, and has no known grave.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 5A and 5B), on the brass memorial plaque in Magdalen College School (shown below), and on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.

Gadney on Magdalen College School memorial

Administration was granted in London to his brother-in-law, William Rollinson [wrongly recorded as Rolandson] Deeping, on 20 April 1917. He left £197 10s. 9d, and is described in the register as “Gilbert Gadney otherwise Gilbert Sims”.


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Gilbert’s widowed mother
  • Mrs Elizabeth Ann Gadney lived with her daughter Mrs Ethel Deeping at “Northlands”, Sandpit Lane, St Albans after the war. She died at the age of 83 at 14 Upper Marlborough Road, St Albans on 4 October 1932 and her funeral was held at All Saints Church, Oxford on 8 October. Her effects came to £12,157 10s. 2d., and her accountant was her executor.
Gilbert's surviving siblings
  • Mrs Ethel Mary Deeping (born 1874) died in St Albans in 1960.
  • Herbert George Gadney (born 1874) died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 73 and his funeral was held at All Saints Church on 30 March 1946.
See also
  • CWGC: GADNEY, Gilbert Sims
  • Full biography of Gilbert Sims Gadney in David Bebbington, Mister Brownrigg's Boys: Magdalen College and the Great War (Pen & Sword Military, 2014), pp. 166–72
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 19 July 1916, “Heroes of the War”: photograph of G. S. Gadney, who had just died (shown at the top of this page)
  • Wikipedia: Gloucestershire Regiment

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