Pte No.1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
Joseph Richard Steadman was born in July 1892 in Ellesmere Port, the Wirral, Cheshire to William Steadman and Mary Ann Johnson. In 1911 he lived in 6 Rose Terrace, Douglas Road, Handsworth, recorded as a scratch brusher, where he resided with his father William, a concrete slab maker, and younger brother Albert. By this time his mother had died.
Joseph enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in Birmingham (which is surprising as two of his brothers were with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment), possibly in 1912. Sometime after that he met Ethel May Tambling. She was born in 1891 in Chedzoy, Somerset, daughter of Jeremiah Tambling and Mary Wheeler. Two of her brothers were in the Coldstream Guards, living in Lambeth, so she was presumably also living in that area. Joseph and Ethel May married on 15th February at the Lambeth Registry Office, Joseph's address was given as Blenheim Barracks, Aldershot. In July 1914 Ethel gave birth to a baby boy, Alfred Steadman.
Joseph's Battalion was sent to France in August 1914 and fought at Mons, Le-Cateau, The Aisne, and the First and Second Battle of Ypres. Joseph was wounded on 9th October 1917. This was the start of the Battle of Poelcappelle, during the third Battle of Ypres, a defensive victory for the Germans, but hugely costly for both sides in terms of casualties. Joseph was taken back to England, but died of his wounds on 1 November, in Lambeth. He was 26 years old. His wife was recorded as Ethel May Westgate of Bridgwater, hence why he was buried in the Wembdon Road Cemetery. On 7 November the Bridgwater Mercury reported that the military funeral for Private Joseph Richard Steadman had taken place. His grave bears the touching motto 'Friends are friends when they prove true but I lost my best friend when I lost you'.
Ethel married Albert Oliver Westgate in March 1918 in Windsor, who possibly was also a Coldstream Guardsman
Each of the war stories on our website have been updated in our book, Bridgwater and the First World War.