England (Counties as in 1851-1901) => England => Lancashire => Topic started by: liverpool annie on Monday 15 October 07 05:19 BST (UK)

Title: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Monday 15 October 07 05:19 BST (UK)

Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)

First of all here is the the summary of Robert William Stead

Robert William Stead was born March 22nd 1896 in West Derby Liverpool - the son of William Harley ( Master Mariner ) and Emily ( nee Richards ) Stead and lived at Watford Road Anfield Liverpool

Robert's sister Nora May Stead married George Galloway Dobell at St Andrew West Kirby in 1926 ...

His mother's sister Alice Richards married Miller Crease - who was a music seller in 1901 census ( The Dobell and Crease families are very much a part of his family tree - as well as the families - Richards Keay Butterworth)

Robert William Stead was 17 years and 5 months old when he attested to join the army for 4 years in Liverpool  on 25  August 1913 He gave his address as    Watford Road Anfield Liverpool the home of his father William Harley Stead  who he gave as next of kin and later identified as a Master Mariner  Robert  who was a single man, identified his birthplace as Liverpool Lancashire  - his current occupation as a bank clerk at Parr's Bank Liverpool  and his religion as Church of England.
He returned  the next day, for a medical examination. This revealed that he stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 10st 9lbs  and had a chest measurement of 35 inches.

He was accepted into 6th Rifle battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment

Once in the Army - Robert William Stead became a number – 1466   to begin with - he faced a couple of months worth of drill square bashing and weapons training - in order to turn him from a bank clerk to soldier .......  Private Stead 's unit first entered the theatre of war in France in February 1915  and he was promoted to L/Cpl 28th August 1915

Yet Robert given his intelligence - was not the sort of man to remain an infantry soldier for long - in fact he was the perfect sort of person to become a member of the newly created Machine Gun Corps.

Robert William Stead # 22397 attested  20th February 1916  with 165 Brigade MGC and was promoted A/Cpl 29th March 1916 - he was sent to the Machine Gun training centre at Grantham back in England   - here he familiarised himself with the workings and complexities of the Vickers .303  and heavy machine    guns

He became a team player – each gun was ideally manned by a crew of eight  - four men were involved in the actual firing and the other four responsible for sighting and the preparation and the bringing up of ammunition - crews in the field normally numbered six - simply because of the shortage of men.

The course only lasted approximately 6 weeks due to the intense demand for gunners.  Thus Robert really only had basic training in the complexities of machine-gun warfare.  

( The targets of every enemy weapon - members of the MGC were also called the Suicide Squad )  He rose through the ranks and was promoted  to Second    Lieutentant

Robert was wounded in the chest and thigh in August 1916 while in Abbeville and was released from the Army 20th March 1919

Coming home after the war he married Elizabeth Neil Grant in 1921 at St Simon and St  Judes Church Liverpool and they moved to Gateacre .... tragically they were only married 5 years as Robert William Stead died in 1926 in Gateacre
The Quest  
It all started when I got this email from France from my Friend Michel ( who I had done research with on another Forum - he only asked me because my name was Liverpool Annie !!  :) )


25 years ago, when I was General Secretary of the town hall of LA COUTURE, a village between ARMENTIERES and BETHUNE, just on the western front, I found, among old coins and a button of british trench coat, a piece of metal engraved in english.

Since that day, I search in the british cemeteries of my sector the grave of the man (there are many of them near my home)

In fact, with help of members of the forum and of a new friend from minnesota one day I see I mistaked, the man survived the conflict an go back alive at home inAnfield Liverpool

The memory of this men, that I do not know haunt my spirit, my best wish is to restore the wrist tag to his descent, if it exist, that is very very important for me.

Of course, no money in this history, just to be in peace with my soul, this medal is not mine, it must go back in his real place

A picture of the tag is on the first page of the original thread

Title: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre) part 2
Post by: liverpool annie on Monday 15 October 07 05:22 BST (UK)

Because I talk to much ..... I have to cut this post in two ..........  ;D


Objectives of the Quest

Ultimate - To return the tag to family who will appreciate it - obviously Michel would like it to be a  nearest living relative of Robert or the wider family - who will ensure it is kept treasured in the family heirloom box
Nice - It would be nice to actually make contact with family - this may come about by making at first -  contact with anyone who knew any of his wife - his sister - his cousins - even a friend of the family may help - as they may be able to suggest the next forward contact to try

We have found living relatives .... emails sent ....... fingers crossed !!
Wonderful - To make contact with family who have a photograph of Robert that they would be willing to share with Michel  - who has guarded his Tag with such passion honour and dignity all these years ( and hopefully share with RootsChat too ! )
AND hopefully in an Army Uniform to make Annie over the moon !!!  ;D

This topic is a Summary of what has gone before in a now locked topic here:,206958.0.html
This topic you are reading now is also locked - so as to keep it concise and easily digested by anyone who may research our subject and find it  in an internet search.
If you have any information on Robert or his family please don't hesitate -  Send me a Private message (PM)
Once again - the " Original Topic "
( health warning - 44 pages long - not for the faint hearted ),206958.0.html
Thank you so much  to everyone who has so far helped with our Quest !
I hope we can continue and can bring about a resolution to provide a final resting place for "the Tag" and reunite it with the brave soldier who wore it.

I'll post a research co-ordination  topic - which will outline what is currently been looked into and asking for any other help needed
And that  topic will be linked to this one !,261935.0.html
Title: Re: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Wednesday 17 October 07 04:41 BST (UK)
This is not a hard and fast ruling since I have not consulted with any of the other mods, but I'm OK with a marriage in 1915.  Heaven knows what metal or gemstone anniversary they' be celebrating now!      Marriage in 1925 is also probably OK, but the children of such a marriages are probably different.  I tend to think of when my parents were born (soon after 1925) and they are still alive.

So I'd suggest that it's OK for someone to say that they have found some children, but not give any details of names, years or places in public.


1. Checking  Archived newspapers (Echo? Post?) for a death notice for Robert 1926.
Object -  May reveal his resting place or the name of a Funeral Director.

From Gateacre 17 Oct Liverpool Record Office have acknowledged my E mail for the  newspaper burial notice of Robert - no answer yet

2.  Reiver is following up the STEAD  family - the ( probable ) mother, Aunts and Uncles of Robert W STEAD's father - to see if any of them can lead foreward
Title: Re: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Wednesday 17 October 07 04:45 BST (UK)


This from gateacre - 
two graveyards of St. Helen's church in Sefton and St. Luke's churchyard in Crosby where the indexes were searched by the librarian at Crosby library. NOT THERE
Roman Catholic cemetery at Ford or Ince Blundall NOT THERE

Dawns Cemetery Summary:


ST JAMES'S CEMETERY, Upper Duke Street

ST MARY'S CEMETERY, Walton rd, Kirkdale (Opened 1837, closed for Interments)


WALTON CEMETERY, (Parish of Liverpool), Rawcliffe road, Rice Lane, Walton

CEMETERY, Smithdown Road, Toxteth Park NOT THERE


JEWS' BURYING GROUND, Deane Road, Kensington and Green Lane, Stoneycroft


WEST DERBY CEMETERY, Lower House lane, West Derby NOT THERE

BIRKENHEAD CEMETERY, Flaybrick Hill, Tollemache Road, Birkenhead



n.b. Charge £22 for a look-up! if nothing else turns up I may turn innocent of that fact and phone them to see if he's there (unless someone else volunteers). They do have a war graves section, don't know if Robert is eligible though . Up date by Dawn 15 Oct - NOT THERE

This from Liverpool Annie

I went through every single one of them NOT THERE
Note: Also  need to list  who is being looked for ....  Just Robert ? Or any of them ?
Title: Re: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Wednesday 17 October 07 04:48 BST (UK)


Please, Rootschatters in Local Liverpool/Birkenhead or anywhere !

1. Someone to follow up on the Bank Records of Robert W STEAD's employer:

Mair found this that somebody may like to have a "go" at ... she thought maybe fresh eyes may see something ! !

I have found Parrs Bank Staff archive.  Royal Bank of Scotland have them now - its a long long story NatWest Bank plc are now wholly owned by the rbs group for those interested and I was getting really excited that I found the home of the archive. Then the blow came......not covered by the dates we wanted.  There are note books of this and of that but staff records are either side of the years that would be any good.
Another thing one could try but its a weak one is to just contact the archive and see if anything does come of it.  Normally though they do not let personnel records out to anyone than a descendant of the family.

2. Someone to check Archived Newspapers for death notice for Nora 1981
Object - May reveal names of kin or any person who is still listed in Liverpool/Birkenhead areas.
3. Someone to ring T A BALL Funeral Director to see if they hold record for Nora and if they will divulge.
Object - May reveal names of kin or any person who is still listed in Liverpool/Birkenhead areas.

Title: Re: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Wednesday 17 October 07 04:49 BST (UK)


The more the merrier!
If you can help ....... say you are taking it on  ( to avoid doubling up of effort ! )
If you have any suggestions or ideas at all
If you want to post your findings  this topic is - as was always intended - Open!

But please be sensitive as to what may be considered private information or what may encroach on privacy of living individuals.  

Remember ShaunJ's website can receive information that is more private - his website is intended as a tool for us all  - while at the same time respecting privacy as I explained.
Title: Re: Robert William STEAD (1896 West Derby -1926 Gateacre)
Post by: liverpool annie on Wednesday 17 October 07 04:51 BST (UK)


1. Book of Rememberence in Thornton Crematorium for Elizabeth Grant NEIL later STEAD, later HURST: died 1990 - DEAD END

From a person who does not wish to be credited

Firstly, the Book of Remembrance at Thornton will NOT have any mention of next of kin or any other names which might be connected with the family.  This information  came from the cemetery staff themselves.
also the funeral of Elizabeth Neil Hurst was arranged by Solicitors Goldreins.  I note that this company was previously investigated and found to be closed, however no further help could be expected from them anyway since it has now been confirmed that the cremation was arranged on behalf of the beneficiary of the Will