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Brothers in Arms

Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:20 am

Here is a photograph of my great grandfather and his brother when they were young men. They were born in the 1890’s in English’s Row, Oxford where a court now stands. The elder of the two is my great grandfather who fought in World War One, and was discharged after a shrapnel wound. He married just after the war on Christmas Day 1918 in Cumnor. I was wondering if anybody could say when this photograph was taken, I would imagine sometime just before he got married, but I would be interested to see if anybody else thinks differently?

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Re: Brothers in Arms

Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:00 am

This may be stating what you already know, but it is post-WW1. Both chaps are wearing their Army cap badge in their lapel. The chap standing (with the walking cane) wears a Light Infantry type badge of a curved horn suspended from ribbons. The seated chap wears a star-burst over a scroll badge.

Both types of badge were used by a number of regiments with very subtle differences. Based on what you say, the Light Infantry type badge is almost certainly the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment because that has a very simple version - the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, to take another LI regiment, has its initials between ribbons and horn.

The star is more difficult - it might be East Yorkshire Regiment, Cheshire Regiment(though I don't think so), or Worcestershire Regiment. The differences between those are subtle, relating to the centre of the badge. The other star-burst badges appear to have crowns on top or other "twiddly bits".

You may, of course, already know the details of the regiments that these 2 chaps served in!

Re: Brothers in Arms

Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:39 pm

I think you'll find it's FISHER'S Row, not English Row.

I've known Oxford all my life and I've never heard of an 'English Row'.

What used to be the Crown Court, which subsequently became the County Court is situated by the old prison almost at the end of the Fisher Row. What is now the Crown Court, by the Magistrates Courts is opposite the police station (famous for Morse) and is at the bottom of St Aldates on the corner of Speedwell Street.

What were the names of your relatives and I'll have a look at the census entry?

Of course I'm more than happy to stand corrected if you have evidence of English Row but it's certainly a new one to me.

Re: Brothers in Arms

Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:49 pm

English’s Row used to be called English’s Yard and the family or families in question are Mundy and Gibbs. If you look up a Thomas Mundy born in 1823 from Elsfield, Oxfordshire he won’t appear in 1851 or 61 as he was in the army, he married my x2 great grandmother rather late in life a 36 year age gap! But if you also look up Thomas Gibbs born 1813 in Highworth, Wilts and Sarah born 1818 in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, you’ll find them in 11 English’s Row, St. Aldates. Thomas and Sarah’s daughter Jane or Mary Jane as she was christened didn’t have far to go to meet her husband who lived at 6 English’s Row!

I hope this clears things up

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Re: Brothers in Arms

Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:20 am

Will - I stand corrected! I've even managed to find it on the 1878 OS survey map.

A lesson there - just because you think something it doesn't mean it's correct unless you check it!

But did you know that before it was the Crown Court the building it now occupies was Morris Garages? And I do know that's correct because I remember it and remember the courts moving there. The Crown Court used to be by the prison and there was a tunnel from the prison into the dock in the court so there was a secure route to transfer prisoners thus avoiding the risk of them escaping.

My great great grandfther was the prison governor.

Re: Brothers in Arms

Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:04 pm

Will - any comments on my post above about the Army badges? I'd be intrigued to know if I was right with their regiments...

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Re: Brothers in Arms

Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:27 pm

Interesting, I did know it used to be Morris Garages as my Dad remembers going there when he was young. There are photographs of some of the side streets off St. Aldates just before they were demolished, they were mostly considered slum areas and only fit for demolition - a sign of the times! As far as I know there are no photographs of English’s Row despite attempts to locate one, it would be brilliant if there was one.

I didn’t know about a tunnel leading to the dock, though did know that there is a lot of ‘hidden’ Oxford underground, so we both learnt something new!

My great grandfather was in the 5th Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry A Coy is written in a prayer book he had - I’m not sure what the A Coy bit refers to. He was discharged in October 1915 after he was shot and suffered a seat to his leg, this in turn saved his life most probably as His regiment would be involved with some of the bloodiest battles in WW1. A result of his injuries led him to meet my great grandmother who was a war nurse and married on Christmas Day 1918. He later became head gardener of St. John’s College in Oxford so did well in the end. His brother, Alfred on the other hand is a bit of a mystery as he was said to have been a contentious objector in WW1, but there are photographs showing him in a military uniform such as this one.

I hope this information helps

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Re: Brothers in Arms

Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:17 pm

A Coy refers to A Company of (in this case) the 5th Battalion of the OBLI. A battalion of the British Army in WW1 was split into 4 companies and a company into 4 platoons. 1000 men in a battalion, roughly, at full strength. More like 220 in a company because the battalion had "HQ" staff outside the companies. All numbers pretty nominal, of course.

Interesting about the brother - he's unlikely to be wearing an army badge if he was a complete objector. However, I think that some who were initially objectors consented to become stretcher bearers in infantry regiments. I think - never studied it in detail.

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