A FIRST World War memorial remembering fallen North Oxford soldiers is on the verge of collapse despite a community battle to save it.

The memorial stands next to St Margaret’s Church, on the corner of Kingston Road, and was erected in 1919 to remember war dead from the parish.

But the structure, which features names of those whose families still live in North Oxford, is falling down.

It has been blighted by wet rot, and death watch beetles are eating into the oak pillars that keep it erect.

Last year an appeal was launched to raise the £12,000 needed to restore the structure to its former glory.

But fundraisers are still two-thirds away from their target and now the memorial has had to be propped up by scaffolding.

Liz Wade, of Polstead Road, is chairman of the St Margaret’s Parish War Memorial Appeal.

Ms Wade, 62, said she wants to preserve the memorial so her grandchildren and generations to come do not forget the huge sacrifice the men made for our country.

She said: “Without these men the country would look very different.

“It’s so important we save the memorial from collapsing.

“We’ve still got two families living in the area whose relatives names are on the memorial. We can’t let them be forgotten.”

The four pillars of the dome are made from oak and the cast iron Jesus, which is believed to be one of only 200 made by former Lucy’s foundry in Jericho, sits on top of a limestone base.

It lists 47 names, mostly boys and men in their teens and 20s, and includes 12 Oxford undergraduates and four sets of brothers.

Seven of the men were married and five had children.

They mostly died in France and Belgium, but some also died in what is now Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Egypt and Israel.

Twenty-one of the men have no known grave and the memorial is the only way they are officially remembered.

One of the soldiers is Percy Campbell of the Second Wiltshires, whose nephew is Jim Campbell, former Lord Mayor of Oxford.

Mr Campbell, 70, said his uncle would have been 20 when he died in the Battle of Ypres and was reported missing in October 1914, just three months after the Great War started.

Mr Campbell, of Frenchay Road, said: “It’s a very unusual memorial, not just architecturally.

“North Oxford is considered a largely affluent area.

“But the social mix of names on the memorial and all that brilliant research which has been done has shown there is a range of different people honoured there.

“Wars are numbers and politics.

“But it’s the war memorials which show the individual sacrifice which was made, and it’s so important we never forget that.”

To donate to the appeal send money to Liz Wade, War Memorial Appeal, 28 Polstead Road, Oxford OX2 6TN. Or visit headington.org.uk/oxon/stmargaret

  • Names on the memorial

    George ALLEN

    Lawrence ANDREWS

    Arthur BRADSHAW

    Charles BRIDSON John BRIDSON (brothers)

    Ronald BRIGHT

    Percy CAMPBELL

    Charles CASTLE

    Spencer CHATTAWAY

    Albert COLMER

    Raymond DREW

    Alfred DUKE

    Sidney DUNSTAN (priest)

    Lionel EDENS

    Herbert EMMET

    Gilbert GADNEY

    Herbert GEE

    Harry GIBSON

    Herbert HARRIS

    Leslie HINE

    Cyril HOSKING

    Gordon JELF

    Charles JONES

    Wilfred JONES

    Cyril LAMBERT

    Walter MITCHELL

    Kenneth MORLAND

    Arthur MORRIS

    George MORRIS

    Michael MORRIS

    Charles Finch-NOYES

    William PACEY

    Charles PAYNE Stuart PAYNE (brothers)

    Albert PHIPPS Percival PHIPPS (brothers)

    Percy PHIPPS

    Nathaniel ROBINSON

    Walter ROBINSON

    Ronald SAMPSON

    Lewis SEYMOUR

    Norman SMITH

    Ernest THOMAS

    Alexander WALLACE

    Cyril WALLACE

    Frank WHITE [uncertain]


    Edgar HESTER