Ajax Veterans Street Dedication: Oldfield Court
- Media Type:
- Street Name: Oldfield Court
Name of Veteran: Robert Boreham Oldfield Sept. 6, 1916-Oct. 11, 1988
Rank: Stoker, Personal Aide to Engineer Commander
Ship Served: HMS Ajax
Date of Service on Ship: 1938 to 1940
Year of Visit/Dedication: n/a
Veteran or Family Visit: n/a
Veteran of the Battle of the River Plate: Yes
Died at Battle: No
Robert Oldfield was born in Willesden, Middlesex, U.K. on September 6, 1916 to Vincent and Ellen. He had seven siblings; Dorothy, James, Evelyn, Ernest, Florence, Vincent, and Sydney. Robert was educated at Pound Lane School, Willesden and Willesden Technical College where he studied to be a draughtsman. He then worked for three years in a factory before trying out for Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers Football teams. Unfortunately his father would not allow him to join as there was no money in professional football at the time. Robert then joined the Royal Navy at the age of nineteen.
Robert served in the Royal Navy from 1935 to 1947. He was a Stoker onboard HMS Ajax from 1938 to 1940 and acted as the personal aide to the Engineer Commander during the Battle of the River Plate. He had a very eventful war, surviving both an Italian and a German POW camp, tidal waves, shipwrecks and much more. He was even the subject of a book written about his life in the Royal Navy, titled ‘The Man They Couldn’t Kill’ by Denis Holman.
Robert married Rita Baker on March 7, 1942 at St. Michael’s Church, in Tokyngton, Wembley. Together they had one daughter, Catherine Evelyn in 1948.
After the war Robert worked as a refrigeration engineer at Judex Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works and at the Empire Pool in Wembley (the Wembley Arena). He later worked as a Maintenance Engineer and a Planning Administrator. In the 1960s he appeared on the BBC program ‘This Is Your Life” where shipmates Charles Maggs and Engineer Captain Noake were guests. He was even invited to Montevideo to unveil the memorial to sailors from the Graf Spee as a symbol of reconciliation.
Robert was an elected member of Wembley Borough Council serving various terms from 1954 to 1973. He was Chairman of the Planning Committee and the Ways and Means Committee among others. He was also Chairman of Wembley Muscular Dystrophy Group, a founding member and Chairman of Wembley Knights of St. George (charity for limbless veterans), and a Freemason.
Robert Oldfield died on October 11, 1988 after a battle with Cancer at the age of seventy two.
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- Location of Original:
- Original document and image located in the Ajax Archives.
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