Born in 1883 Stephen was the fourth child born to James and Mary Rose of 6 Stone Croft, Runcorn. By 1901 the family had moved to 35 Gilbert Street, Runcorn, James was working as a dock labourer while Mary was a charwoman, Stephen was also a dock labourer. In the second quarter of 1907 Stephen married Clarinda Collins in Runcorn. The 1911 census shows that Stephen and Clarinda had three children, one had sadly died. Their oldest child was Lucy, age 3 and then their son, John 1, later they would have another daughter Winifred.
Stephen was in the territorial army and would have been called up within a few days of war being declared on the 4th August. The 2nd battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers sailed from Southampton on the 11th August 1914, however after a short period of training Stephen landed in France on the 6th October. On the evening of the 14th/15th October he saw his first action when the battalion occupied the town of Steenwerck.
Christmas 1914 saw the battalion in the trenches near Frelinghiem the war diary for Christmas Day reads:
Practically a truce all day, both sides walked about on top of their trenches- allowed Germans to bury their dead.
The following day they were relieved by the Durham Light Infantry and spent New Year 1915 in billets.
On the 2nd June 1915, the battalion were in the trenches at La Vesee. La Vesee is about 5km from the cemetery where Stephen is buried, the cemetery was used by field ambulances during this period in 1915. Stephen died within a day/couple days of being wounded and basically didn’t make it back through the clearing stations to a major hospital. On the 4th June there were 2 wounded, the following day 4 more were wounded, Stephen more than likely was among these wounded men.
The war diaries read:
4th June A good deal of shelling all day, Parapet badly blown in. “B” Company Lt. Mostyn and a patrol of 3 men successfully bombed a German patrol, 2 men wounded.
5th June A good deal of sniping and shelling – Billet farm was shelled in the evening causing 4 casualties one being killed. Reserve platoon was moved back to La Vesee.
Casualties 1 killed 4 wounded.
Stephen’s widow Clarinda received £5 war gratuity in July 1919.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Richard Spencer, Stephen's grandson and Paul Spencer, great grandson for the picture of Stephen.