11TH NOVEMBER 1918

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11th November 1918

Battery Sergeant Major F Steeden

Killed in action

Aged just twenty years

Buried in the Fretin Communal Cemetery

Northern France

Served in

The Royal Horse Artillery

The Great War

Ended

Exactly

11 minutes after 11am

11th November 1918

Circumstances of his death?

Only an obituary

The London Gazette

‘When the battery wagon line was repeatedly shelled heavily, he displayed a complete disregard of personal danger, and by his coolness and initiative succeeded in keeping all ranks steady, and by slight moves saved many causalities’  

From the outside

Looking in

Battery Sergeant Major F Steeden

On that day

Had only to

Wake up

Have breakfast

Take ablutions

Perhaps read a newspaper

Over a cup of sweet char

Check out the runners and riders

At Kempton Park

At lunchtime

Go on a bender

Of celebration

He had an inkling

That this day

Would see an end

To hostilities

Keep a low profile

Instead

He got himself killed 

A hero’s death   

On that November day

Had to keep safe

For just a couple of hours

That is all

 

The War that

Had ravaged Europe

Leaving millions

Dead

Or maimed

Four long years

The War

Supposedly to end all Wars

Would be over

Well before lunch

If the Germans were

Up for a morning’s shelling

A swansong

Just ignore them

Their leaders

About to sign

An armistice

Ending it all

Luck does not get much worse

Battery Sergeant Major F Steeden

 

Easy

From the outside

Looking in

War is not a simple thing

 

Battery Sergeant Major F Steeden

Whomsoever you were

We share a surname

We herald from London

The both of us

Who knows?

You are remembered here

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20 thoughts on “11TH NOVEMBER 1918

  1. Mike, I never know what to expect when I come by, but you never disappoint. This was very moving. And sad. It reminds me of a man I knew who was in WWII and served four years as a gunner on a battleship in the Pacific. Two men he served with were run over and killed while crossing the street on V-Day.

    1. These things are I think worth committing to print or whatever media fits best. Another blogger gpcox does a marvelous job through his blog keeping the memories of those who lost lives in the Korean war alive – his blog is worth a visit. I think he has ‘liked’ this so there will be a link on this post if you want to take a look. Cheers, Keep well, Mike

  2. Once again this is beautiful! I love the sentiment of uncovering the veil of anonymity that covers so many soldiers that lost their lives in a war that took place a century ago, the effects of which still influence us today. It kinda begs the question: Do you know if you’re related to F. Steeden somehow?
    Regardless, this one had me gasping for air for a second. 1918 suddenly doesn’t seem so long ago anymore. I guess in many ways it isn’t, not in the least because the War to end all Wars turned out to be a misnomer of epic proportions:S

    1. Cheers. I think he maybe related yet could not find a crucial link went putting a family tree together save for the fact we have an unusual surname and herald from the same town. I did however discover my great, great…something grandmother was called Eliza Mean – tracked her back to 1765 I recall. What a great name!

      1. Eliza Mean…should we be expecting a poem about her anytime soon? That name is awesome. Btw, can I ask…does your family have any Dutch background, since the name ‘Steeden’ sounds very Dutch to me…

      2. Eliza married a Steeden. Piss poor peasants working farmland in Suffolk on the East Coast of England. Maybe a connection with the Dutch. Maybe Romany given the time period and the farm hand connection. Not too sure – certainly not many Steeden’s in the UK though.

  3. Goodness, such rotten luck. The tale pulled me right in. My birthday is 11/11, I’ve always been a shit about that, telling everyone they stopped a war on my birthday (a couple years before my birth). Sometimes they have parades and/or fire off 21 gun salutes. Anyway, a great story, but sad. I

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