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Person Details
24 Dec 1887
Midsomer Norton Somerset
Walter was the son of William Stedham and Elizabeth Stedham nee Passmore. William was born in Axminster, Somerset (abt 1861) the son of Robert Stedham, and Elizabeth was born in Chard, Somerset (birth registered J/F/M) the daughter of John Passmore. William and Elizabeth were married in Chard parish church on 2 August 1879; he was 19 years old and a stonemason and she was 20 years old and a cotton hand. In 1911 they completed the census with the information that they had been married for 33 years and had had 15 children of whom only seven were still living at the time of the census. Ten children were named on the census between 1881 and 1911; Sarah Ann (b. 1879, O/N/D Chard), Robert John (b. 6 January 1884 Nottingham, baptised Midsomer Norton parish church 3 February 1888), William Charles (b. 26 November 1885 Midsomer Norton, baptised Midsomer Norton parish church 3 February 1888), Walter Tom (b. 24 December 1887 Midsomer Norton, baptised Midsomer Norton parish church 3 February 1888), George Henry (b. 9 June 1890 Midsomer Norton, baptised Midsomer Norton parish church 4 December 1890, death registered 1892 J/A/S Nottingham), Ernest (b. 1893, O/N/D Nottingham), Frederick Leonard (b. 1895, A/M/J Nottingham), Flora and Amelia (b. 1901, A/M/J Nottingham, deaths registered in the same quarter) and Alfred (birth registered 1904 J/F/M Nottingham). There is also a record of the registration of the birth of an Alfred James Stedham in Nottingham in 1881 (O/N/D); the child died aged 2 years old in 1884 (death registered J/A/S Nottingham). In 1881 nearly two years after their marriage, William (20) and Elizabeth (22) were living at 5 Bridge Square, Lenton, Nottingham, with their first child, Sarah Ann (1). William was working as a bricklayer. By the time of the next census in 1891 William and Elizabeth were back in Somerset living in Midsomer Norton. They now had five children: Sarah (11), Robert (7), William (5), Walter (3) and George (10 months). George died the following year aged two. The family was again living in Nottingham in 1901 at 1 Broad Oak Terrace, Dame Agnes Street. William was still working as a bricklayer. In the household on the night of the census were William (40) and Elizabeth (42) and their eight children, Sarah (21) a lace mender, Robert (17) a bricklayer, William (15) a lace threader, Walter (13), Ernest (8), Frederick (5) and twins Flora and Amelia who were both under one month old and died a short time later. Four of William and Elizabeth's seven surviving children had left home by the time of the 1911 census with only Ernest (18) and Frederick (16), who were both bricklayers, and Alfred (9) still living in the family home at Broad Oak Terrace. The eldest child, Sarah, had married William Edwin Ryley in 1903 (marriage registered A/M/J Nottingham) and they were living at 1 Loughborough Avenue, Sneinton Dale, with their two children William Edwin (6) and Eva May (3). Also in the household was William's unmarried sister, Lucy Ryley, a machinist. Robert (27), who was still working as a bricklayer, was a boarder in the household of a widow, Elizabeth Briggs (50), and her three unmarried children. Robert married Lilian Walker in Sheffield the following year (marriage registered 1912 J/A/S). Robert probably died aged 64 in 1948 (death registered Sep Border, Cumberland). William had married Annie Thompson in 1911 (marriage registered J/F/M Nottingham) and at the time of the census they were living with her parents, Joseph and Kate Thompson, at 25 Cathcart Street, St Ann's Well Road. William was now working as a bricklayer and Annie was a framework clipper. Also in the household were Annie's five unmarried siblings and a widowed sister and her young daughter. William and Annie's daughter, Gladys, was born shortly after the census (birth registered 1911 J/A/S). Walter had enlisted in the army and was serving with the 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters in India at the time of the 1911 census. Walter's brother, William, probably joined the Territorial Force (Sherwood Foresters) and served during the war as there is a medal record for a William Charles Stedham, 9196 Private 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters, who served in France from 10 October 1914. He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Frederick also probably served in the war; there is a medal roll record for a Frederick Stedham - 492379 Sapper, Royal Engineers; 3726 Private Sherwood Foresters; (T)2561 Royal Engineers - who qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Frederick married Ada Nicholls in 1927 (marriage registered A/M/J Nottingham) and they had at least two children, June Ada (b. 1929) and Margaret O (b. 1934). Frederick was living at 1 Snowton Terrace, Spring Close, Lenton, when he died on 7 January 1934 at the age of 38. His widow Ada never remarried and she died on 17 January 1966; her home was at 6 Neville Street, Meadows. Administration of her will was awarded to her married daughter June Ada Smith. Walter's younger brother Ernest joined the Territorial Force on 15 February 1911 on a four year engagement and volunteered for embodied service with effect from 5 August 1914. He served in France from 28 February 1915 with the Army Service Corps (244748 Private) and was not demobilized until 4 May 1919. He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Ernest was still living with his parents when he joined the regular army in 1914 but married Ada Etches at St George's parish church, Meadows, on 3 November 1917, after which they lived at 8 Launder Cottages, Launder Street, Nottingham. A daughter, Winifred Ada, was born in 1923. Ernest died aged 57 in 1951 (death registered Dec Nottingham). William and Elizabeth's only surviving daughter, Sarah Ann Ryley, died on 1 September 1925; she and her husband, William Edwin Ryley, a baker and confectioner, were living at 24 Heathcote Street, Nottingham. William Stedham senior died aged 73 in 1934 (death registered September Nottingham) and his wife Elizabeth aged 81 in 1940 (death registered December Nottingham). Their youngest child, Alfred, died aged 45 on 1 June 1949 (death registered June Nottingham).
In 1911 Walter was serving in India with the 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters.
11 Mar 1915
1562506 - CWGC Website
Nottingham. He enlisted in Netherfield, Nottingham.
1st Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Sgt. Stedham served with 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters. He was a regular soldier; in 1911 he was serving with the battalion in India. He served with the BEF in France from 4 November 1914. On March 10, 1915 the battalion was involved in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. They advanced a 1,000 yards north east of the village and dug in. The following day they came under sustained artillery fire, and casualties began to mount. Pte. Wilkinson, trying to take back a message was shot down in the open. Sgt Adkin and Sgt. Stedham leapt forward and tried to help him. They had just lifted him when all three were riddled with machine gun bullets. Sgt. Stedham was buried at Le Touret Memorial (panel 26 and 27).
Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged) 31 March 1915: 'Stedham. March 11th 1915, Sgt WT (sic) Stedham, killed in action. Brother of Sarah Ryley, Loughborough Avenue, Sneinton Dale.' The following is an extract from a letter written by Walter's brother, Driver Ernest Stedham, which appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post on 5 April 1915. The letter refers to Walter's death in action [details recorded under Military History] and also the death of one of Walter's fellow-sergeants, 8508 Sergeant James Sidney Tee, 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters, who died of wounds on 9 February 1915: “THE SPIN OF A COIN. “TOUCHING STORY OF SERGEANTS WHO TOSSED FOR LEAVE. “In a graphic letter from the front Driver Ernest Stedham, Army Service Corps, tells a pathetic story of how the spin of a coin decided a soldier’s fate. He writes to his Nottingham employers, Messrs. Dennett and Ingle, Station-street, mentioning his brother’s heroic death while attempting to save a comrade’s life at Neuve Chapelle. “There is a sad story attached to his four days’ leave, at the time when I saw you,” continues the driver. “It was related to me by one the sergeants of his regiment. My brother, and another sergeant — a Nottingham man named Sid Tees — tossed up to decide who should have the four days’ leave. My brother won, and on the last day of his leave Sid Tees got killed. He lost his life by a toss. May they both rest in peace.” (Source: Jim Grundy facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918) Note: 8508 Sergeant James Sidney Tee, 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds 9 February 1915 (see T2T ROH, Nottingham All Saints memorial), Walter left a Will in favour of his sister, Sarah Ann Ryley, who was his sole legatee.
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