James Thomas HONEY (1882–1918)


James Thomas Honey was born in Wootton, Berkshire in 1882, the son of James Honey (born in Sunningwell in 1848) and Mary Ann Cudd (born in Sunningwell in 1853). His parents were married at Sunningwell Church on 11 November 1872 and had the following children:

  • Edith Anne Honey (born at Wootton, Berkshire on 2 August 1873 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church, Sunningwell Church on 28 September 1873)
  • William Robert Honey (born at Lofthouse, Yorkshire in 1875, registered third quarter)
  • Sarah Ellen Honey (born at Wootton, Berkshire in 1877, baptised at St Peter’s Church, Wootton on 7 April 1878)
  • Jonathan Honey (born at Wootton, Berkshire on 22 October 1880, baptised at Sunningwell Church on 27 February 1881)
  • James Thomas Honey (born at Wootton, Berkshire in 1882 and baptised at St Peter’s Church, Wootton on 11 March 1883)
  • George Honey (born at Sunningwell in 1888 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church on 28 October)
  • Elsie Honey (born at Sunningwell in 1892/3 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church
  • Albert Honey (born at Sunningwell in 1895 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church on 30 June; died age 4, buried in the churchyard on 28 February 1900).

James’s father was a brickmaker, and their first child was born in Wootton in 1873. They evidently went up to Yorkshire before the birth of their second child in 1875, but were back in Wootton by 1878. The 1881 census shows them living in Wootton with their first four children at Old Pounds; but by the time of James’s baptism in 1883 they were living at White Cross.

By the end of 1888 they had moved from Wootton to Sunningwell, and by 1890 they had moved to Sunningwell and were sending their children to the school there. The 1891 census shows them living at 18 Sunningwell Road; James’s sister Sarah (12) had already left home and was a servant at the farm of Dennis Deane in Sunningwell Road.

When Elsie was baptised at Sunningwell Church in 1893, James’s father was described in the register as Deputy Parish Clerk. James himself became a bell-ringer at the church.

At the time of the 1901 census the family was still living at 18 Sunningwell Road, and James’s father was working as a roadman. James himself, now 18, was not at home, and shortly after the census, on 24 May 1901, he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery.

James seems to be missing from the 1911 census and was probably still in the army, but his future wife, Edith Bessie Harris (born in Summertown on 28 March 1885) was a cook at St Peter’s College, Radley. James and Bessie were married at Sunningwell Church on 6 January 1912 and had the following daughters, all of whom were baptised at St Leonard’s Church, Sunningwell:

  • Edith Mary Honey (born on 22 April 1912 and baptised on 26 May 1912)
  • Elsie May Honey (born on 6 June 1913 and baptised on 12 October 1913)
  • Constance Naomi Honey (born on 6 August 1916 and baptised on 8 October 1916).

James must have left the army for a period after his marriage, as he is described as a labourer at the baptism of his first two daughters; but he was back in the army by October 1916.

From 1916 James’s father is listed in Kelly’s Directory as Sunningwell’s deputy clerk and sexton.

Poppy In the First World War James Thomas Honey served as a Gunner in the 109th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery (Service No. 280698). He died of pneumonia in France at the age of 35 on 15 November 1918. He was buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery (Grave XI. A. 31), and his family paid for the inscription BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE to be added to his headstone.

He is remembered on the war memorial at St Leonard’s Church in Sunningwell.

G. Honey and J. Honey appear on the “Those who Served” list in Sunningwell village hall. These are probably James’s brothers George (born 1888) and Jonathan (born 1880).

Small memorial


James Thomas Honey’s parents
  • James Honey died in Sunningwell at the age of 63 and was buried at Sunningwell Church on 19 September 1912
  • Mary Ann Honey (Mrs James Honey) died at 20 Oxford Road, Abingdon at the age of 69 and was buried at Sunningwell Church on 29 August 1922.
His widow
  • Edith Bessie Honey (Mrs James Thomas Honey) (born 1885) was living at 50 Bayworth in Sunningwell after the war. She died in 1970 in the Abingdon registration district.
His daughters and grandchildren

Elsie May Honey (born 1913) married Frank Butler in 1935.

Constance Naomi Honey (b. 1916) did not marry. She died in 1992 at the age of 85 in the  Abingdon registration district.


See also

  • CWGC: Honey, James Thomas
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 11 December 1918, p. 6: Photograph of Gunner J. T. Honey, R.G.A. (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
  • Wikipedia: Royal Garrison Artillery