OPT remember Kennington Servicemen on VE Day

Friday 8 May 2020 marks 75 years since VE Day as Oxford Preservation Trust remember the servicemen of Oxford and share the history of our own Kennington Memorial Field.

Whilst there is a Bank Holiday to mark the 75 anniversary this Friday, it cannot be the celebration that we all intended. Instead, we share a little history from the OPT archive of some of the Oxford people who gave their lives for us during WWII.

At Kennington, many of the men from the village had gone to War, and others played their part in other ways. The Village wanted to remember the local men who had given their lives, and by 1946 the money was raised, with the help of many village residents, and OPT were able to buy a 12.5 acre field on the edge of the village. From the outset the Kennington Memorial Field was intended as a public open space for everyone to enjoy, and over 70 years later it is still there for all. A stone plinth and plate records the names of the local men who gave their lives during and only last year OPT put up a new board at the entrance from the adjoining Recreation Ground. Those who died were RAF Flight Officer Dennis Bint, 20; Corporal Charles Bowley, Army Catering Corps, 32; Second Lieutenant William Evers, Derbyshire Yeomanry, 34; RAF Leading Aircraftman William Gobey, 38; Lieutenant Anthony Kirk, Royal Naval Reserve, 26; Driver Sidney Trinder, Royal Army Service Corps, 27.

“OPT has such a rich history and has made a contribution to Oxford and its green setting in so many ways. But what could be more heartening than this gift to Oxford and Kennington. Each year we make a generous contribution on Remembrance Sunday to fund a Poppy Wreath, and are delighted to work with the Parish Council and local volunteers to keep this space special” – Debbie Dance, Director.

Today, the Field is managed as species-rich grassland to encourage wildflowers and meadow plants, using traditional methods, preserving a small part of the rural setting of this ancient village. While on their daily exercise, local residents can look out for such wildlife as cowslips and marbled white butterflies. For those further away, you can learn more about Kennington here.

And if you are baking over the bank holiday, why not have a go at these Wartime recipes – and let us have photographs of the results!

Share your VE Day with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or by emailing info@oxfordpreservation.org.uk

Cowslips at Kennington Memorial Field


Marbled White Butterfly at Kennington Memorial Field