War Memorials - Surnames O

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OCKENDEN, Albert (Updated 14/09/2016)
O'KEEFFE, Michael (New 17/08/2017)
OLDRIDGE, John Addison (Updated 07/02/2015)
OPPENHEIMER, Kenneth (Revised 08/03/2013)
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OCKENDEN Albert, Private. 5221.

5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.
Died of Wounds 27 September 1916, aged 19.

Albert Ockenden's headstone in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension
Albert Ockenden's headstone in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Albert Ockenden was born in 1897 (GRO reference Mar 1897 Epsom 2a 15) to George Edmund and Elizabeth Harriet Ockenden (nee Dudley). Albert's parents had married on 6 October 1872 in St Matthews Church, Croydon. They produced ten children, all registered in the Epsom district.

ALBERT OCKENDEN AND HIS SIBLINGS
NameBorn - DiedNotes
Morris WilliamsBorn: 1873Married Sophia Jane Heasman 1900 Epsom
EdmundBorn: 1875 
FrankBorn: 1880Married Alice Hanks 7 October 1905, St. John, Upper Holloway
HarrietBorn: 1883Married Walter King 1 November 1913, St. Martins, Epsom
JamesBorn: 1885
Died: 1949
1) Beatrice Maud Davie 10 September 1907 - Romney Marsh, Kent. 2) Annie Aburow 24 November 1933 - Barnet
Ellen MaryBorn: 1888Married Harry Popkin Cook 19 September 1908 - St Martins Epsom
TomBorn: 1890Married Ann Brockwell 16 October 1920 - St Luke, Oseney Crescent, Camden
MaudBorn: 1893Unmarried
AlbertBorn: 1897
Died: 27 Sep 1916 France
 
Unknown  

In the 1881 census, before Albert was born the family lived in Lintons Lane, East Street, Epsom. Albert's father Edmund was a 34 year old labourer. His mother was aged 29 and he had three siblings, Morris aged 8, Edmund aged 5 and Frank aged 8 months.

On 5 April 1886, Albert's brother Edmund was admitted to the Epsom Workhouse and discharged a week later, on 12 April, into police custody.

By 1891 the family had moved to 4, Carters Cottages, Upper Downs Road, Epsom, and three more siblings had arrived, James aged 5, Ellen aged 3 and Tom aged 4 months. Edmund, aged 15 was a pupil in the Mayford Industrial School, Woking.

Albert's mother died in 1899 aged 45 and was buried in grave F108A, Epsom cemetery on 28 December. Note: His father died in 1921 aged 74 and was also buried in grave F108A on 16 September.

In 1901 the family lived at 13 Downs Cottages, Epsom. Brother Edmund worked as a labourer and James worked on the golf links. Another sister, Maud aged 7, had arrived. Brother William(s) (Morris) lived at 10, Downs Cottages with his wife Sophia Jane and her three children from her previous marriage.

The 1911 census shows 14 year old Albert living at 11, Carters Cottages, Burgh Heath Road, Epsom with his 64 year old widower father. Also living there were siblings Edmund and Tom, both labourers, and Harriet. Albert's father recorded his name as George Edmund and wrote against his name that he had been married for 39 years and had 10 children, all still alive. The information on marriage and children has been struck through, presumably because he was a widower.

The Soldiers Died CD tells us that Albert enlisted in Ealing, whilst he was living at Hanwell, and served in the 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, which was in the 150th Brigade, 50th Division.

Albert died of wounds on 27 September 1916 and is buried in grave III. B. 15. Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension. Dernancourt is a small village about 2 miles south of Albert and in 1916 was a base for medical services looking after casualties from the Battle of the Somme. It is not possible to know exactly when or where Albert was wounded but between 15 and 18 September, 81 men from his battalion lost their lives fighting between the villages of Martinpuich and Flers.

The St Martin's church Roll of Honour states that:
ALBERT OCKENDEN, died in France of wounds on 27th September 1916.
Albert was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM

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O'KEEFFE Michael, Private. 4859.

5th Battalion Leinster Regiment.
Died 22 September 1918, aged 26.


Michael's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Michael's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

Michael O'Keeffe was born in 1892 in St. James, Dublin, Ireland.

The Soldiers Died CD records that he lived in Dublin and enlisted in Shanbally.

Michael's service record has not survived but his medal card tells us that he went to France on 16 February 1915 and that he served initially with the 1st Battalion Leinster Regiment. At some point he was transferred to the 5th Battalion (Training and Depot) and then to the Labour Corps. Men were often transferred to the Labour Corps if they had been wounded and were no longer fit for front line service.

Michael died in Horton War Hospital on 22 September 1918 and was buried on 24 September in grave K651 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with three other soldiers.

Michael was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

The CWGC website states that he was the:
Husband of Christine O'Keeffe of 172 Church Street, Dublin.
Michael's widow Christina was recorded as his sole legatee in the Soldiers' Effects records.

CWGC


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OLDRIDGE John Addison, Private. 1813.

7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Died of Wounds 3 July 1916, aged 20.

J Oldridge's inscription

John Addison Oldridge was born in Epsom on 27 November 1896 (GRO reference Mar 1896 Epsom 2a 17) the only child of John Major and Mary Elizabeth Oldridge (nee Rudd). His father was aged 31 and his mother aged 34 when they married on 15 October 1888 at St. John's church in Paddington. By 1889 John's parents were living and working as drapers in Epsom High Street.

The drapers shop owned by John's father
The drapers shop owned by John's father
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In the 1891 census, before John was born, his parents lived at 53 High Street, Epsom where his father was a 'Draper Employer'.

John was baptised in Christ Church, Epsom, on 21 January 1896.

In 1901 John, aged 5, was living with his parents in the High Street, Epsom where his 44-year-old father ran a fancy drapers shop. Also boarding there were three drapers assistants, a cook and a housemaid. His mother was aged 47.

John was aged 15 in 1911 and was one of many draper's assistants living at 44-51 High Street, Bromley, Kent in the employment of F. Medhurst Ltd., a family-owned department store. His parents were living and working in Waterloo House in Epsom High Street. John's maternal uncle Richard Addison Rudd and three of his cousins all lived with and worked for John's father.

On 21 February 1913, John's father's name appeared in the London Gazette regarding a 'Deed of Assignment' to pay his father's debts.

His parents later moved to 'Marberry', Heatherside Road, West Ewell.

John enlisted in Epsom on 5 September 1915, where he joined the East Surrey Regiment. According to the Surrey Regimental Recruitment Registers, John was 5ft 3½ inches tall, weighed 120lbs and had a 35 inch chest with an expansion of 3 inches. He had brown hair and eyes and a fresh complexion. In civilian life he had not been a draper but an engineer.

John served in the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which was in the 37th Brigade, 12th Division and went to France with the battalion, landing at Boulogne on 1 June 1915.

On the 2 July 1916 the 12th Division relieved the 8th Division opposite the village of Ovillers, which it was due to attack very early the next day. At 2.15am on the 3 July Ovillers was bombarded by artillery. Assembly trenches had been dug in no man's land, reducing its width from 800 to 500 yards. At 3.15am the 12th Division commenced its attack. By 9am the Division reported a complete failure with some 2,400 casualties.

The 7th Battalion East Surreys did not 'go over the top' on 3 July, being held in reserve in a communication trence. Nevertheless they suffered from shellfire and nine men from the 7th East Surreys lost their lives on 3 July, including John who died of wounds. He is buried in Millencourt Communal Cemetery Extension, grave A.16.

The CWGC states he was the:
Son of John Major Oldridge and Mary Elizabeth Oldridge, of 'Marberry', Heatherside Road, West Ewell, Surrey. Native of Epsom
John was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

John's father died aged 66 in 1923.

In addition to being commemorated on the memorials in St. Marys, All Saints and Bourne Hall Dipping Well, he was commemorated on the now lost Ancient Order of Foresters memorial.

BH EW AS AOF

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OPPENHEIMER Kenneth William, Private. M2/054824.

315th Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps.
Committed suicide while temporally insane 19 July 1915, aged 28.

Kenneth Oppenheimer
Kenneth Oppenheimer
Image courtesy of Kenneth's great grandson Robert Coke © 2011

Kenneth William Oppenheimer was born on 18 February 1887 in Cheshunt Hertfordshire to William and Louise Matilda Oppenheimer. He was christened later that year on 1 May. He had an older sister Ida Daphne and a younger sister Vera Louise.

Kenneth's father was a manufacturing chemist from Manchester and by 1891, when the census was taken, the family had moved to 54, The Drive in Hove Sussex, where he had a staff consisting of a governess, housemaid, parlour maid, cook and nurse. His mother seems to have been better known as Louie and his sister Ida by her middle name of Daphne.

Vera Louise, Kenneth William and Ida Daphne Oppenheimer
Vera Louise, Kenneth William and Ida Daphne Oppenheimer
Image courtesy of Kenneth's great great niece Rebecca Westrope © 2013

The family had once again moved by the time the next census was taken and were living at "Riverdale" Summer Road Thames Ditton.

Kenneth's parents moved into Ewell Castle in May 1903, renting it for a reduced rate of £200 per annum. Although they had the option to buy the property for £12,000, they continued to rent until at least 1907, when Kelly's Directory showed the widowed Louie as being the occupant.

Kenneth's 57-year-old father died on 4 January 1906 and was buried in St. Mary's church graveyard. The following year Kenneth's sister Daphne married Ewell born John Percy Thomas Evans, the son of Sir David Evans, K.C.M.G.

Kenneth's mother had moved to 1, Mores Gardens, Chelsea by the time the 1911 census was taken. She was living there with Kenneth's sister Vera and three servants. Kenneth was staying at the New Hampton Court Club in East Moseley. Shortly after the census was taken, on 10 May, Vera married George Thompson Shearing.

On 2 September 1912, 25-year-old Kenneth married Margaret Simpson Wallace Van Schuymer in St Jude, South Kensington Middlesex. The marriage register shows that his father William was deceased and that Kenneth's occupation was a manufacturing chemist. His address was given as 22 Eardely Crescent Earls Court. Their daughter Daphne was born 1 March 1914 in Fulham.

Kenneth attested into the Army Service Corps at Grove Park on 21 March 1915 as Private 054824 where he gave his occupation as a motor driver and address as "The Meadows" Walton on Thames. He later gave his wife and daughter's address as being the Royal Squadron Hotel Ryde on the Isle of Wight. His height was measured as 5 feet 7¾ inches tall and his chest as 38 inches with a 3 inch expansion.

On 11 April 1915, only 20 days after attesting, Kenneth left from Folkestone by passenger steamer to Boulogne to join the British Expedition Force in France. Here he was posted to the 318 Mechanical Transport (MT) Coy and attached to the No. 14 General Hospital as a chauffeur to a DDMS. Later he was posted to 317 MT and 315 MT before being granted leave between 13 - 18 July 1915. This may have been classed as compassionate leave as his mother Louise had died on 11 July.

After only 94 days in France Kenneth returned to England and was admitted to the Middlesex Hospital in Mortimer Street, and seven days later on 19 July 1915, he "died from a fracture skull and sternum, self inflicted whilst of unsound mind".

Lieutenant Holmes RMO wrote from the Middlesex Hospital stating that the inquest held regarding Kenneth's death had found that the verdict was that of "suicide during temporary insanity". His suicide death would seem to indicate that he fell from a great height. Kenneth's body, and that of his late mother, were buried in the same grave as his late father in St. Mary's Churchyard, Ewell. Kenneth's name is not listed on any other borough memorial.

Kenneth's grave in St Marys -  Image 1
Kenneth's grave in St Marys -  Image 2
Kenneth's grave in St Marys -  Image 3
Kenneth's grave in St Marys, Ewell
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The War Office wrote on 25 September 1915:
Sir, I am directed to inform you that in view of the circumstances of the death of No. M. 2/054824 Private Kenneth Oppenheimer, Army Service Corps, his widow and child are not eligible for pension from Army Funds.
Mrs Oppenheimer and the Regimental Paymaster should be informed accordingly. The late soldier's documents are returned herewith.
Probate of his effects, valued at £4365 18s. 6d., was granted on 9 December 1915 to his brother-in-law John Percy Thomas Evans. Kenneth's last address was given as ,The Meadows', Sidney Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey.

His personal belongings and any medal (1915 Star, British War and Victory) due to him were requested on 28 March 1916 to be sent to Margaret's solicitors in Cheapside.

Kenneth's Medals
Kenneth's Medals
Image courtesy of Kenneth's great grandson Robert Coke © 2011

A letter was later sent to Margaret on 6 November 1917 stating that she would be regarded as eligible for grant of a temporary pension under Article 15 of Royal Warrant of the 29 March 1917. It enclosed a form to be filled in and returned to them. In reply to this, a letter was sent to the War office from the Reverend Claude Trimble on 21 November 1917:
Kilmesden Vicarage, Alresford, Hants.
Dear Sir,
Enclosed Mrs Oppenheimer's declaration fully filled in and signed, together with her wedding certificate and birth certificate of her daughter. I should be glad if you will return the certificates to the above address when finished with. May I point out ????? (illegible) for the first six months after her husband's death when she received £1.1.0 per week, Mrs Oppenheimer and her daughter have been absolutely penniless and solely dependant on relatives.
Yours faithfully
(Rev) Claude S Trimble.
The Ministry of Pensions wrote on 8 January 1918 confirming that the widow of Private Oppenheimer would receive, under Article 15 of Royal Warrant, a weekly pension of 15 shillings dated from 4 April 1917.

Soon after Margaret married Henry Coram Wright in 1918 in Alresford Hampshire.

Many years later on 24 October 1935, Kenneth and Margaret's daughter Daphne gained her flying certificate flying a Gypsy Moth 85hp aeroplane from Surrey Flying Services at Croydon Airport. She was still unmarried then and was living at 25, Launceston Place, London W8. Three years later in 1937 she married Richard H Paterson in Kensington. Her mother died the same year.

BSM

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