47 Men of North Oxford

This is not the story of the Great War.

Even those who lived through the years 1914 to 1918 would have found it difficult to grasp the whole narrative of those four extraordinary years in world history.

This book attempts something different: it tells the stories of forty-seven men whose names ended up on a parish war memorial in North Oxford, but whose bodies lie as far apart as Flanders and Iraq. Some of the men are local, born and bred in the Parish of St Margaret, others have a connection so tenuous that it is difficult to trace it a century on.

There is serendipity here too – why are some men remembered on this war memorial and others not? For instance, T.E.Lawrence, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, whose family lived at 2 Polstead Road, lost two brothers in the War. But, while Will and Frank Lawrence do not appear on the memorial, Charles Finch Noyes does, although his only connection with the area appears to have been through his maiden aunts, who lived in Bardwell Road but must have worshipped at St Margaret’s.

The Parish of St Margaret, which erected this memorial in 1920, is particularly interesting because of its social mix. Amongst the forty-seven men are porters, undergraduates, a college servant, a solicitor’s clerk, a tea planter and a curate.

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