Mr Moxham goes to war

Was there ever a smithy at one end of Oolite Road – in Odd Down, Bath? The man who would like to know is Glyn Moxham who lives in Nottingham.

He’s researching his family history and tells the Virtual Museum that his great-grandfather Frederick Moxham was a blacksmith in that city district.

‘We understand there was a family blacksmith’s shop in Odd Down – possibly on the site of the petrol station at the end of Oolite Road, but we are not sure.’  he said.

The family lived in Bloomfield Road – at number 6 Crescent Cottages – and it is Frederick’s son – Sapper William Samuel Moxham – who Glyn has so far managed to research in most detail. He was – of course – his grandfather and someone who served in both World Wars.

Glyn tells me William was born in July 1897 and joined up in September 1914.

The official documents say he was 18 years and two months but was actually a year younger! His regiment was the 501st Wessex Field Company Royal Engineers. The ‘order of battle’ is illustrated here but William was wounded in Belgium and sent home.

The 'order of battle' for William's regiment.
The ‘order of battle’ for William’s regiment.
Sapper William Moxham's WW1 medal card.
Sapper William Moxham’s WW1 medal card.

He was fully discharged in October 1919 – after three years and 180 days with the Colours and 192 days in the Army Reserve.

William had been awarded the British War and Victory medals and then enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals and served for more than three years before jointing Section D Army Reserve for another four years.

March 1929 found him enlisting in the Territorial Army Corps Royal Engineers here in Bath. He was discharged in 1937 – aged 40 – but that wasn’t the end of William’s Army career.

Sapper William Samuel Moxham from Odd Down, Bath
Sapper William Samuel Moxham from Odd Down, Bath

Glyn says he doesn’t have his grandfather’s full history for the Second World War yet but knows he was in France – probably with the Royal Engineers again – and that he was believed to have been evacuated from Dunkirk.

He ended the war – aged 48 – at REME Old Dalby in Leicestershire – where he made his home.

In the meantime he had been awarded a framed certificate by the people of Odd Down in Bath in recognition of his war service.

The certificate presented to William Moxham by the people of Odd Down in Bath.
The certificate presented to William Moxham by the people of Odd Down in Bath.

William was also a Special Constable for some duration and received a long-service medal. He died in 1975 – aged 77 years.

Glyn is keen to hear from anyone in Bath who may be able to further his research.

‘My grandfather’s sister Amy Nicholls lived in Oolite Road before going into care. She died in the late 90’s.

We came back to Bath last year looking for Crescent Cottages and the site of family graves – with some success on the latter’, he told me.