Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 31 January 2014

Flashback Friday - War Grave - Frederick and Charles Stevens - Brothers in Arms

**Originally posted 12th December 2012**

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".
Frederick James Stevens and Charles Stevens were born in Maidenhead, Berkshire in 1895 and 1893 to Charles W Stevens, a labourer in a sewage works and later Cooper's Brick Kilns, Pinkney's Green, and his wife Elizabeth Susan Cole.
In 1901 Frederick aged 5 and Charles aged 7 are living with their parents and sister Lily at No 5 Dolman's Buildings, King Street in Maidenhead Berkshire.
1911 and Frederick, now 15 and a caddy at a local golf course, is still living with his parents at No 5 Dolman's Buildings.  Charles, now a private in The Royal Berkshire Regiment, however can be found at Fort Burgoyne, The Red Huts, Military Quarters At Castle Hill And Broadlees in Dover.
Sometime afterwards Frederick joined his brother in 1st Battalion of The Royal Berkshire Regiment.

It seems that their father didn't take to their joining the war effort too well.  On 3rd October 1914, The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported -

"Maidenhead.  Attempted Suicide

Worried about His Son At The Front.

Lying face downwards with a razor in his right hand and three gashes in his neck, a man named Charles Stevens was discovered in a semi-conscious condition on the common at Pinkney's Green.  For reasons which at present are unknown he had attempt to take his life, but the wounds were not sufficiently severe to serve his purpose, and he is now at the Maidenhead Cottage Hospital making rapid progress towards recovery.  When he is in a fit condition he will be brought before the magistrates to answer for his foolish action.   The man is 44 years of age and is in lodgings at Pinkney's Green.  He is employed at Cooper's Brick Kiln.  It is thought that among other things he has been worrying about his son at the front."
Unfortunately I have been unable to locate any military records for either Frederick or Charles.

Frederick was wounded in battle and sent to The General Hospital in Nottingham.  From his hospital ward Frederick penned a letter home.  The Reading Mercury reported on 9th January 1915 -

"Maidenhead Man Wounded - The following is an extract from a letter sent by Private F. Stevens of the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment (son of Mr. C. Stevens, 5, Dolman's-buildings, Maidenhead) who was badly wounded at the front,  and is now in the General Hospital at Nottingham: 'My upper jaw has been broken and my left eye is useless.  I have been in this hospital since November 22, and I am progressing as well as can be expected.  The hospital authorities cared for us very well this Christmas and I enjoyed myself very well under the circumstances.  The people od Nottingham are very good indeed to all the wounded here.'
Sadly Private Frederick was to die as a result of his wounds on January 12th 1915, aged just 21 years.
Charles rose to the rank of Lance Sergeant before he too was killed as a result of enemy action on 29th November 1917, aged just 25 years.  Charles in buried in the Moeuvers Communal Cemetery in France.  The Reading Mercury carried a notice of Charles's death on 22nd December 1917 -

"Acting Lance-Sergt Charles Stevens of the Royal Berks Regiment, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stevens of 5, Dolman's Buildings, King Street, Maidenhead, was killed on November 29th.  He had distinguished himself for bravery in the field in the earlier part of the war, and was the possessor both of the D.C.M. and the Military Medal."
Charles Stevens Sr died around the same time as Charles Jr in the last quarter of 1917.  Perhaps it was the death of his two sons that led him to his grave.  How heartbreaking for Elizabeth to lose two sons to war and then her husband not long afterwards.  Elizabeth finally joined her husband and sons in 1929 when she passed away aged 84.

1 comment:

  1. Very, very sad. But I'm glad that you bring light to the lives of these people.

    And thanks for sharing this on Taphophile Tragics!


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