Names on the Steep War Memorial – Who were they and where did they live?
A talk given by Fran Box in Steep Church on Remembrance Sunday, 2014
About 30% of the World War I names on the Steep War Memorial are officers and 70% other ranks. Of the other ranks, about three quarters attended Steep School and 11 were members of the church choir at various points. Most of them left Steep School by the age of 13 or 14 years, some as young as eleven. The School Roll Book lists their jobs on leaving: newspaper boy, farm work, garden boy, boot shop boy, carpenter, gamekeeping, soldier boy. By 1914 their occupations could be seen to be:
Working on the land: farm labourers, cowmen, poultry keeping, carting and gamekeeping
Working in the big houses: gardeners (5), servants (2), butlers (2), footman, groom, pantry boy, house and garden boy
Working in town: Builder’s labourer, railway worker, bottle fitter, drapery shop assistant, police officer
Armed services: some joined prior to the outbreak of war – army (2) navy (1) and one was an army bandsman (drummer)
Of the officers, seven were professional soldiers and had gone from independent schools to Sandhurst and thence to commissions. Another seven were from Bedales. Another was a land surveyor; one returned from working on Malaysian rubber estates. One was a writer and poet, others a research chemist and working in a camera business. One joined directly from university.
Where did they all live? They came from all parts of our parish, as can be seen from the following addresses given:
Eastern area: Taylors Cottage, Tankerdale Farm, Coldhayes Cottage, Gardners Farm, Reservoir Cottages, School Lane Sheet, Railway Gate Crossing, Sheet
Central area: School Cottages, Church Cottages, The Camp, Church Farm, Bedales, Rose Cottage, Yew Tree Cottages, Oakhurst Cottages, Ashford Woods, Berryfield Cottage
Western area: Island Farm, Island House, Stoner House, Stonerwood Park, Ridge Common, Dunhilldene, Dunannie Cottage, Dunannie house, The White House Bell Hill
Stroud and further: Jones Cottages, Aldersnapp, Alpha Cottages, Hill House, Langrish, Hinton Ampner, Kilmeston
Petersfield: Rushes Road, Hylton Road, Penns Road
Two came from London, one from Australia, two from Canada and one returned from Malaya.
All made the ultimate sacrifice. We will remember them.