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Richard Samuel Steatham, with Olive,
and his mother Elizabeth Steatham
[Nee Sheldon [Nee Smith]]

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

Featured Steathams

Richard Samuel Steatham.
(23-Sep-24 to 28-Jul-44).

A summary of his life

Richard was born on Tuesday the 23rd September 1924, at 417 Darlaston Road, Walsall, and was baptised on the same day at St Johns, Pleck.

His parents were James Arthur Steatham (1874-1950) and Elizabeth [Nee Sheldon [Nee Smith]].

James Arthur Steatham was a son of Joseph Steatham (1850-1929), who was a son of Joseph Steatham (1806-1889), who was one of Robert Steatham's surviving sons.

So Richard Samuel Steatham was a Great Great Grandson of Robert Steatham.

He had two brothers and five sisters.

Richard Samuel Steatham with Olive.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

This is the photo of Richard and Olive.


Richard Samuel Steatham.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

This is the photo of Richard aged about sixteen, in his Auxiliary Fire Service uniform.


Richard Samuel Steatham.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

This is the photo that Richard's sister, Florence Emily Steatham carried in her Identity papers wallet, all through the war.

Richard Samuel Steatham's marriage.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

Richard married Olive Beckett on Tuesday the 7th March 1944, at St Johns Church, Pleck, Walsall, Staffs.

Newspaper report of his death.
His death was reported in the Walsall Observer Front Page 12th August 1944, with a photo of Richard, which said:-

Married only three months ago, the wife of Pte. Richard Samuel Steatham, who lives with her parents at 27 Bassett Street Walsall has been notified that he had fallen in action while serving in Normandy. His parents live at 417 Darlaston Road Pleck. Only 19 years of age.

Pte. Steatham joined the army in December, 1942, having been previously employed in the L.M.S. Goods Department at Darlaston. He is an old boy Hillary Street School.

An elder brother, Sapper John William Steatham, is in Italy with the Royal Engineers and has been serving abroad for about 15 months.

In addition we have mentioned. [BNA]

Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle - Saturday 12th August 1944

STEATHAM.- In loving memory of my beloved husband, Richard, killed in action B.L.A, July 1944. The shock was severe, to part with one we loved so dear.-Always in the thoughts and lovingly remembered by wife Olive, Mom and Dad Beckett and Family.

STEATHAM.- Loving memories of a dear son and brother, Richard, aged 19, killed in action, July, 1944. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him.-Sadly missed by Mom, Dad, Jack (Italy), Brothers and Sisters.

BLA British Liberation Army.

The British Liberation Army was the official name given to the British Army forces which fought on the Western Front of World War II between the Invasion of Normandy and the end of the war. Almost all BLA units were assigned to the 21st Army Group, which also included forces from other countries. Following the war the BLA was redesignated to become the British Army of the Rhine in August 1945.

Much later we see mentioned.

Birmingham Daily Gazette - 3th October 1944


...In a War Office casualty list. Casualties in Midland regiments are:

South Staffs, Regiment.- Killed: - ... R.S.Steatham...

Again much later we see mentioned.

Walsall Observer - 31st July 1948

STEATHAM.- Loving memories of our dear son and brother, Richard (South Staffs.), killed in action July 28. 1944. Years are swiftly passing, Still we never forget. In the hearts of those who loved you, Your memory lingers yet.- Mom, Dad, Brothers, Sisters.

STEATHAM.- In ever-loving memory of dear Richard, killed in action, July 28. !944. A smiling face, a heart of gold, Memories of you will never grow old.- Always remembered by Olive and all at 27.

The reference to 27, is 27 Bassett Street, Walsall, where his wife Olive lived with her parents.

Richard Samuel's Grave - straight after his death.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

Richard is the only Steatham recorded as being killed while serving in the armed forces.

His army number was 14376672, 5th Batt South Staffs Regiment, and his buried at Fontenay-Le-Pesnel, Tessel, France. - Grave Number III B 13.


The village of Fontenay-le-Pesnel lies 16 kilometers west of Caen on the main road (the D9) towards Caumont l'Evente. The cemetery is 1 kilometer south-east of the hamlet of St Martin (on the D139 to Grainville); on reaching a large memorial to the 49th (West Riding) Division, turn down the track opposite the memorial which leads directly to the cemetery.

There are particularly large numbers of graves of the South Staffordshire, East Lancashire, Royal Warwickshire Regiments, and the Durham Light Infantry. The cemetery contains 460 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

There are also fity nine German graves.

Richard Samuel's Grave - as it looks now.

Copyright 2010 - Nigel James Wright.

Historical Information:

The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. Fontenay-le-Pesnel War Cemetery contains the graves of men who died in the fighting to the west and south-west of Caen in June-July 1944.

Richard's grave marker was replaced and he now has the standard CWGC headstone.

There was another Steatham who served in the 1914-18 War, but his named was recorded incorrectly as Streatham in the CWGC records, but this now been corrected.

George Steatham (1885-1917)

George Steatham, born 1885, died in 1917. He is the only Steatham to have died while on World War I service.

Also he is the only Steatham to have is name mis-spelt (Streatham) on his gravestone!

Read more on how I contacted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to get this mistake corrected.

Richard's commemorative display in the chapel.

Copyright 2022 - Nigel James Wright.

Anniversary of Richard's death - 2022 - Stanbrook Abbey.

On the Seventy Eight year of his death we planned to re-visit his grave in Normandy, most likely for the last time.

Events arising due to covid prevented our journey, so we opted to stay at the Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, Worchester, which has incorporated into it a chapel, and commemorate his death there on Thursday the 28th July 2022.

Richard in the church.

Copyright 2023 - Nigel James Wright.

Anniversary of Richard's death - 2023 - Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia.

On the Seventy Ninth year of his death we were staying at the hotel Botanico & The Oriental Spa Garden, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain.

We commemorated his death at the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia [Pl. de la Iglesia, s/n, 38400] on Friday the 28th July 2023.

On entering we went to the small chapel on the south side of the church.

Serendipitously during our visit a funeral began, which we stayed for, and which we found quite poignant.

As we left, the Church was swiftly closed and locked, it now became apparent that the church had only been opened for the late Enrico's funeral!

Both the day of his death 28th July 1944 and the 28th July 2023 co-incidentaly fall on a Friday!

The next occurrence for this will be in 2028!

Richard in the church.

Copyright 2023 - Nigel James Wright.

Anniversary of Richard's death - 2023 - Iglesia de San Francisco.

We also commemorated his death again on Friday the 28th July 2023 at the Iglesia de San Francisco, located just off the central (and famed) Plaza Charco.

The church is tacked on to tiny Ermita de San Juan, the oldest structure in town which was built between 1599 and 1608 by the artist Juan de Texera.

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