Steele, Joseph

Joseph Steele, Lance-Corporal 267379, 1/6th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
Killed in action 31st July 1917 near Ypres, Belgium, aged 23

 

EARLY LIFE

More information will be added here when research is complete.

 

WW1 SERVICE

Joseph enlisted with the Seaforth Highlanders on 6 June, 1915 and, after training in Scotland, was drafted to France. When he had been at the front thirteen months he was injured by liquid fire and was wounded in the left arm by shrapnel. He was invalided to England and underwent treatment in hospital at Cromer. Lance-Corporal Steele was subsequently reposted to France and was buried by a shell up to the neck, after which he was admitted to hospital suffering from shell-shock and an injury to the back. He was again sent to England and was in the Rock Bank Auxiliary Military Hospital, Bollington. On recovering he was re-drafted to France, setting sail at midnight on Easter Monday 1917. Joseph was again slightly wounded with gun-shot through the right hand, but afterwards returned to the trenches, where he met his death on July 31st.

Joseph was reported to have been killed in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 10 August 1917:

LANCE-CORPORAL J STEELE

Lance-Corporal Joseph Steele (23), whose wife resides in High St, Macclesfield, is also reported to have fallen in the recent offensive on the Western Front, the information being contained in letters received from his platoon sergeant and company lieutenant… His widowed mother resides at 5 Richmond Hill…

 

His death in action was also reported in the Macclesfield Times on 31 August 1917:

A GALLANT FIGHTER – FELL WHILE LEADING HIS MEN

Official notification has been received by Mrs Steele, 126 High Street, Macclesfield, of the death in action of her husband, Lance-Corporal Joseph Steele, Seaforth Highlanders. The gallant soldier fell while leading his men. Lance-Corporal Steele was twenty-three years of age and received his education at St Peter’s Day School. He was formerly employed in the Highways Department of the Macclesfield Corporation and enlisted on June 6th, 1915. He trained in Scotland for ten weeks, and after a ten days’ leave was drafted out to France. When he had been at the front thirteen months he was injured by liquid fire and was wounded in the left arm by shrapnel. He was invalided to England and underwent treatment in hospital at Cromer. He was subsequently reposted to France and was buried by a shell up to the neck. Lance-Corporal Steele was then admitted to hospital suffering from shell-shock and an injury to the back. He was again sent to England and was in the Rock Bank Auxiliary Military Hospital, Bollington. On recovering he was re-drafted to France, setting sail at midnight on Easter Monday. He was again slightly wounded with gun-shot through the right hand, but afterwards returned to the trenches, where he met his death on July 31st.

Captain C E Lynch has written to Mrs Steele: “… Lance-Corporal Steele… was killed by a rifle bullet whilst leading his section forward in the big attack of July 31st… your husband died so nobly doing his duty… he was a good NCO – always splendidly brave and willing to do his work…”

 

COMMEMORATION

L/Cpl Joseph Steele is buried in Grave Ref. III. C. 13. in Artillery Wood Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for L/Cpl Joseph Steele, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, L/Cpl Joseph Steele is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, St George’s Church and St Peter’s Church war memorials.

 

NOTES

 

SOURCES

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website

Macclesfield Advertiser: 10 August 1917
Macclesfield Times: 31 August 1917, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)


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