Stephen was born near Dowlais, South Wales in 1890.  He landed in France on 19th September 1914 to join the 1st Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s 13th Regiment of Foot), that had been shipped to France on 22nd August, part of the “Old Contemptible” British Expeditionary Force.

The 1/SLI was allocated to 4th Division, 11th Brigade, for the duration.  Stephen fought with this Division at:

Battle of Messines. 12 Oct-2 Nov 1914, Battle of Armentieres. 13 Oct-2 Nov 1914, including the capture of Metern and possibly the
Battle of St. Julien. 24 Apr-5 May 1915.

Around this time, Stephen was transferred to ‘The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry’, during 2nd Battle of Ypres.

During his time in 1/DCLI, the Bn was in the 5th Div; 14th Bgd.

From 1/DCLI Battalion Diary, 27th May 1915:


“Cotton wool respirators issued, recalled and burnt & cotton waste & gauze respirators issued in place.  Proper system of gas drill now in force.  32b support & 31 support shelled during the morning.  32b shelled during night and parapet blown in in two places.”

Approx location of these trenches are: 504908N; 025504E.

Stephen was buried in a "trench grave" a few hundred yards behind these trenches, by his fellow 1/DCLI comrades.

Mourned by his family, especially his older brother, Tom, who named two of his post-Great War sons after him (both of these died in childhood) and prayed for regularly by his niece, Edna May Draper (nee Devonshire).

David Draper