William R. E. G. Steels.

. William enlisted on the 11/1915 in the H C B directly from his home in 53 High Street, Old Fletton, Huntingdonshire, at the H. Q. of the H C B at Huntingdon where he was a private number 1669 in D Company of the 2/1st Battalion.   He was, at some later date transferred to the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment with the service number 24708.   William was born in Old Fletton, Huntingdonshire the son of  Robert B. & Harriett - High Street Old Fletton.  At  the time he enlisted he was a Printer @ Messrs. Farrows works, Fletton.

He was 23 when he was killed before the 3/7/1917.   He is commemorated in Crump Trench British Cemetery graveII-B-26.

He was posted to the base depot B. E. F. France on 26th July 1916, he was rationed up to and for that day. Order was part 2 No. 171 issued by W. L. Stephenson, 2/Lieut. & acting Adjutant, 2/1st Hunts. Cyclist Battalion. The order was issued at Well Camp Alford at 8-00 p.m., 28th July 1916. He went to France. His name is on the Methodist R O H at Old Fletton.

W Steels  - He was one of fifty three men that formed part of a draft that was sent from Huntingdon to the 2/1st Hunts. Cyclists in Lincolnshire on Saturday before 21/1/1916.  

21/7/1917    Fletton Cyclist Killed.    Private William Steels, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Steels, High Street, Old Fletton, was killed in action on July 3rd 1917. He enlisted in the Hunts. Cyclists Battalion in November 1915, and went out to France in July 1916. He was evacuated to England suffering from a wound and trench fever during the Somme battles of the same year. He returned to France for the second time at the beginning of May, and met his death on the date above stated. Prior to enlisting he was employed by the printing dept. of Messrs Farrow's Works, Fletton. A memorial' service at Stanground Church will be held on Sunday at 4 o'clock. The following is a copy of a letter received by the deceased's brother, Ted, from a comrade: "July 11th 1917, B E F, My dear Mr. Steels, it is with the greatest regret that I have to perform a very unpleasant duty. I am extremely grieved to have to tell you that your poor brother William was killed on July 3rd. I cannot give you any details as it is not permitted, but 1 have the good luck to get to England myself, I shall write and give you the details. Your brother and I have been chums since we arrived at the Isle of Wight together, and I miss him very much. He was so very good tempered and he was well liked by his section. I have already written to Mr. and Mrs. Steels, but it failed to pass the censor, so when I got your address I was very much relieved, as you will be able to break it much better than through the medium of a letter. I will not write more now, but will you please convey my deepest sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Steels, and also to his fiancé. I have distributed his parcel among his chums as it is the usual practice".

There is a memorial to 1914-18 war dead in Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Stanground, Peterborough which records the name of William Steels.

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If you can help with any data on this Huntingdonshire Cyclist please contact me at huntscycles@btinternet.com

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. . Martyn Smith ©