The Book of Soden

 History of the  Soden Family 1146 - 1950

" Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.". John, 15,13

The short but noble life of George Herbert Soden, 1920 – 62

Royal Welsh Guard Fusilier 419403H

George Herbert Soden was born on 4th April, 1920 in Wrexham, Wales. George was raised by his uncle, Thomas Soden and aunt, Biddy. During WW2 George Soden was based at Crumlin, Wales guarding the Rail Bridge against German attack. It was here he met his future wife, Margaret.

George’s mother, Elizabeth Soden , was born with spinibifida and so was unable to rear the little baby. He was raised by Thomas and Biddy together with his cousins, Benny, who was blind, and Beaty. Elizabeth Soden died in 1929 in Wrexham.

George enlisted in the Welsh Guards during WW2 and on return to civilian life sought work as a physiotherapist but as he could find no work in that field, he turned to mining and found work at the colliery in LLingithlow.

He worked as a miner until the fateful day of the terrible accident at Llanhilleth. Cut into the sides of every tunnel there are cubby holes where miners can shelter in case of an explosion. On that teririble  day in 1962  there was an explosion and George shoved first a fellow miner into the cubbyhole but did not have time himself to seek cover. He was killed immediately in the explosion. At 42 years of age he left his wife, Margaret (Hughes) and a boy, David , father of Richard Soden, the source of this remarkable story. His ashes were scattered in the rose gardens at Cwmbran Cemetery.

Looking at his short life at a distance perhaps it is easier to understand his selflessness in serving his country in war and saving his friend in the mine, after his experience of the lifelong selflessness of his uncle Thomas and Aunt Biddy. 

[Source: Richard Soden, Cwmbran, Wales, grandson of George Herbert Soden, 18/6/2020]


This webpage is copyrighted. © 2023 Felix Soden. All rights reserved.


The Sodens of Oxford, Jericho and Cutteslowe   1802 – 2019

[All information on this branch of the Sodens has come from the copious details of Nigel Dudley [     ]

The Oxford Mail 1960 and the grave inscriptions of the  Oxford Historical Society. ]


The Sodens through all their branches have been involved in many different professions and trades.

Prominent in Ireland were farming and horticulture. In England horticulture , too, was common but the Church, Law, Medicine, the Military, both Army and Navy, Tanning, Abattoirs, Postal and the Chimney Sweep Business were the principle activities.


Nigel Dudley’s  great grandfather, Leonard Soden, and Nigel’s grandfather were involved with horses and greyhounds in the Oxford area at the turn of the 20th century. Their most successful greyhound was Witney Glitters. As a young boy Nigel went to the races with his grandfather and experienced the hustle and bustle of race – going and often heard his grandfather making a bet on a horse by phone  in the coded language of the day, ‘Hello, this is Smokey Two speaking’.


Leonard was interviewed by the Oxford Mail in the late 1960s where he recalls his involvement in  the racing, as well as the horse slaughtering, postal and chimney sweep business.


1835 - 2019

Joseph Soden , born 1835, was the son of John  (born 1802) and Catherine Soden and was the first to work as a chimney sweep mainly in the Jericho area of Oxford. He was followed by his son William Abraham Soden, born 1863, then by Leonard Soden, 1897, then by Richard Soden, then by Michael Soden  and finally by Gary Soden, when the business ceased in 2019 to operate. [To be completed]