Frederick Joseph CHAMP (1881–1916)
Frederick Joseph Champ was born in Sunningwell in 1881, the son of Job Champ (born in Sunningwell in 1860/1) and Elizabeth Ann “Leach or Townsend” (born in Radley in 1860/1), who was known as Annie.
Annie’s first child was born when she was 18 and working as a domestic servant, two years before her marriage:
- Ernest William Leach, later Champ (born on 27 January 1879, registered with the surname spelt Leech, and baptised at Sunningwell on 13 April 1879).
(Although Ernest was brought up by Job Champ and took his surname of Champ, it seems unlikely that Job was the father, especially as Job named his own youngest son Ernest.)
Job Champ and Annie were married at Sunningwell Church on 27 February 1881 when Annie was expecting her next child, Frederick: Job was a labourer, and Annie was illiterate, signing her name with a cross. They had nine more children:
- Frederick Joseph Champ (born on 1 September 1881 and baptised at Sunningwell on 2 October 1881)
- James Champ (born on 7 April 1883 and baptised at Sunningwell on 16 April 1883)
- Sarah Champ (born on 13 September 1884 and baptised at Sunningwell on 30 November 1884)
- George Champ (born February 1886, baptised at Sunningwell on 25 April 1886)
- Mary Anne Champ (born on 22 September 1889 and baptised at Sunningwell on 27 October 1889)
- Albert Champ (twin: baptised at Sunningwell on 11 December 1893; died aged two months and buried in the churchyard)
- Caroline Champ (twin: baptised at Sunningwell on 11 December 1893; died aged 11 months and buried in the churchyard)
- Albert Edwin Champ (baptised at Sunningwell on 28 July 1895)
- Ernest Clifford Champ (baptised at Sunningwell on 20 May 1900)
At the time of the 1881 census Frederick’s parents Job (20) and Annie (19) were newly married and living with Annie’s son, Ernest William Leach (now 2½) as lodgers in the home of a Sunningwell agricultural labourer who had a wife and six children of his own.
Frederick attended Sunningwell School, entering Standard 1 in 1888 (the year that all the Champ children missed weeks of school as they had scarlet fever). The next year, when he was in Standard 2, Frederick won the Diocesan Prize.
By 1891 Frederick’s parents had six children (including Ernest Leach/Champ, who was already working as a labourer at the age of 12) and were living in a home of their own in Bayworth at 16 Sunningwell Road. Annie (30) was now working as a laundress, and Frederick (9) was still at school.
In the 1901 census Frederick’s parents’ address was more specifically recorded as 16 Long Furlong, Sunningwell. Job was now described as a shepherd, and Frederick (19) was working as a groom. He was also a bell-ringer at Sunningwell Church.
On 13 August 1910 Frederick Joseph Champ married Florence Ivings at St Clement’s Church, Oxford: both were 29 years old, and Florence, born in St Clement’s, was living at 3 James Street. At the time of the 1911 census they were living at Long Furlong, Sunningwell, and Frederick was working as a groom/gardener. His parents were also still living at their own house in Sunningwell with three of their children.
Frederick’s father Job Champ died on 29 June 1915 at the age of 54 and was buried in Sunningwell churchyard.
Mazingarbe British Cemetery
In the First World War Frederick Joseph Champ served as a Private in “B” Company, 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Service No. 19011). He was killed in action in France at the age of 34 on 26 May 1916, and was buried at the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe (Grave I. F. 36).
He is remembered on the war memorial in St Leonard’s Church at Sunningwell and also on his parents’ gravestone.
The list in Sunningwell village hall of those who served and survived includes A. Champ and G. Champ. These are Frederick’s brothers Albert (born 1895) and George (born 1886).
Right: Photograph of Frederick Joseph Champ’s grave in France. The text reads:
[Emblem of the
Royal Berkshire Regiment]
F. J. CHAMP
ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT
26TH MAY 1916 AGE 34
A LOVED ONE SLEEPING
This is one of the 40% of war graves that bears a personal message at the end (for which the family had to pay 3½d per letter).
The photograph of the Mazingarbe British Cemetery (above) and of Champ’s grave were kindly supplied by British War Graves
Frederick Joseph Champ’s widow
- Florence Champ (Mrs Frederick Joseph Champ) was still living at 16 Sunningwell when she died at the age of 72 on 25 May 1953. She was buried in Sunningwell churchyard.
- Elizabeth Ann Champ (Mrs Job Champ) died in Sunningwell at the age of 78 on 27 May 1939 and is buried in Sunningwell churchyard with her husband.
- James Champ married Alice Elizabeth Winterbourne of Wootten in the Abingdon registration district in the first quarter of 1910 and their daughter Annie Louise was born in Wootton in about May 1910. Alice also lost a brother in the First World War.
- Sarah Champ married Jonathan Honey (also of Sunningwell, and who himself was to lose a brother in the war) on 6 January 1907, and they had four children baptised at the church: Francis Jonathan Honey (born 17 February 1907), Millicent Elena Mary Honey (born 6 July 1908), Mary Honey (born 1 January 1913), and Betty Honey (baptised 31 May 1914). Mrs Sarah Honey was churchwarden at St Leonard’s for many years, and there is a chest in the lady chapel dedicated to her.
- Mary Anne Champ gave birth to a daughter, Barbara May Champ, at Sunningwell on 19 December 1913 when she was a single woman. She married a widower, the blacksmith John Clarke, at Sunningwell Church on 12 April 1924
- Ernest Clifford Champ (born 1900) died on 20 December 1976 at the age of 76 and is buried at Sunningwell churchyard.
- Ernest William Leach, later Champ (Frederick’s half-brother born in 1879) married Ethel May Green at Sunningwell Church on 17 May 1900. They had three children: Ada (born 1901), Alexander (born 1910) and Patience (born 1912). He died at the age of 87 on 11 November 1966.