Rixham, Oliver

Oliver Rixham was born in the June quarter of 1890 in Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire, England (Ecclesall Bierlow, Vol. 9C Page304) the son of Samuel & Sarah Maria Rixham (nee Hague) who married on the 25th October 1887 at Owlerton, York, England.  Samuel’s father was Charles Henry Rixham.

Oliver, age 1, is seen for the first time on the 1891 census living with his parents, at 59, Burrow Lee Road, Sheffield, Yorkshire.   Samuel is 29 and a Joiner’s Tool Maker, Sarah is 26 and they had all been born in Sheffield.

The 1901 census shows them still at the same address, Samuel now 39 and in the same trade, Sarah was 36 years old and the family had enlarged: Oliver, 11, Arthur, 7, Elsie, 4 and Thomas Alfred 2.   They now had a Housemaid, Mary Hemingfield, age 13 years.

1911 brings a change in Samuel’s trade and the family address, now they lived at 366, Fulwood Road, Sheffield, with 5 rooms.   Samuel, 49, was now a Fruiterer & Florist and he tells us that they had been married 23 years, while Sarah Maria, 46, tells us that 6 children had been born and sadly 1 died.   Oliver, 21 and single was a Grinder (Saws), Arthur,18, was a Shop Assistant, Elsie, 14 and Winifred, 5, are not at School, while Thomas Alfred, 12, is.

Oliver was to meet Gladys Broadhead at some time and married her in the June quarter of 1912 (Yorkshire West Riding Vol. 9c Page: 956).

Oliver’s younger brother Arthur enlisted in 1914 when the war was declared, his Service No. was 12/493 and he was a Lance Corporal (Unpaid) in the 12th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment.    His service Records, which I have if anyone wants them, tell us that his father – Samuel RIXHAM, lived at 90 Middlewood Rd., Hilsbro, Sheffield.   His Full blood Brothers were – Oliver age 28 and Thomas Alfred age 20 and his Full blood Sisters were – Elsie 23 and Winnie 13.

Arthur was Killed in Action on or since 1 Jul 1916, Death Presumed.   He is remembered on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France, Pier and Face 14 A and 14 as his body was never recovered.

Samuel suffered the loss of his wife Sarah Marie in the December quarter of 1915, Sarah Maria was to die age 50 years.( Sheffield Vol.  9c Page 664).   Then in 1916 he was to suffer the death of Arthur their 2nd son.

In the September quarter of 1918 Samuel remarried to Dorothy S. Barker (Aston Vol.  6d Page1007).  The district Aston is in the county of Warwickshire.

I believe that they had a son Norman E. Rixham in 1925 (South Yorkshire Vol. 9c Page 952) as he is seen on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, living with Samuel whose birth date is shown as the 11th October 1861 and he was a Dairy Products Dealer.    Dorothy’s birthday is shown as the 15th December 1896 and as most women o this register without a job is doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Norman E. Rixham’s birth date is shown as the 9th April 1925 and he was at school.

On the 10th December 1915 Oliver enlisted in the Army, his Service No. was 168596, Grade 1.  His Short Attestation sheet does not give the Regiment or Corps, but there is a description of him:  He was 25 and 9 months old, his height was 5 feet 3 and ¼ inches and his chest measurement was 34and ½ inches when fully expanded.   This source also give his Trade or calling as General Engineer and address as 3, Brier St., Hillsbro., Sheffield, his wife as Gladys Rixham,  and his marriage date as the 26th May 1912.  Their children were Oliver Alan born the 2nd July 1913 and Arthur Howard born the 5th December 1919.   Oliver was re-attested on the 17th May 1918 and posted to the Royal Air Force Depot, Blandford Camp, Dorset .   On the 1st February 1919 he was transferred to the Air Force Reserve – Class G.  He was “Deemed discharged” on the 30th April 1920.

At some time Oliver must have enlisted again and been posted to RAF Sealand, as on the St.Deniol’s Church Parish Registers – Baptisms, there is an entry :- Page 167 No 1498 born 13th March 1939, Bapt. 7th May 1939 Geoffrey Michael s/o Oliver & Gladys RIXHAM, 49, Hawarden Way, Mancot, Flight Sergeant, R.A.F.

Also on the 1939 National Register living at 49 Hawarden Way , Hawarden, Flintshire was Gladys Rixham born 4th January 1893 and as most women on this register without a job is doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”    It looks as though Arthur H. Rixham, born the 5th December 1919 was single and a Joiner.   Reginald Rixham had been born on the 13th March 1924, single and was a Tool Maker Apprentice.   Geoffrey M. Rixham had been born on the 13th March 1939 which confirms the date on his Baptism.  There were 2 redacted or closed records, which usually indicated younger people.  I can only think that Oliver was not on the Register above because he was included in the R.A.F. Camp records or he was already abroad.

When war was declared Oliver must have been sent abroad to the Far East and thanks to WW2 talk* and TD who gave me this website below, to give you an idea what went on in 1942 in the Sudan and to say that perhaps  Oliver was there in an instructional capacity, especially as he was aged 52 when he died, also Owen who explained something on the London Gazette when Oliver was promoted.


Dave from WW2talk explains as well on the above website:-

It means he was a Warrant Officer (168596) who was made a Flying Officer (officers always got new numbers in the RAF) 48335 on 10 December 1941. His seniority is backdated to 8 July 1941.

That he was in the Technical Branch of the RAF, it would appear he was not aircrew.

 Many thanks to the Forum on WW2talk, they save me every time.

The ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939 – 1945


Oliver as stated was mentioned in the London Gazette:- This was on the LG (Extract):-


To be Fig. Ofis. on prob. (emergency): —

Wt. Offs.

168596 Oliver RIXHAM (48335). l0th Dec. 1941.

(Seny.* 8th July 1941.) *(Seniority)

I do not know the reason for Oliver’s death, but wondered if it was through illness, as Oliver was the only serviceman who died that day, so perhaps he didn’t die in a plane crash, but of disease?

His Service records can be obtained by family if they apply to:-

Royal Air Force

RAF Disclosures and Records Office

Room 221B

Trenchard Hall

RAF Cranwell



NG34 8HB

Obtaining references Tel: 01400 268169

Oliver’s son, Reginald, married 7 years after Oliver’s death:- St. Ethelwold’s Church Parish Register – Marriages

Page 147 No. 294 1st June 1949 Reginald RIXHAM, 25, Bachelor, Transport Driver, 5, Wirral View, Penarlag, Oliver RIXHAM, Flying Officer, R.A.F.(deceased) & Doreen LEACH, 17, Spinster, 46, Queen Street, Queensferry, Thomas LEACH, Transport Driver.   (After Banns)

Witnesses:- Arthur HOWARD RIXHAM & Catherine Mabel LEACH.

I found what may be Oliver’s father, Samuel’s death in Sheffield (Yorkshire West Riding Vol: 9c Page: 438), he died in the March Quarter of 1946, so would have suffered again, after losing Arthur in WW1, he was 84 years of age.

Oliver’s wife, Gladys Rixham in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 shows that she died in the June quarter of 1980 in the Registration district of Rhuddlan, Clwyd – (Vol: 24 Page: 0680), age 87 years.

Nottingham Evening Post – Friday 18 December 1942 – WAR CASUALTIES – News has reached Worksop of the sudden death in Egypt of Fig.-Offr. Oliver A. Rixham. who was well known the town.

However, he was sadly missed by all his family and his name was added to the Memorial to be remembered for perpetuity.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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