Poppy Arthur John WOOLDRIDGE (1894–1917) Poppy


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Oxfordshire County Council
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Arthur John Wooldridge was born at 35 Princes Street, Oxford on 4 November 1894, the son of William Wooldridge (born in Burford in 1867 and baptised there on 7 July) and Alice Painter (born in Witney in 1861, registered third quarter).

Both his parents were living at 12 Alma Place when they were married at St Clement’s Church, Oxford on 25 July 1891. They had four children:

  • Ernest William Wooldridge (born in Oxford in 1892, registered fourth quarter)
  • Arthur John Wooldridge (born at 39 Princes Street, Oxford on 4 November 1894 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 30 December)
  • Edward Charles Wooldridge (born at 76 Southmoor Road, Oxford on 29 March 1902 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 15 May)
  • Alice Dorothy May Wooldridge (born in Oxford on 20 April 1903 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 25 May).

In the mid-1890s the family were living at 35 Princes Street, St Clement’s, but by 1899 they had moved to 14 Hertford Street in SS Mary & John parish. The 1901 census shows the family living there: Arthur’s father was a carpenter, and Arthur himself was aged six.

By 1902 the family had moved to 76 Southmoor Road, and then from 1903 to 1908 Arthur’s father ran a lodging house at 22 Southmoor Road. By July 1903 Arthur was attending SS Philip & James School. He was highly commended for the Diocesan Prize on that date, and went on to win a Diocesan Certificate in 1904, a prize for Divinity in 1905, and the classwork prize for Standard 7 in 1906. At Tumbling Bay on 27 July 1905 he came second in a race at the school swimming sports.

In January 1906, when he was aged 11, he moved on to the City of Oxford High School for Boys in George Street, where he was a chorister.

By 1909 Arthur’s family had moved across the road to an eight-roomed house at 37 Southmoor Road in St Margaret’s parish. They were there at the time of the 1911 census, when young Arthur (16) was still attending school. His father was now described as a builder’s general labourer.

Wooldridge left school in July 1913 when he was 18 and in October that year was matriculated at the University of Oxford as a non-collegiate student from St Catherine’s Society. He read Modern History and was awarded a Shute Exhibition in 1915. He did not complete his degree.

Poppy In the First World War, Arthur John Wooldridge joined the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 6030) in 1916, and was made a Lance-Corporal in just three weeks. In the spring of 1917 he was transferred as a Sapper to the 1st Field Survey Company (Forest Group) of the Royal Engineers (Service No. 246813). He was killed in action in France at the age of 22 on 21 August 1917 and is buried in the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery extension (II.F.7). His parents paid for the inscription GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS to be added to his headstone.

The following notice appeared in The Non-Collegiate Students' Magazine after his death:

Killed in action on Tuesday, August 21st, ARTHUR JOHN WOOLDRIDGE, Sapper Forest Group, Royal Engineers. Non-Collegiate Student 1913–1917. Shute Exhibitioner 1915. Aged 22.
A. J. Wooldridge was a student of much promise. He had so many remarkable qualities that one would have ventured to prophesy for him a very successful future. Gifted with no small abilities and physical charm, he was singularly humble and free from conceit, with a courtesy of manner that made him most attractive. He came from the Oxford High School and the School has every reason to be proud of him. Giving up his Modern History work he joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in 1916, and within three weeks was made Lance-Corporal. He surrendered his stripe on being transferred to the Royal Engineers some five months ago. While at his work as a sapper he was killed instantly by a shell from a long-range gun, and the light of a very beautiful life was suddenly quenched.

School memorial to Wooldridge

 

As well as on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church, Wooldridge is remembered on a plaque in the Old Boys’ High School, George Street (left)

St Catz: Wooldridge

 

Wooldridge was also listed on the St Catherine’s Society War Memorial, which was lost, but replaced in St Cross Church when St Catherine’s College was built (right).


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Arthur’s parents
  • William Wooldridge died in the Oxford registration district (probably in hospital) at the age of 66 in the first quarter of 1934.
  • Mrs Alice Wooldridge is shown in Kelly’s Directory as still living at 37 Southmoor Road in 1936. She may be the Alice Wooldridge of the right age (74) who died in the Reading registration district in the first quarter of 1937.
Arthur’s siblings
  • Ernest William Wooldridge (born 1892) married Angela M. Dagley in the fourth quarter of 1918 (in the Headington registration district, but not at at St Margaret’s Church)
  • Edward Charles Wooldridge (born 1902) died at the age of 16 in the fourth quarter of 1918.
  • Alice Dorothy May Wooldridge (born 1903) married Thomas R. Williams in the fourth quarter of 1931 (in the Headington registration district, but not at at St Margaret’s Church). They had two children: Myra H. Williams (born 1932, registered third quarter) and Melvyn J. S. Williams (born in 1936, registered third quarter), probably at Rose Hill).

The firm Messrs Wooldridge & Simpson who built the top of Bainton Road in 1923 are likely to be connected to Arthur’s family.

See also


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