Stephen John Rawle was born in 1894, the second of four sons of George Rawle, a sailor, and Louisa, his wife.
By the time war broke out, Stephen was working as a groom in Wheddon Cross, just south of Minehead.
As the Great War loomed, he enlisted and Private Rawle serving on the home front. His record show that he stood at 5ft 9.5ins (1.76m) and was of good enough health to be enrolled for the Territorial Force. He was assigned to the West Somerset Yeomanry.
He was medically discharged from service on 29th March 1915, having served for one year and 31 days.
The records show no signs of injury or wounds, and newspapers of the period do not link him with any misadventure. I can only assume, therefore, that he died of natural causes, possibly linked to the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Stephen died on 5th September 1918. He was 25 years old.
It should be noted that, by June 1921, Louisa Rawle had lost three of her four sons to the Great War. Her husband, George, had also passed away in 1915.
Louisa’s other son – Edward – also served, enlisting in the Somerset Light Infantry and fighting in the Balkans. Private Edward Rawle survived the war, returning home in March 1919.