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Walton Street Methodist Chapel: Sidney James GRIFFIN (1895–1918)

This is the only S. Griffin listed on the City of Oxford Honour Roll and he lived in Jericho, so it has been assumed that he and his family attended Walton Street Methodist Chapel after 1910. Others on the war memorial who definitely had connections with the chapel none the less had their children baptised at St Barnabas' Church, and were also listed on the memorial without their middle initial

Sidney James Griffin (whose name is sometimes spelt Sydney) was born at 32 Juxon Street, Jericho, Oxford on 12 August 1895. His father Michael John Griffin (born in Blackthorn, Oxfordshire in 1864) had moved with his widowed mother from Blackthorn to 15 Cranham Street, Oxford by 1871 and at the age of 17 was printer, doubtless at Oxford University Press. His mother was Kate Hannah Goldsmith (born in Tonbridge, Kent in 1889).

Sidney's parents were married at St Paul's Church, Oxford on 5 August 1889 and had eight children:

  • Herbert John Gordon Griffin (born at 32 Juxon Street on 25 December 1889 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 26 January 1890)
  • Martha Frances Griffin (born at 32 Juxon Street on 11 January 1892 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 25 February); died aged two in 1894, death registered and recorded in St Paul's parish register as Frances Martha Griffin: probably buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery
  • Leonard Richard Griffin (born at 32 Juxon Street, Oxford on 10 April 1894 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 14 June)
  • Sidney James Griffin (born at 32 Juxon Street, Jericho, Oxford on 12 August 1895 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 26 September)
  • Isabel Kate Griffin (born at 31 [?32] Juxon Street on 19 May 1898 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 17 July)
  • Arthur David Griffin (born at 31 [?32] Juxon Street on 11 January 1901 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 21 April)
  • Robert Gordon Griffin (born in Oxford on 18 January 1905)
  • Susan Margaret Minta Griffin (born at 32 Juxon Street on 17 July 1910 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 15 September

His parents settled at 32 Juxon Street in Jericho, where they were to live until at least the First World War. In the 1901 census Sidney (5) can be found there with his father Michael (37), described as a stereo & electrotype finisher, his mother Kate (31), and his siblings Herbert (11), Leonard (6), Isabel (2), and Arthur (two months).

Sidney attended the Central Boys' School in Gloucester Green, which was an elementary school, and he probably left at the end of the summer term of 1908. In September 1908 when he was 13 years old he entered the Oxford Boys' High School in George Street (which his older brother Herbert had also attended before transferring to Lancing College in 1904).

At the time of the 1911 census Sidney (15) was a schoolboy, living at 32 Juxon Street with his father Michael (47), his mother Kate (41), and his siblings Leonard (16), who was now a compositor's apprentice, and Isabel (12), Arthur (10), Robert (6), and Susan (eight months).

Sidney became a pupil teacher at the Oxford Boys' High School, which he left in July 1914, just before his nineteenth birthday. He was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Jesus College in October that year, but left after one term and on 23 April 1915 volunteered to fight in the war.

Poppy In the First World War, Sidney James Griffin enlisted on 23 April 1915 and served as a Second Lieutenant and then a Captain in the 3rd Battalion (attached 1st Battalion) of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Photograph of Griffin in army uniform

He died on 26 March 1918 at the age of 22 of wounds received in action at Khan Baghdadi in Mesopotamia (Iraq). He was buried in Iraq at the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery (ref. XVIII E.5),

As well as being remembered here on the Walton Street Methodist Chapel war memorial, he appears on four other memorials in Oxford:

His address at probate was still given as 32 Juxon Street: his effects came to £175 4s. 9d., and his father was his executor.

After the war

Sidney's parents Michael & Kate Griffin were still living at 32 Juxon Street in 1916.

On 19 August 1920 Sidney's two youngest brothers Arthur (19) and Robert (15) emigrated to Australia. His parents Michael (57) and Kate (50) Griffin followed them on 21 October 1920 with their younger daughter Susan (9); and their elder daughter Isabel and her husband Frank Quirk also moved there.

Sidney's brother Herbert John Gordon Griffin was Chairman for the Preservation of Rural England and was knighted in 1957 (see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

Sidney's parents died in Darraweith Guim, Victoria, Australia: his mother Kate Hannah Griffin on 7 September 1951 and his father Michael John Griffin on 7 September 1951.

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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