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Updated: 21 January, 2015
The Parish Church of
St Matthew Oxhey
Fr David Shepherd
For Hall Bookings
Inventory of All memorials
North aisle Brass in memory of Alice Slocombe of Oxhey Warren d. 1910.
Lady Chapel Stone plaque commemorates Rev'd Newton Price, first vicar of St Matthews.
Lady Chapel Stone plaque in memory of Arthur William and Emma Matilda Minna Parsons.
“This window is given by their sons and daughters 1916”.
Lady Chapel Stone plaque “in loving memory of Karl Parsons Jan 23 1884 - Sep 30
1934. He designed and executed the south window in this chapel and many other windows
in churches and cathedrals in England and abroad. Never star was lost here but it
South Aisle Copper plate on wood commemorates R A J Warneford VC, Chevalier Legion
d'Honneur, killed ten days after bringing down the first Zeppelin.
South Aisle Brass placed there by the Watford Belgian Refugees Committee, in memory
of Vera Smith (d. aged 28) “in recognition of her labours for the unfortunate Belgians
during the great War.” “She was for 10 years a Sunday School Teacher and her noble
example and sweet disposition won the hearts of all who came in contact with her.”
South Aisle Marble and mosaic tribute to Walter Stephen Quilter, sidesman and Sunday
Under West Window two plaques commemorating young soldiers killed in 1916: John Richard
Gutteridge Smith of Wiggenhall and Eric Lillywhite Lailey.
Outside porch Marble tablet to John MacDonald and Frank Martin, bellringers, killed
The tablet reads as follows:
To the Glory of God and in memory of Flight Sub-Lieut R A J Warneford VC Chavalier
Legion D’Honeur RN.
Who attacked and destroyed a Zeppelin airship June 7th 1915 and was accidentally
killed when flying in France June 17th 1915.
This tablet was erected by the people of Oxhey.
Warneford’s burial at Brompton Cemetery 22nd June 1915 was attended by thousands.
artist's impression of the destruction of Zeppelin LZ37
The Warneford Tablet
From War Illustrated 1915: “While flying at a great height between Bruges and Ghent
he encountered a Zeppelin. Quickly rising above it, he swooped down and launched
bombs on the massive airship. A loud explosion followed, and the Zeppelin caught
fire and fell to earth. The explosion caused the British machine to turn several
somersaults, during which the petrol escaped from the rear tank and the pilot had
to descend in the German lines. He managed to refill the empty tank, restart his
engine, soar again into the air, and return safely to the British lines. Within thirty-six
hours after his heroic deed the King had conferred the V.C. on the young aviator.”
On 17 June 1915, Warneford was awarded the Légion D'Honneur from the French Army
Commander in Chief, General Joffre. Following a celebratory lunch, Warneford travelled
to the aerodrome at Buc to ferry an aircraft to the RNAS at Veurne. After a short
test flight, he then flew a second flight, carrying an American journalist, Henry
Beach Newman, as passenger. During a climb to 200 feet, the right wings collapsed
leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe. Neither occupant was harnessed
and they were thrown out of the aircraft, suffering fatal injuries. In the case of
Newman, death was instantaneous. Warneford died of his injuries on the way to hospital.
His connection with Oxhey
He lived with his step-grandmother in Oxhey Avenue. His aunt, Mrs Nightingale, lived
at 35 Kingsfield Road. Flight Magazine, dated 20 April 1916, includes this item:
Flight Sub-Lieutenant REGINALD ALEXANDER JOHN WARNEFORD, of Satley (16), Oxhey Avenue,
Watford, who was killed on June 7th, while flying at the Buc Aerodrome, Paris, left
£39-14s-11d. Letters of administration are granted to his mother, Mrs. Alexandra
Corkery, of Morton Road, Exmouth, Devon.