Private Edward Thomas Steel

Date of Birth c.1898
Age at Death 17
Date of Death 8 May 1915
Service Number 2354
Military Service 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Merton Address 15 Waterfall Cottages, Colliers Wood
Local Memorial Christ Church, Colliers Wood

Additional Information

Edward was born on 14 April 1897 in Kennington, and was registered under the name of Thomas Edward Steel. In 1901, 3 year old Thomas lived with his father John who was a Hackney Carriage Driver/Groom and his mother Mary at 63 Cottage Grove, Lambeth. The rest of the family were William aged 8, Daniel aged 1 and 3 month old John Jnr. John and Mary (nee Hawkins) had married in 1886 at the parish church of St Mary Newington, Southwark, and John’s occupation was described as a ‘Sawyer’ which as the name suggests, meant that he was employed to saw wood.

On 12 May 1902, Thomas was enrolled at Santley Street School, in Lambeth. Another school record for Broadwater School in 1905 for his brothers Daniel and John, show that the family had moved to Graveney Road, Tooting.

By the time of the 1911 Census, the family had moved again to 15 Waterfall Cottages, Colliers Wood. The family had grown to include George aged 7, Joseph aged 4, and Philip Victor aged 1. The Census reveals that Mary had thirteen children and that sadly four of her children had died. The names of the other two children are not known. John Sr. was now employed as a Motor Cab Driver, rather than the horse-drawn cab he would have driven previously.

Around September 1914, age seventeen, Thomas enlisted in the army as Edward Thomas Steel, and joined the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). The battalion landed at Le Havre in January 1915, as part of the 85th Brigade of the 28th Division, and were engaged in various actions on the Western Front. The battalion fought at the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915). One particular engagement at that time was the Battle of Frezenburg between 8 and 13 May. Sadly, Edward was killed in action on 8 May 1915, which was the first day of that battle. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium and locally at Christ Church, Colliers Wood.

Records show that his brother Daniel died in 1969 aged 69, John Jnr died in 1973 aged 72, George died in 1959 aged 46 and Philip Victor died in 1972 aged 62.


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