William James Oxman
Born c 1891 in Newquay Died of Wounds 16 October 1917
Pte 14185 5th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment (Previously Devonshire Regiment)
Buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium
William James, who was sometimes known as James, was the son of William and Lavinia Glanville. The elder William was a coachman, then became a fish hawker, whilst Lavinia was a charwoman. Lavinia (or Levinia) was the illegitimate daughter of Jane Glanville, a field labourer and washerwoman, who had a great number of children born out of wedlock. Jane and several of her children spent some time in the workhouse at St Columb Major.
William and Lavinia were married in 1875 and had the following children:
- Thomas Henry (1878 - 1880)
- Thomas Henry (1880 - 1959)
- Lavinia "Janie" (1882 - ?)
- Clarice Adelaide (1884 - ?) Worked cleaning train carriages during the war
- (Agnes) Maud (1887 - 1960)
- William James
In 1911, young William had a job as a grocery storeman. He was living at home with his parents, which was at 1 Norman Court. The family had a lodger; Frederick Wills, a carriage cleaner with the GWR. Perhaps Clarice Oxman got his job when he went away to war (Frederick married in 1913, went to war with the the Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division and died in 1955. Clarice's employment as a carriage cleaner shows up in the GWR records).
William joined up in Launceston and was assigned to the Devonshire Regiment, although I don't know which Battalion. At some point he was posted to the 5th Dorsets. In October 1917 the Dorsets, with 11th Division, were involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. It seems likely that it was during one of the battles, perhaps at Poelcapelle, that William was fatally wounded.
There was a Casualty Clearing Station at Proven and the Mendinghem Military Cemetery is now on the site. William is buried in the cemetery along with 2441 other soldiers, 51 of whom are German.
Back in Newquay, William's mother died in late 1918; his father disappears from the records.