Poppy Gilbert Sims GADNEY (1886–1916) Poppy


© Images & Voices,
Oxfordshire County Council

Gilbert Sims Gadney was born in Oxford in 1886, 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 Alfred Street, St Giles, Oxford, registered in first quarter of 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; dead by 1911)
  • 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, and they can be seen there in the 1901 census, when Gilbert (14) was still at school.

In about 1908 Gilbert’s parents moved to 199 Woodstock Road to the north of St Margaret’s parish, where they are shown in the 1911 census (looked after by a cook and housemaid), with none of their three surviving children at home. Gilbert (24) was now 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.

Gilbert’s father, Frank John Gadney, died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 66 on 7 October 1914. 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 in the fourth quarter of 1932 in the St Albans registration district.
Gilbert’s siblings
  • Ethel Mary Gadney married William Rollinson Deeping at St Margaret’s Church on 19 April 1900.
  • Herbert George Gadney (25) married Beatrice Emma Theobald Adams (23) at St John the Baptist Church, Fifield on 2 August 1900.

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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