Private George E. L. Tolley (1895–1916)
“George E. L. Tolley was born in Barton in 1895, the son of Edward Tolley (born in Headington and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 23 October 1859) and Mary Jane White (born at the White Horse on the London Road and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 August 1861). His parents were married (probably in haste) at St Andrew’s Church, at the respective ages of 20 and 19, on 9 May 1880 and had the following children:
* Edward Albert (also known as Albert Edward) Tolley (privately baptised on 13 August 1880, died aged 2½, buried at St Andrew’s churchyard on 6 January 1883)
* Percival Charles Tolley (born in Old Headington 12 March 1883 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 29 April 1883)
* Sarah Maria Tolley (born in Old Headington on 4 May 1887 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 11 September 1887)
* Edith Tolley (born in Barton on 19 December 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 11 May 1890)
* Thomas Tolley (born in Old Headington on 9 October 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 November 1892)
* George E. L. Tolley (born in Barton on 23 August 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 24 November 1895)
* Alice Tolley (born in Old Headington in c.1897)
* Edward Tolley (born in Old Headington on 14 January 1904 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 6 March 1904).
In the 1881 census the family can be seen living in Old Headington (probably in Old High Street, and Edward’s father is a brewer’s drayman (which may explain how he got to meet his wife, who was the daughter of Daniel White, landlord of the White Horse on the London Road) and his mother a dressmaker. They still had the same jobs in 1891, but were living in Church Lane.
By 1901 they had moved again, to one of the cottages between the Priory and the Black Boy in Old High Street: George’s father was now a mason’s labourer, and his mother still a dressmaker. George was a 5-year-old “scholar”: he would almost certainly have attended Old Headington Infant School, which had recently moved into an old building behind the present St Andrew’s School.
George’s father Edward died in Old Headington at the age of 46, and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 24 February 1906. The 1911 census shows George’s mother as a widow of 49, earning her living by dressmaking in Western (now Holyoake Road). George (15) was now a printer’s labourer, as was his brother Thomas (18).
Poppy In the First World War George Tolley served as a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No: 3022). He was aged only 20 when he was killed in action in France on 19 July 1916, and is buried in the Laventie Military Cemetery, La Gorgue ( II. D. 6). He is listed on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.
After the War
Tolley’s mother died at 1 Holyoake Road and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 7 February 1927. Miss Tolley (presumably one of George’s sisters) was still living in that house in 1962.”
Initials: G E L
Nationality: United Kingdom
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 19/07/1916
Service No: 3022
Additional information: Son of Mrs. M. J. Tolley, of I, Western Rd., Headington, Oxon.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. D. 6.
Cemetery: LAVENTIE MILITARY CEMETERY, LA GORGUE
Name: George Tolley
Death Date: 19 Jul 1916
Enlistment Location: Headington Quarry, Oxon
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Type of Casualty: Killed in action