History of the Memorial
The war memorial in the form of a fountain and water supply was presented to the village and unveiled by Earl Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.
The memorial was set up in late 1917 or early 1918, initially as a private memorial to Mabel Dearmer and her son, Christopher, both casualties of the First World War. Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915), born Jessie Mabel Pritchard, was a playwright, novelist and illustrator. During the War, Mabel, whose husband was then the chaplain to the British Red Cross Ambulance unit in Serbia, volunteered for the Serbian Relief Fund as a nursing orderly. She contracted enteric fever, and died at Kragujevatz on 11 July 1915. Christopher, their son, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves. Educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford, Christopher was a linguist who had travelled in Germany, Russia and France, to study their languages.
At the outbreak of war, Christopher returned home from France to enlist. His valuable language skills lead to his quick promotion, and he could have spent the war in a staff job, away from the front lines; instead, he chose to join troops ashore at Sulva Bay, in Gallipoli, where a stray shell landed in his tent ten days into his campaign. He was taken aboard the hospital ship HMS Gloucester, but died of his wounds on 6 October 1915.
The structure was erected by Mabel’s husband and Christopher’s father, Rev Dr Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), priest, liturgist and historian of Christian worship, who is best known for his work The Parson’s Handbook (1899, editions to 1931), which advocated a return to the native English tradition in liturgy and ceremonial. Dearmer was also largely responsible for editing the English Hymnal in 1906, on which he worked with composers such as Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and which resulted in a revolution in congregational singing. Percy and Mabel’s elder son, Geoffrey (1893-1996) was a celebrated poet, and was one of the last of the First World War poets to survive.
The memorial was commissioned by Dearmer from another Oakridge resident, Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960), architect, designer and painter of pottery, who was a significant figure in the Cotswolds Arts and Crafts movement. In an act which combined commemoration and philanthropy, Dearmer endowed the memorial, which incorporated a drinking fountain to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water for the village; it was pumped, at his expense, to the top of the settlement from the valley below, and fed by gravity into the fountain and troughs of the memorial. The work was carried out by men of the village, using locally-quarried stone.
The site chosen was on a green at the village centre, just opposite the house in which the Dearmers lived; they had taken it over from Powell, who had previously restored it. The memorial was dedicated in late 1917, some months before the end of the First World War, and was formally opened by Lord Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and college friend of Mabel and Percy Dearmer. At the ceremony of dedication, the roll of honour of all the Fallen from the war was passed around; it was resolved to include them on the memorial, and so, after the end of the conflict, a plaque was added to commemorate all the men of the village who had lost their lives. After 1945, another plaque was added in remembrance of the Fallen of the Second World War.
Alec Andrews was born in 1894 in Eastcombe and baptised on 10 March 1895 in Eastcombe Chapel. He was the son of Walter Edward Andrews and Eleanor May Curtis. Walter Andrews, who was born in Watford, was a gamekeeper on the Lypiatt Park estate and lived in Bismore, later living in Bournes Green. Alec attended Eastcombe school and enjoyed playing football and cricket, as well as singing in the choir of St Augustine's, later working for Mr Savagar, the head gardener for the Doringtons of Lypiatt.
He enlisted in Stroud in the 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and on 25 October 1916 a shell landed in a trench occupied by the 8th Glosters fatally wounding Alec Andrews, he died in an ambulance whilst being transported to a field hospital aged 21.
He is buried in the Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery Extension and is remembered on the Eastcombe war memorial.
Ernest Blackwell was born in 1878 in Stathe, Somerset. He was the eldest son of James Blackwell and Amelia Gourd. James Blackwell was a stone mason and the family lived at Spring Cottage, Far Oakridge. Ernest enrolled in Oakridge School on 9 March 1881. In 1896 he married Georgina Fletcher in Cirencester and by 1901 was living in 7 School Lane, Watermoor, Cirencester where he was working as a stone mason. He was goalkeeper for Cirencester Town. Ernest and Georgina had 8 children.
Ernest enlisted in the 13th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, served as a sergeant and was killed in action on 31 July 1917 aged 39 and was buried at Duhallow A.D.S. (Advanced Dressing Station) Cemetery, 1.6 kilometres north of Ypres leaving behind a wife and 7 children.
His eldest son Reggie died on active service 4 months before his father.
Martin Blackwell was born on 2 November 1879 in Far Oakridge and baptised on 14 December 1879 in Oakridge Church. He was the second son of James Blackwell and Amelia Gourd. James Blackwell was a stone mason and the family lived at Spring Cottage, Far Oakridge. Martin entered Oakridge School on 16 April 1883 and left on 29 August 1892. In 1899 he married Agnes Maria Taylor in Cirencester and by 1901 was living in 9 Queens Street, Cirencester where he was working as a stone mason. Martin and Agnes had 8 children.
Martin enlisted in the 7th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment in Bristol, served as a private and was killed in active service in Kut, Mesopotamia on 25 February 1917 aged 37 leaving behind a wife and 8 children.
Martin is remembered with honour at the Basra Memorial.
Albert Curtis was born on 3 June 1886 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge Church on 10 October 1886. He was the son of Edward Curtis and Elizabeth Grubb. Edward Curtis was a wood cutter and lived at Trillis. Albert enrolled in Oakridge School on 26 May 1893 and left on 26 September 1899. He continued to live with his father Edward and younger sister, Gwendoline at Trillis working as a wood cutter, his mother Elizabeth having died in 1903.
Albert enlisted in the 192nd Heavy Battalion Royal Garrison Artillery, served as a gunner and died of pneumonia on 14 October 1918 in Greece aged 31. His grave is at the Doiran Military Cemetery in northern Greece.
Albert is sitting on the left in the wedding photograph. His sister Gwendoline is on the right and his father Edward is the gentleman with the beard.
William Curtis was born in 1897 in Sapperton, one of nine children. He was the son of Mark Curtis and Ellen Smith. Mark Curtis was a carter at King's Farm, Tunley in 1901 and in 1911 lived at Henwood Mill in the parish of Sapperton. William followed his father as a farm worker.
He enlisted in Bristol in the 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and died on 14 January 1918 in Mesopotamia aged 22.
He is buried in Belgaum Government Cemetery and is remembered on the Kirkee Memorial in India.
Christopher was born in London, the second son of the Revd Dr Percy Dearmer and his wife Jessie Mabel Pritchard, nee White. He was baptised by his father at St Anne’s Church, South Lambeth on 23 April 1894.
He was educated at Temple Grove and then at Charterhouse in Girdlestoneites House from Oration Quarter (autumn term) 1908 to Long Quarter (spring) 1910.
He was at Christ Church 1913-1914, went to Hanover to study German, Moscow and the Crimea to study Russian, and was in Tours learning French when the War broke out. He wrote to his mother, “I am coming home to enlist. Your loving son Christopher”.
He returned to England, enlisting in the Public Schools Corps in August, and being commissioned Lieutenant in the Armoured Car Section of the RNVR and RNAS in October 1914.
“Because of his proficiency in languages Christopher had been quickly promoted and could have remained in a staff job far from enemy action, but that was not his wish. At last he was given 3 choices, all honourable, but one led to the deadly shores of Sulva Bay. It is said that ‘the powers that be’ came aboard the ship moored in Sulva Bay to try and persuade him not to join the troops ashore, but he was bored and anxious for action, so reluctantly he was told “you can go if you must”.
“For 10 days he tasted battle then on 6 October a stray shell hit his tent, falling almost into his lap. He was taken aboard HM Hospital Ship Gloucester. A letter to his father said “he had no pain and was rather inclined to sleep, and that evening at seven he died, and they buried him at sea before bed-time.”
Frank Fern was born on 10 May 1894 in Waterlane. He enrolled in Oakridge School on 16 March 1898 and left on 5 May 1908. He was the son of Frederick Fern and Sarah Ann Barnfield. Frederick Fern was a plasterer and lived in Waterlane in what is now Granville Cottage. Frank Fern worked as a farm labourer living with his parents. His elder brother Walter was killed in action in Belgium in 1916.
Frank enlisted in Bristol in the 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and lost his life in action in Mesopotamia on 29 March 1917 aged 23.
He is remembered on the Basra Memorial in what is now Iraq.
Walter Fern was born on 26 April 1884 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge Church on 1 June 1884. He was the son of Frederick Fern and Sarah Ann Barnfield. Frederick Fern was a plasterer and lived at Waterlane. Walter enrolled in Oakridge School on 15 April 1889 and left on 28 April 1893 to go to the Blue Coat School in Bisley. He continued to live with his father Frederick and 6 other siblings until he married Frances Davis in Bisley in 1905, By 1911 he was living in Waterlane with his wife, Frances and their 3 children working as a general labourer.
Walter enlisted in the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment in 1914, served as a private and was killed in action on 20 February 1916 in Belgium aged 31 leaving a widow and 3 children.
His body was never found but he is remembered on the Arras Memorial.
Fred Gardiner was born on 5 March 1891 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge Church. He was the son of Eli Gardiner and Charlotte Gardiner. Eli Gardiner was a hedger and thatcher and lived at Woodside, Oakridge Lynch. Fred was the youngest of 7 children. He continued to live with his parents working as a mill hand in 1911. Fred was engaged to Mildred Young of Chalford when he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards and served as a private. Mildred later lived at Saratoga, High Street, Chalford and never married.
Fred was captured near Merville on 13 April 1918 during the battle of Nieppe Wood whilst serving with the 4th Battalion and was sent to Gardelegen Prisoner of War camp.
We do not know when he was repatriated and when he died although his name appears on the POW list of 11 September 1918 and on the memorial in Oakridge Church.
Percy Gardiner was born on 30 January 1893 in Chalford. He was the son of John Gardiner and Mary Wright. John Gardiner was a boatman in the canal and lived in the High Street, Chalford. His mother Mary worked as a stick polisher in Chalford. Percy Gardiner also worked I the umbrella stock factory with his sister and brother living with his parents in 1911. In 1913 Percy married Agnes Smart of Oakridge, they had 2 children Ivy Lavina, born in 1914 and Thomas Theodore, born 1915.
He enlisted in Bristol in the 3rd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, later transferring to the 7th Battalion. He served as a private and lost his life in Mesopotamia on 16 December 1916 aged 23 leaving a widow and 2 children.
He is buried in the Amara War Cemetery in what is now Iraq.
Rupert Gardiner was born on 19 March 1891 in Oakridge and baptised on 12 July 1891 in Oakridge Church. He was the son of Joseph Gardiner and Edith Louisa Sadler. Joseph Gardiner was a labourer and lived at the Taut in Far Oakridge. Joseph died in 1897 when Rupert was only 8 and he was brought up by his mother and 3 other siblings. He went to work as a general labourer.
He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Bristol in May 1915 and served as an able seaman in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He proceeded to France in May 1916 and was transferred to the Royal Marine Light Infantry in February 1918, with whom he
was serving where he fell in action on 5 April 1918, aged 26.
He is buried at the Englebelmer Communal Cemetery, in the Somme region
Sam Gardiner was born in 1884 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge Church on 7 December 1884. He was the son of Caleb Gardiner and Ellen Lewis. Caleb Gardiner was a stone mason and lived at Yew Tree Cottage in Oakridge Lynch. His mother Ellen died in 1897 when Sam was 13 years old. Sam Gardiner first worked as a cattle man then as a builders labourer.
He enlisted in Stroud in the 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and was killed in action in Mesopotamia on 8 August 1915 aged 31.
He is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey.
Percy Hill was born on 28 April 1888 in Far Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge Church on 14 April 1889. He was the son of Charles Hill and Emma Gardiner. Charles Hill was an agricultural labourer and wood dealer and lived in Far Oakridge. Percy enrolled in Oakridge School on 2 April 1894 and left on 16 November 1900. His father Charles died in 1905 at the age of 49 and Percy continued to live with his mother Emma who in 1911 was innkeeper at the Plough Inn, Sheepscombe.
Percy was listed as a general dealer and his line of work took him to London where he enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment and subsequently transferring to the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He served as a private and was wounded in fighting and died on 16 June 1917 in Belgium aged 29.
He is buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery 8 kilometres west of Ypres.
Walter Hunt was born on 16 September 1896 in Oakridge. He was the son of William Hunt and Elizabeth Stephens. William Hunt was a railway labourer for the GWR and lived in Fairview Cottage, Oakridge Lynch. Walter enrolled in Oakridge School on 1 March 1901 and left on 23 September 1909. He went to work for his grandfather Richard Stephens at Tunley Farm but later moved to Swindon where he worked as a porter for the GWR and where he enlisted in 1915 in the Royal Marine Light Infantry.
He served as a private and was injured at the end of July 1917 with a gunshot wound in his face. In February 1918 he joined the 2nd battalion RMLI and was killed in action on 27 March 1918 in Belgium aged 21.
He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
William Hunt was born on 17 June 1890 in Oakridge and baptised on 10 August 1890 in Oakridge Church. He was the son of Thomas Henry Hunt and Emma Maria Clift. Thomas Hunt was a railway labourer and lived in Oakridge Lynch at what was Hillbrae and now Cuckoo Cottage. William enrolled in Oakridge School on 16 September 1893 and left on 26 November 1903. He went to work as a cabinet maker and married Grace Mildred Killick in Steep, Hampshire in 1915.
He enlisted in Stroud on 7 December 1915, serving first with the Lincolns before switching to the 7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment on 12 August 1918. He served as a private and was killed during fighting on 27 August 1918 in France during the Advance to Victory aged 28, leaving a widow and 3 children living in Hampshire.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial.
Albert Robbins was born in 1877 in Chedworth. He was the son of William Robbins and Margaret Fry. In 1881 he was living with his uncle and aunt in Chedworth and by 1891 was a farm labourer at Smart's Farm, Bournes Green. He married Alice Lewis in 1896 at Bisley Church and in 1901 they were living at Slimbridge where he was an assistant locomotive engine driver. In 1911 Albert and Alice were living in Bournes Green with their two daughters Hilda and Ivy and two sons Albert and Percy. He is described as a quarryman.
Albert joined the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment in Stroud. He was killed in action during the taking of Catillon prior to crossing the Sambre Canal on 4 November 1918.
His body is buried in Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-Au-Bois.
Marshall Rowles was born on 19 July 1895 in Oakridge. He was the son of Oliver Rowles and Elizabeth Pincott. Oliver Rowles was a farmer and lived at Iles Farm, Far Oakridge and then at Avenis Farm in Bournes Green. William enrolled in Oakridge School on 11 June 1900 and left on 16 July 1908. He went to work on his father's farm.
He enlisted in Stroud in 2/6th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and was killed during fighting on 25 August 1917 in Belgium, aged 22.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, 9 kilometres north-east of Ypres.
Archie Smith was born on 25 June 1891 in Oakridge. He was the son of George Smith and Sarah Gardiner. George Smith was a general labourer and lived at Lillyhorn Cottage, Bournes Green. Archie enrolled in Oakridge School on 8 August 1898 and left on 3 March 1905. He worked as a weaver of carpets and in 1909 married Florence Wear in Stroud Registry Office in 1909. In 1911 he was living with his father-in-law, William Wear, a chimney sweep in France Lynch with his wife Florence and child Eva.
He enlisted in Stroud in 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a Lance Corporal and died from wounds on 17 April 1918 in France, aged 27 leaving a widow and 2 children, Eva and Sidney.
He is remembered in the Wimereux Communal Cemetery near Boulogne.
Arthur Young was born on 27 April 1883 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge church on 5 August 1883. He was the son of John Young and Eliza. John Young was a railway labourer working for the GWR and lived in Oakridge Lynch. Arthur enrolled in Oakridge School on 1 June 1891 and left on 5 June 1896. He went to work as a general labourer. He never married and in 1911 he was living with his parents in Oakridge Lynch and his brothers and sisters. younger brother Ernest was to lose his life in September 1915 whilst servinenlisted in Stroud in the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and died on 23 December 1914 in France g with the 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Arthur Young enlisted in Stroud in the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and died on 23 December 1914 in France aged 31.
He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial
Ernest Young was born on 15 December 1884 in Oakridge and baptised in Oakridge church on 14 June 1885. He was the son of John Young and Eliza. John Young was a railway labourer working for the GWR and lived in Oakridge Lynch. Ernest enrolled in Oakridge School on 31 August 1891 and left on 3 March 1898. He went to work as a general labourer. He never married as in 1911 he was living with his parents in Oakridge Lynch and his brothers and sisters. His older brother Arthur was to lose his life in December 1914 whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Ernest Young enlisted in Stroud in the 10th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. He served as a private and died on 25 September 1915 in Belgium aged 31.
He is remembered at the Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
Francis Young was born on 1885 at Burcombe Cottages in Chalford. He was the son of John Frederick Young and Jane Alley. John Young was a wood turner and by 1911 was living in France Lynch. Frank went to work at the stick factory in Chalford as a sawyer and 10 years later as a trug finisher. In 1915 he married Margaret Hunt in Oakridge Church.
Francis Young enlisted in Stroud in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He served as a private and died on 13 September 1917 in Yorkshire, having previously served oversees, aged 31, leaving behind a widow Margaret who was then living on Bisley Road in Oakridge Lynch.
He is buried at France Lynch Churchyard.
Ernest Wear was born on 27 January 1882 in Oakridge and baptised on 9 April 1882 in Oakridge Methodist Church. He was the son of Jesse Wear and Elizabeth Jane Gardiner. Jesse Wear was a plasterer and lived at Stokyes Close in Oakridge Lynch. Ernest enrolled in Oakridge School on 24 October 1887 and left on 17 November 1893. He went to work as a house decorator and married Annie Duffont in 1905 in Slad and by 1911 was living in Bospin Lane, Woodchester with his wife and son Ernest Jack.
He enlisted in Stroud, serving first with the Glosters before switching to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. He served as a private and was killed in action on 1 August 1917 in Belgium aged 28, leaving a widow and 1 children in Woodchester.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate, Ypres.
Thomas White was born in 1884 in Stow-on-the-Wold. He was the son of Thomas White and Edith Rhoda Timms. Thomas White senior was a coachman and he and his wife came from Buckinghamshire. Not much is known of his early life but on 26 April 1908 he married Alice Wright in Oakridge and his occupation was listed as a moulder. Alice's brother Henry was killed in action in 1916. In 1911 Alice was living with her parents in Oakridge Lynch with her two daughters Alice and Daisy.
Thomas joined the 11th (Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment in Stow-on-the-Wold which went to Seaford in Sussex during September 1915. He passed away as a result of cystitis and uraemia at the Military Hospital in East Blatchington, Seaford on 12 May 1916.
His body is buried in Seaford Cemetery.
Henry Wright was born on 31 May 1878 in Oakridge. He was the son of John Wright and Hephzibah Hunt. John Wright was a road labourer and lived in Oakridge Lynch. Henry enrolled in Oakridge School on 12 June 1882 and left on 13 January 1890. He went to work as a builders labourer and was a member of the Oakridge cricket team (see photo, he is in the front row with the cricket bat). He never married and in 1911 he was living with his parents in Oakridge Lynch and his sister Alice and her two children. Alice's husband Thomas White was to lose his life in May 1916 whilst serving with the 11th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Henry Wright enlisted in Stroud in the 7th Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). He served as a private and was killed in action on 3 May 1917 in France aged 38.
He is buried at Cuckoo Passage Cemetery at Heninel.