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66 men - Frederick Little

[Frederick LITTLE Pozieres Memorial Simon Haynes 2015 more contrast smaller]

Frederick Little's name on the
Pozieres Memorial, the Somme, France
Image: Simon Haynes

Frederick Charles Squires LITTLE

Frederick Little was one of three brothers - Ernest, Frederick and Hubert - who died in the War. He was born on 24 November 1890 in Oxford and was given his mother's maiden name (Squires) as his second middle name. His father William James (born in Oxford in 1860/61) and mother Mary (born in Southmoor in 1860/61) were married in 1882/83 and had nine children in total, two girls and seven boys: Gertrude (born 1883/84), Ernest (1886), William (September 1888), Frederick (November 1890), Arthur (December 1892), Elsie May (August 1896, but died in 1897), Hubert (1899), Cecil (November 1903, but died in infancy) and another Cecil who was born in 1904 and was given the same name. When Ernest was born in 1886 the family was living at 1 Cromwell Place, Bridewell Square, St Aldate's, but in the late 1890s they were living at 7 Thompsons Yard and by 1901 they had moved to 10 Clarkes Row. They were still at 10 Clarkes Row when Cecil was born in 1903 and when Gertrude, the oldest of the siblings, had a daughter, Dorris Minnie Little, in December 1905.

By 1911 the family had moved to 198 Marlborough Road in Grandpont and Frederick was working as a college servant at Christ Church. He was to be one of more than fifty Christ Church servants who did military service during the First World War. Initially he enlisted with the Queen’s Own Oxford Hussars, but later transferred to the 4th Squadron of the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry), which had been formed by Royal Warrant on the 14 October 1915 and of which His Majesty King George V was Colonel-in-Chief. Frederick was a Private, service no. 105100.

Frederick and his squadron were sent to fight at the Somme and he was killed on 26 March 1918, aged 27, at the Battle of St Quentin. Beginning on 21 March, the Germans had transferred very large forces from the collapsing Eastern Front for their final offensives in the west; this was known as 'Operation Michael'. The attack fell on Fifth Army which included 2 Cavalry Division and the 4th Squadron of the Machine Gun Corps, of which Frederick was part. Reginald Norgrove and Albert Reynolds had died in the same battle five days earlier.

Frederick, Reginald and Albert's bodies were never recovered but they are all named on the Pozieres Memorial which commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. Frederick is also commemorated amongst the college servants named on the Christ Church war memorial, which lists all members of the college and cathedral community who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars; it is in the entrance to the college chapel (which also serves as Oxford's cathedral).

Frederick, Ernest and Hubert's brother William Francis (born September 1888 and known as Billy) was also a college servant at Christ Church; he started work as a scout's boy in 1904 (when he was 15). In 1911 he married Hilda Tuck, who was the sister of his brother Arthur's wife, Gertrude, and they lived at 35 Marlborough Road, which was Hilda's family home. In 1915 Billy joined the Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry, and went to fight. He survived and returned to work at Christ Church in 1919; he was promoted to scout [a kind of personal assistant to a number of undergraduates] soon afterwards and looked after undergraduates on Staircase 1 in Peckwater Quad. He died in September 1932 aged 43, as a result of atrophy of the liver, probably caused by mustard gas poisoning during the War 16 years earlier. He is buried at Osney Cemetery in west Oxford. His widow Hilda married Charles Day in 1958, and died just two years later, in Coventry.

Billy and Hilda's son Cyril worked with his father as a Christ Church scout, from when he was a boy. He served in the Grenadier Guards in the Second World War before returning to work at the college as butler, and then head butler. His two daughters, Jenny and Liz, were both married in the cathedral at Christ Church. Cyril passed away in 2000 and his funeral was in the cathedral.

With thanks to members of the Little family, and to Judith Curthoys (Archivist, Christ Church) and Revd Ralph Williamson (College Chaplain) for additional information, and to Jenny Tucker for the photograph of her grandfather Billy Little.

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Cyril, nephew of Ernest, Frederick and Hubert Little, and his classmates at St Matthew's Infant School (on the corner of Whitehouse and Marlborough Roads), 1922-23.
Image from Carole Newbigging, The Changing Faces of South Oxford and South Hinksey, Book 2 (Click image to close)

[Cyril Little, St Matthews Infants, 1922-23]