Service: 88th Squadron Royal Air Force
Service no: TR/10/2533
Date and place of birth: 29 August 1898 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 14 August 1918
Arthur Roy Stedman was baptised at Midhurst Parish Church on 9 October 1898 and was the third son of Richard George and Augusta Helena Sarah Stedman. Augusta Marshall, born in Rustington, Sussex, in 1855 and Richard Stedman, born in Midhurst, also in 1855 had married in Portsea Island in 1885.
Richard Stedman, the son of a watchmaker in Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst was, in 1881, living at 45 High Street, South Bersted, Bognor, Sussex and working there as an assistant to Daniel Parson, a linen and woollen draper.
In 1901 Richard Stedman was a draper shopkeeper at North Street, Midhurst. Living there with him were Augusta and their three sons: Archibald George (14), Percy Richard M (12) and Arthur Roy (2).
By 1911 Richard’s draper’s shop had moved to West Street, Midhurst with Augusta and Archibald assisting in the business. Percy was a bank clerk living at a boarding house in Hove, Sussex. Arthur was at school.
Midhurst Grammar School Pupil Admissions 1903 – 1916 records Arthur Stedman being admitted on 17 January 1907. Prior to this he had attended Miss Challen’s private school. During his time at the grammar school he took the Oxford junior and senior examinations. He left on 27 July 1915 to become a bank clerk.
From 1 November 1915 until 31 December 1916 Arthur was employed as a bank clerk by London County and Westminster Bank, 21 Lombard Street, London EC.
Arthur Stedman became a cadet on 4 July 1917 and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 11 October 1917.
The 88th Squadron was formed in Gosport, Hampshire in July 1917 as a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Squadron using Bristol F-2 fighters. It moved to France in April 1918 and undertook fighter-reconnaissance duties.
It was also involved in the development of air-to-air wireless telegraphy and participated in numerous bombing raids. Despite its short service at the Front, the squadron claimed 147 victories. It was disbanded in 1919.
He was reported missing 14 August 1918 (GHQ report no. 137) This was later amended to ‘death having occurred on or since’.
His records indicate special qualifications in having flown four different aeroplanes since joining the RFC: the Maurice Farman Short Horn, made in France, the BE2E and the REB, made at the Royal Air Factory, and the De Havilland 6, made by Airco.
Arthur Roy Stedman was awarded Victory and British medals.
Death and commemoration
He died 14 August 1918. He is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and the Board in Midhurst Rother College.
Subsequent family history
The Memorial Panels in the church list both brothers, Archibald (1886-1945) and Percy (1889-1929), as having served in the war.
Kelly’s Sussex Directory (1930) records that Archibald Stedman was a grocer in West Street, Midhurst.