Robert Henry Oxtoby was born on 20 September 1896 in Bow, London. He was the second of the three children of William Oxtoby (1862-1918) and Eva Nellie Oxtoby née Todd (1868-1947) and his birth was registered in the 4th quarter of 1896 in the Poplar registration district.
In the 1901 census he is shown as living at 518 Lordship Lane, Dulwich, Camberwell, Surrey, with his parents and siblings: Dorothy Eva Oxtoby (1895-1968) and Charles William Oxtoby (1899-1991), his maternal aunt Lucy Todd, together with a female nurse and a female general domestic servant. His father's occupation was described as a civil engineer.
When his father completed the 1911 census return he was described as at school, living in an eleven roomed house called Grangemouth at 50 Grove Park, Camberwell, with his parents and both siblings, together with a cook and a housemaid. His father was now the Borough of Camberwell's Borough Engineer.
He joined the London City and Midland Bank at Queen Victoria Street, London, in January 1913 but in March 1915 he enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, service number L/11755 and entered France on 11 December 1915. He is shown in the The London Gazette dated 13 February 1917 as being awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry & devotion to duty. He showed great courage & determination, as a cyclist orderly, in keeping touch between the battery position and the wagon lines.
He was attached to the Royal Field Artillery's 'B' Battery, 162nd Brigade, when he was killed in action, aged 20 years, on 16 May 1917 and was buried in Plot 2, Row E, Grave 11, in the Feuchy British Cemetery, Rue de la Chapelle, Feuchy, Pas-de-Calais, France.
On 31 July 1917 his army effects totalling £27-18-0d were sent to his father and on 29 December 1919 his £9-0s-0d war gratuity, plus a further ten pence underpayment of his army effects, were sent to his widowed mother.
He was posthumously awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal. His medal card and his entry on the Royal Field Artillery's medal rolls show his rank as A/Bombardier.
He is also commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website, on the Midland Bank Memorial at HSBC Bank, 1 Centenary Square, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 1HQ and on London WW1 Memorial website.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.