Research and text by Brian Roote
Otho was born in Australia on 4 October 1899 to Frank and Edith Steed. The family went to Australia on board SS Martaban, in saloon class, with a nurse for the children, on 23 January 1895. Frank and a sister Violet were born in Australia. They returned to England and lived at 6 Tylecroft Road, Norbury. His father was an accountant who died in Croydon in 1917.
Otho went to Winterbourne School prior to admission to Selhurst Grammar (previously known as the Old Borough Grammar School for Boys) on 7 September 1912 and left on 28 July 1916. He had passed his exams with 3rd class honours and matriculated to London University. He became an apprentice Chartered Accountant with Andrew Dexter and Company in London.
Otho enlisted on 4 October 1917 on his 18th birthday and after brief training went to France where he participated in much of the heavy fighting of the final stages of the war. His division, which had not had a break for a long time, was ordered to take part in the great offensive of August 8th. Owing to heavy bombardment, ration parties were unable to connect and his unit gallantly ‘went over the top’ despite the many privations they had suffered. Otho was killed by a machine gun bullet and his body was found in Havrincourt Wood and buried nearby. It was not found and he is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial. He is on Selhurst Grammar School Roll of Honour and Croydon Roll of Honour (as published in Croydon and the Great War, edited by Ald. H. Keatley Moore, 1920) .
His effects post war were £5 5s.5d. plus War Gratuity £50 to his mother Edith.