Family Story contributed by Anne Hughes, granddaughter of Edward Steer
Edward Steer was born at ‘Bleak Cottages’, Anthonys, near Woking but lived in West Byfleet for most of his life. His army service record states that he had special skills in carpentry.
He kept a diary throughout his time with the military in the war; this provides a great amount of detail into his movements and insights into his experiences. At the time of his attestation on 24 September 1915, Edward was living at 1 Blenheim Cottages, West Byfleet; he joined the 1st London Divisional, Royal Engineers, with whom he trained in Britain from September 1915 until 8 April 1916, when he left for active service on the Western Front.
His war diary shows exactly which dugouts he was in, close shaves with enemy snipers, and who he wrote to and received letters from (including disappointment on 16 August 1916 that he had received no letters). His war was ended by wounds he received on 12 April 1917 at Warkencourt. He was transported home to Britain, where he spent time in Shorncliffe, Beckley and Eastbourne (the latter of which he spent 26 July to 5 September 1917). He reported back at Esher on 14 September 1917 and was officially discharged.