CWG: Serjeant Harry Stephens

Serjeant Harry Stephens

Harry Stephens was born in Banwell, near Weston-super-Mare on 4th January 1873. He was one of six children to Frederick Stephens and his wife, Emma. Frederick was a butcher, and this was a trade that both Harry and his older brother, Fred, would go into when they left school.

It appears that being a butcher was not the full-time career that Harry was looking for, and so, in the 1890s, he found other employment as a farmer, and moved to Lynton, on the north coast of Devon.

It was here that he met Norah Watts, another farmer’s daughter and, in 1898, the couple married. They set up home at Furzehill Farm, and went on to have four children, Frederick, Alice, Albert and Herbert.

By the time of the 1911 census, Harry had moved his family back to Banwell, where they lived in a four-roomed house on the High Street. Harry was now a cattle dealer, and was presumably supplying meat to his mother who, having been widowed in 1902, was now running the butcher’s shop with three of Harry’s siblings.

War was coming, though, and on 21st July 1915, Harry enlisted. Given his farming background, he was assigned to the Army Veterinary Corps and, while remaining on the Home Front, over the next few years he gained promotion.

Towards the end of 1917, when Serjeant Stephens was serving in Romsey, Hampshire, he fell ill, complaining of chest pains and breathlessness. He was taken to Hursley Hospital near Winchester for cardiac checks, and it became apparent that he was no longer fit for active duty.

Discharged from military service on 5th July 1918, he returned home. Admitted to the Military Hospital in Taunton, it was only a matter of weeks later than Serjeant Stephens passed away. He was 45 years of age.

Harry Stephens was laid to rest in the St James’ Cemetery in Taunton.

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