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RAMC profile of:
Edwin Bedford STEEL M.B., B.Ch.

Place or Date
of Birth:
Aldershot on the 16th September 1871

Service Number:

TF Number:

Rank: Maj

Unit: 20th Field Ambulance

Attached To:

Enlistment Location:

Also Served: See below

Outcome: Died of wounds

Date Died: 23/11/1914
Age Died: 43

Where Buried and/or Commemorated: France - Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord

Awards: MiD

Gazette Reference:

Other Information:

Edwin was educated at Rugby , where he won the "Crick" and was in the football XV; and at Trinity College, Dublin, and Dr Steevens' Hospital, where he also distinguished himself as a footballer. He graduated M.B., B.Ch. in the University of Dublin in 1893. He gained a commission in the Medical Services, at the rank of Lieutenant on 29th January 1895. He served in India from 1897 to 1902, when he then served in South Africa and acted as Medical Officer to the XIIth Lancers. During this time, on 29th January 1898, he gained promotion to Captain. He returned to England and was in command of a company at the Royal Army Medical Corps depot at Aldershot, and qualified as a mental specialist. He gained promotion to Major on 29th October 1906, then in 1907, he returned to India, when he was made an Associate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in recognition of his services in connexion with plague duty. He was also awarded the South African medal and the Durbar medal. After his return in 1912, he was in command of the Higher Barracks Hospital at Exeter until the outbreak of war. Edwin embarked on 20th August, and entered the war in France on 21st August 1914 as the Officer Commanding the 20th Field Ambulance. He was mentioned in despatched for his good work at the army headquarters. On 5th October 1914, Edwin succeeded Col Hickson as Assistant Director of Medical Services for the 1st Cavalry Division. He was wounded by shell fire on the morning of 23rd November at La Clytte, and was reported to have died in the afternoon in Bailleul Hospital. However, according to the personal narrative of Frederic Coleman - “At mid-forenoon the quiet of La Clytte was shattered by eight German howitzer shells. One fell thirty yards short of our house, showering pieces of shell in the front yard. Another lit across the road..... A few minutes before the shelling, Major Steele, our Divisional R.A.M.C. officer, and Baron Le Jeune, our French liaison officer, had called. Le Jeune came to obtain the General’s signature to a permit for a few days’ leave. News spread that seventy-two hours in London was forthcoming for all of us in turn, whereat was great rejoicing. Le Jeune told me his little boy had been brought by this mother to Paris, where the Baron was to join them on the morrow. Everyone was happy in anticipation of soon seeing the loved ones at home. Gay quips and cheery laughter were on every lip. Shortly after the brief shelling, Major Davidson, of the R.A.M.C., came in and told us that one of the shells had lit a few yards down the street, at the cross-roads, where General Short, of the Artillery, had his headquarters. One of his staff looked out of the door to see where the shell had struck. Lying in the road-way were the still bodies of Major Steele and Le Jeune, who had been passing at the moment the shell came. Poor Steele’s left arm and shoulder were shattered, and he was badly wounded in the side and leg. Le Jeune was suffering horribly from a piece of shell that had torn its way through his body. Another bit of shell had made a hole in his head. Both of them died - Steele on his way to the hospital, and Le Jeune soon after his arrival there. Colonel Home, Hardress Lloyd and “Mouse” Tompkinson were starting for England, on leave, the day following. We had all been “bucking” about our “last day under shell-fire for a bit.” Such hard luck for Steele, a greatly beloved and very gallant chap, and poor Le Jeune made everybody quiet.” Edwin was the son of Vet. Lt/Col Charles and Frances Steel, and the husband of Ethel Mary Steel of The Old Cottage, Friday Street, Minchinhampton, Glos - married in 1899, they had two sons and a daughter.

Additional Information: Date Added: Tuesday 25 November, 2014
Edwin's final resting place. [Photograph taken by Barbara Janman]

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