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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

Charles Steed

Charles Steed's grave in Epehy, France.


Name: Charles Steed

Rank: Driver

Service Number: 230743

Regiment: Royal Field Artillery

Battalion/Unit number: 12th Div. Ammunition Col.

Date/year of Birth:  

Place of Birth: Launceston, Cornwall

Place of Residence: 1911 living at 17 Hendrefadog St Tylorstown Glamorgan (he enlisted in Porth Glamorgan)

Date of Death: 27th September 1918

Place of Death: Epehy, France

Burial/Memorial: Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery, Epehy

It has not been possible to find out much about Charles. He enlisted in Porth, Glamorgan where he joined the Royal Horse Artillery / Royal Field Artillery as a driver. It gives his residence as Taunton, however he does not appear on the Taunton Deane Enlistment roll or the St. James Roll of Honour.

He was born in Launceston Cornwall and in 1911 he was living in Tylerstown with his wife Mabel and their 2 year old son Willie, together with two lodgers. Charles and his two lodgers were colliery workers. The Taunton connection is through his wife Mabel Grabham, who was born there. In 1901 Mabel was living at 43 St Augustine Street with her parents Thomas and Emma.  Mabel married Charlie in 1907 in the Pontypridd district and they had a second child, Leslie, in 1915.

As a driver in an ammunition column Charles would be one of 158 men.  Commanded by a Captain, with 3 Lieutenants or Second-Lieutenants; the job of the Battalion Ammunition Column  was to bring ammunition and other supplies to the Battery positions from the Divisional dumps.

The fact that he was killed in action and buried at Ephey would indicate that he died shortly after the Battle for the village of Ephey. This was part of the Battles of the Hindenburg line following the failure of the German Spring Offensive of 1918.  The village of Epehy was captured by the British at the beginning of April 1917.  It was lost on 22 March 1918 after a spirited defence by the Leicester Brigade of the 21st Division and the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers.  The 12th Division was part of the final offensive against the German forces and was operating South of Amiens, with the artillery having an important role in supporting the infantry.  Ephey was retaken on 18 September 1918, by the 7th Norfolks, 9th Essex and 1st/1st Cambridgeshires of the 12th (Eastern) Division.  On 27 September 1918, the British Third and Fourth Armies made a heavy attack on the Hindenburg Line.  The role of 12th Division, still involved in pushing through and past the Epehy defences, was to secure the vantage points up to the St Quentin Canal and to protect the left flank of the 27th Division of the United States Army which was attacking under orders of Fourth Army.

The cemetery takes its name from the Ferme du Bois, a little to the east. Plots I and II were made by the 12th Division after the capture of the village, and contain the graves of officers and men who died in September 1918.



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