Name: Frederick James Steele
DoB: October 31 1888,
Regt: Private, Sportsmen’s Batt., 1914; 2nd Lieut., 3rd Dorset Regt. (Reserve), 1915.
DoD: Killed in action in France, October 13, 1915. Age 26
Academic Career: CGS 1901- 1904. Became a pupil teacher, 1904. Asst. Master at Hampton Gr. School.
Frederick was the third son of David and Annie Steele. In 1901 David Steele was listed as a commercial traveller. Older brothers Herbert and Ernest were working as an assistant librarian and railway clerk respectively.
After Fred’s death his parents thanked “all friends for their kind messages of sympathy in their sad bereavement” in the Cumberland News.
Fred was educated at Carlisle Grammar School between 1901 and 1904.While there he played Rugby for the school. He had come there from Fawcett’s School with a George Moore Scholarship and a county scholarship and after leaving he became a school master training at Carlisle Pupil Teachers Centre and at St Mark’s College.
In the 1911 Census Fred is an assistant school master living at Shepton Mallet Somerset. Later he worked at Hampton Grammar School. After some years as a teacher, Fred joined a firm of motor manufacturers.
Fred began with service as a private in the Sportsmen’s Battalion, in 1914; and became 2nd lieut., 3rd Dorset Regt. (Reserve), in 1915. He was subsequently transferred to the 8th Royal Berkshires. Frederick was killed in action at Hulloch, France, Oct. 13, 1915 during one of the final assaults of the Battle of Loos. He is commemorated at the Loos Memorial. This was a bright sunny day and poison gas was used. The 1st Brigade attacked at 2pm and came under heavy fire from the Geerman positions. The bombardment had failed to cut the wire significantly and the attack was halted. The survivors withdrew after dark and there were 1200 casualties. Overall there were 61,000 casualties sustained in this campaign. Of these 7,766 were killed, including many men who had only been in France a short while. .
Frederick initially joined the Sportsmen Battalion in 1914. This was comprised of volunteers from the world of sport or entertainment. Later he transferred upon promotion to the 3rd Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment, a training unit that remained in England throughout the war. He was killed while attached to the 8th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. This Battalion moved to France on August 8 1915, landing at Le Havre, for transfer to the 1st Brigade in 1st Division.
Fred was in Beirut (then in Syria) when war broke out, and he came home to join up. The inference from the Roll of Honour in the Cumberland News was that he had been there through his work for a motor manufacturer. He was reported to have been a keen Rugby player and had played for Somerset. He was also a good golfer.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1911: RG14/14499; 1901 RG13/4865
c) Website: The Long Long Trail
e) www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.co.uk
f) The Cumberland News 30 October 1915
g) Royal Berks War Diary. Nat Archives