Poppy Lionel George EDENS (1896–1916) Poppy

Lionel Edens
© Images & Voices,
Oxfordshire County Council

Lionel George Edens was born at 11 Leckford Road, Oxford on 6 November 1896, the son of George Edens (born in Wardington in 1871) and Emma Mary Maycock (born in St Ebbe’s and baptised at Holy Trinity Church there on 26 April 1871). His parents were married at SS Philip & St James Church on 13 August 1895 and had three children:

  • Lionel George Edens (born on 6 November 1896 at 11 Leckford Road and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 6 December 1896)
  • Phyllis Edens (born on 13 December 1900 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 31 January 1901)
  • Sylvia Edens (born in St Margaret’s parish, Oxford in 1908/9 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 3 February 1909).

Back in 1891 Lionel’s father George (19) had been living with his own family at 33 New Inn Hall Street (where his parents kept a lodging house) and was working as an assistant to the Oxford Professor of Geology; but he moved to a house of his own at 11 Leckford Road (then in SS Philip & James parish) just before his marriage in 1895; his future wife was then living nearby at 38 Plantation Road.

The couple remained at 11 Leckford Road until about 1899, when they moved with three-year-old Lionel to 81 Kingston Road in St Margaret’s parish. They were there at the time of the 1901 census, and Lionel’s father was described as a clerk; but ten years later in 1911 he was more grandly described as “Clerk to the University Extension Delegacy and Organist”.

Lionel was educated first at Bedford House School in Walton Street. In January 1906 he moved on to the City of Oxford High School for Boys in George Street: he was the first son of an old boy to be educated at the school. He was also a choirboy at St John’s College from the age of 14 to 16. When applying for a commission in July 1915, the Headmaster of the Boys' High School, A. W. Cave certified to Lionel's “good moral character” for the period 1905 to 1915, and N. A. James, President of St John's College, for the period from January 1910 to June 1913.

At the time of the 1911 census he was aged 14 and still at school, and the family had one servant. When war broke out he had been for a short time with Messrs Linnell & Murphy, solicitors, and had hoped to be articled to the firm.

Poppy In the First World War Lionel Edens enlisted as a Private in the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 3221) on 19 September 1914, when he was 18 years old. He served on the home front until 26 August 1915, when he was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was killed in action in France at the age of 19 on 3 September 1916. He is buried at the Thistle Dump Cemetery, High Wood, Longueval (B.12). Below is a copy of the telegram delivered to 81 Kingston Road:

Edens telegram

Edens is remembered on a plaque in the Old Boys’ High School, George Street (left) and on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.

Edens’ obituary in The Times of 3 October 1916 reads:

Second Lieutenant Lionel George Edens, Royal Berkshire Regiment, only son of Mr. and Mrs. George Edens, Kingston-road, Oxford, was killed on September 3, aged 19. Educated at Bedford House and the Oxford High Schools, he had been for a short time with Messrs. Linnell and Murphy, solicitors, and was hoping to be articled to the firm. As a boy he was a chorister at St. John’s College. He enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in September, 1914, and was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment in August, 1915. His colonel writes:— “Only two nights before he had done very valuable patrol work, and all his work, whether in the line or out of it, was extremely good. By his death we have all lost a good friend, and it is no exaggeration to say one of the bravest officers it has been my luck to meet. His disregard of personal danger and his determination had already begun to make their mark, and his men would have followed him anywhere. His death was instantaneous and he fell cheering his men on. It is lads such as he was that keep up the reputation of the regiment and the Army in the field.”

His obituary in the Oxford Chronicle of 15 September 1916 is very similar and is shown below

Obituary of Edens in Oxford Chronicle


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Lionel’s parents
  • George & Emma Mary Edens remained at 81 Kingston Road, and George is listed as the householder there in Kelly’s Directory right up to 1960. (From 1954 he describes himself as “M.A.”, which suggests that he may have been awarded an honorary degree for his services to the University.)
Lionel’s sisters
  • Phyllis Edens (born 1900) married John Edward Richards at St Margaret’s Church on 24 April 1943. She was living with her parents and working as a school teacher, and he was a civil servant who lived at 31 Southmoor Road.
  • Sylvia Edens (born 1908/9) married Ronald Alfred Johnson at St Margaret’s Church in the first quarter of 1945. She was then living at home and working as a secretary, and Ronald, who was a clerk of works, lived at 4 Bainton Road.

See also


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