Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of Birth1901
Place of BirthSittingbourne, Kent
Marital StatusSingle
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number149978
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentCanterbury, Kent, England
Date of EnlistmentOctober 2, 1917
Age at Enlistment16
Theatre of ServiceIndia, Egypt, North Africa, UK, Europe
Prisoner of WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 28, 1975
Age at Death74
Buried AtQueen's Park Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta
PlotSection P, Block 08, Plot 037

Steers, Edwin Albert

Warrant Officer Edwin Albert Steers enlisted in the Royal Air Force in October 1917, at age 16, and went on to have a thirty year career in the military. After his service ended in 1947 he immigrated to Canada.

Edwin was born in 1901 in Sittingbourne, Kent, England. His parents, Alfred Steers and Elizabeth Nix, were both born in Kent, Alfred in Sittingbourne and Elizabeth in Lynsted. They were married in Borden, Kent in 1898 and they raised three children: Emily Florence (b.1899), Edwin (b.1901) and Grace Mildred (b.1902). Another child died as an infant. Alfred served with the 17th Royal Lancers in the South African War and he was away in service when the 1901 census was taken. Elizabeth and the children were living in Sittingbourne at the time.

When the next census was taken in 1911 Edwin was staying in Sittingbourne with his widowed grandmother, Charlotte Steers. His father and sisters were living in nearby Milton Regis where Alfred was working as a mason’s labourer. Alfred enlisted again during the First World War and served with the 59th Protection Company in the Royal Defence Corps. He died in an accident on 5 April 1917, at age 49, and he’s buried in SS Peter and Paul’s Churchyard in Borden, Kent. He has a military grave marker and he’s commemorated on the Borden War Memorial. His brother Albert Edward was killed in action later the same year and he’s also commemorated on the Borden War Memorial.

Edwin enlisted in Canterbury, Kent on 2 October 1917, at age 16, signing up with the Royal Air Force. He went on to have a thirty year career in the RAF, earning the rank of Warrant Officer. He served in the UK, Egypt, India and North Africa and through both World Wars. Edwin was married in 1925 in Whitehaven, Cumberland County. His wife, Amy O’Neil, was born in Whitehaven in 1899. Her parents were George and Helena O’Neil and she had five brothers and sisters. In the early 1930s Edwin and Amy were living in military quarters in Surrey. They had one son, Edwin Jr. (Ted), who was born in 1937. In the late 1930s Edwin was serving in India and Amy was living with her brother in Whitehaven.

Edwin was discharged from the RAF in Finningley, Yorkshire on 2 October 1947, exactly thirty years after he enlisted. His service medals included: Indian General Service, Battle of Britain, North Africa Star, the Victory Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

Edwin and Amy immigrated to Canada in November 1947, sailing from Southampton on the SS Aquitania and arriving in Halifax in early December. For the next 25 years they made their home in Keewatin, Ontario, where Edwin worked as a mechanic. They moved to Calgary in 1972 and Edwin passed away three years later, on 28 November 1975. In her later years Amy lived in the Mayfair Nursing Home. She died on 18 November 1988. Edwin and Amy are both buried in Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary.

By Becky Johnson

Grave marker photo courtesy of SLW,