Private 61379 William Henry Steventon

Killed in Action on Thursday, 25th January 1917, age 21.
Commemorated on Panel 41 of Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 39th Company. 13th Division.
Formerly 19521 Worcestershire Regiment.

Son of Sarah Ann Elwell (formerly Steventon), of 224, Whitehall Rd., Great Bridge, Tipton, and the late Christopher Steventon.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 10th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1659679/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Steventon registered June quarter 1896 in Dudley.

1901 Census
11 Bloomfield Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Christopher Steventon (29, Iron Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Sarah Ann (29, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Annie (8, born Tipton), William (4, born Tipton), and Emma (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
4 Court 6 House, Lower Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Christopher Steventon (39, Iron Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Sarah Ann (39, born Tipton), and their 3 children: William (14, born Tipton), Emma (11, born Tipton), Thomas (8, born Wednesbury), Louis (5, born Wednesbury), Arthur (3, born Tipton), and Isabelle (1 month, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Before enlisting with the Worcesters, William Steventon had worked at the Bengal Foundry, Tipton.

He was initially with the 9th Worcesters, in 39th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division, and arrived in Gallipoli on 10th September 1915. Shortly after his arrival, William was transferred to the 39th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, still in 39th Brigade. The 13th Division served solely in the Mediterranean theatre, including Gallipoli, Suez Canal, and Mesopotamia.

William appears to have been missing after action, as his Medal Index Card says "Death accepted January 21st 1917", but the Tipton Herald reports 25th January, and that is the date recorderd bt the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Action resulting in his death

The Gallipoli campaign was abandoned, and 13th Division was evacuated in January 1916. They landed in Port Said, Egypt, and then on to Basra, Mesopotamia in early March 1916 when they transferred to the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force. Their first action was during the unsuccessful attempt to relieve the garrison at Kut; the soaring temperatures then made further campaigning impossible until the winter months.

On 25th January 1917, 39th Brigade took part in the Battle of Kut-al-Amara which attempted to drive the Turks out of Kut. The 39th Brigade advanced but, by the end of the day, Turkish counter-attacks and artillery forced their retirement to their opening positions. Losses were heavy, with reports that 900 men of 39th Brigade had fallen.

William Steventon was killed in action on that day. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald October 27th 1917
Sad news had been received of Private William Steventon (age 21) of Dudley Port. He was first reported wounded on the 25th January, then missing, and now reported killed in action. A letter from a comrade states what a great loss it has been to all of the members of the Machine Gun Corps. He was a very popular soldier. Private Steventon worked at the Bengal Foundry, Tipton before enlisting. Not long after the war broke out he went to the Dardanelles, then to Egypt, and afterwards to Mesopotamia, where he received his fatal wounds. He is sorrowfully missed by his mother, sisters and brothers, relatives and friends.
Private Steventon enlisted in the 9th Worcesters, but was transferred to the M.G.C. after reaching the Dardanelles.