Poppy Frank WHITE (uncertain) Poppy

Frank White medal


Frank White has not yet been identified. It is possible that Frank was not his official forename, so all possible people surnamed White have been examined.


Left: Medal of a man named Frank White, purchased in Oxford in 2014


Oxford Mail, 27 August 2014:
“ ‘Death penny’ may unlock riddle of unknown soldier

The following people who are listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1916 in the streets of St Margaret’s parish can all be ruled out after examination of the 1911 census:

  • Percy Henry White at 133 Kingston Road was 33 in 1911, and so not old enough to have been Frank’s father. Percy himself would have been a possibility, as Mrs White is listed at the house in 1918; but the people called P. H. White listed on the CWGC site do not match
  • William White at 20 Plantation Road was 58 in 1911 and both his children were already dead
  • William Henry White at 8 St Margaret’s Road was 67 in 1911 and had never had any children
  • William John White at 57 Southmoor Road was 40 in 1911 and had never had any children. He was living at 57 Chalfont Road by 1918
  • Mrs White at 29 Leckford Road, the widow of Alfred White, had only one son: Alfred George Leonard White, who was too young, as he was only seven in 1911
  • Ernest Randolph White of 36 Chalfont Road was 35 in 1911 and had three young daughters.

Another local possibility:

  • William Franklin White, born in Cowley St John parish in East Oxford, was a tailor aged 22 living at home with his parents at 36 St Mary’s Road in East Oxford in 1911. He was living in Kidderminster with his wife Edith at the time he enlisted. He was killed in 1918. His widow Edith was living at 116 Magdalen Road in about 1920, but there is a faint chance that they began their married life in North Oxford.

He is not the F. J. White listed on the Oxford Roll of Honour: that man was Frederick John White.

There is a man with the surname WHITE who definitely lived in St Margaret’s parish when he served and who was killed in the First World War. That is Bernard Harold White, and it is not impossible that he was known as Frank White, as the memorial is an informal one and other men are listed by the forename they were known by rather than their first name.

His biography is given below, as even if he is not Frank White, he should have been included on the St Margaret’s war memorial.

Poppy Bernard Harold White (1890–1917) Poppy


Bernard Harold White was born on 4 January 90 in Frome, Somerset and baptised at St Barnabas's Church in Oxford on 16 July. His parents were Harold Silas White (born in Great Elm, near Frome, Somerset in 1863/4) and Lizzie Maria Bossom (born in St Thomas’s parish, Oxford in 1866), who were married at St Thomas’s Church in Oxford on 29 July 1889: his father (26) was then living in Juxon Street in St Paul’s parish, while his mother (who was the daughter of the waterman John Bossom) lived at Medley Lock in St Thomas’s parish.

Bernard was their only child. At the time of his birth around beginning of 1890 his parents were in Frome, his father’s birthplace, but they were back in Oxford at 63 Juxon Street, Jericho by July that year.

At the time of the 1891 census Bernard’s father was described as a printer machine manager (at Oxford University Press), and Bernard was then one year old. Ten years later, the family was still in that house.

At the time of the 1911 census their address is given as 62 rather than 63 Juxon Street, but it may have been the same house. . Bernard’s father still had the same job, while Bernard (21) was now himself an apprentice letterpress machine manager at the nearby press. By the time of his death he was working in their machine room on their Wharfdale Press.

In the third quarter of 1914 in the Birkenhead area, Bernard White married Lilian Rose Akerman (known as Rose). (The place of marriage seems odd, as she lived near Bernard in Nelson Street and also worked at Oxford University Press, where she was a book sewer.) Her roots were also in Oxford: she had been at 28 Nelson Street in Jericho on 6 July 1892 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 15 September, and was the daughter of Frederick James Akerman (an edge tool maker, born 1868 in Oxford) and Rose Fanny Day (born in Oxford in 1870, registered as Rosa).

Bernard and Lilian Rose moved to 49 St Bernard’s Road (then called St John’s Road) in St Margaret’s parish, probably straight after their marriage and certainly by 1915. They had one son:

  • Royal White (born 1915/16, birth registered first quarter of 1916 in Headington district)

Poppy In the First World War Bernard White enlisted on 14 August 1916. He served in England in the Army Ordnance Corps to 12 April 1917, and then enlisted at Woolwich as a Private in the 1st/7th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment (Service No. 41384). He went to France on 12 July 1917, and fought at Passchendaele Ridge in Belgium on 26 September and again on 9–10 October 1917. He was killed in action at the age of 27 on 10 October 1917 and has no known grave. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 75 to 77).

Bernard White on OUP war memorial

Left: Bernard H. White's name on the
Oxford University Press war memorial

St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Bernard’s parents
  • Bernard’s parents remained at 62 Juxon Street for the rest of their lives. His father Harold Silas White died at the age of 74 in Oxford in 1937 (reg. second quarter) and his mother Lizzie Maria White at the age of 76 in 1941/2 (reg. first quarter of 1942).
Bernard’s widow
  • Bernard’s widow Rose White remained at 47 St Bernard’s Road until 1935.
Bernard’s son
  • Royal White married Patricia M. Stanton in the Oxford Registration District in the fourth quarter of 1942. She was born in 1924/5 (registered Liverpool district first quarter of 1925), so was only 17 at the time of the wedding. Royal White died in Oxford in 1970.

See also

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