Service Number: 2025
Enlisted: 22 January 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Infantry Battalion
Born: Galston, Scotland, August 1889
Home Town: Forbes, Forbes, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Hand
Died: Died of wounds received at Pozieres, Reading War Hospital, Reading, England, United Kingdom, 31 July 1916
Cemetery: Cumnock New Cemetery, Ayrshire, Scotland
Section A, Grave No. 2440,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

22 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1
25 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT A40 Ceramic
23 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 2025, 1st Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , DoW, multiple GSW left arm (severe), right foot and knee, right cheek and hand. left arm amputated Reading
31 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2025, 1st Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 2025 awm_unit: 1 Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1916-07-31

Help us honour John Steele's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Galston (Lowland Scots: Gauston, Scottish Gaelic: Baile nan Gall) is a municipality in East Ayrshire, Scotland and is at the heart of the civil parish of the same name. It is situated in wooded countryside 4 miles up-river from Kilmarnock and is one a group of the small towns located in the Irvine Valley between the towns of Hurlford and Newmilns.

Next of kin-Father, Robert Steele, Town Head Street, Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

1st Battalion, 5th Reinforcement

Enlistment date 22 January 1915

He embarked at age 25 from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 25 June 1915.

Wounded in France-GSW forearm and right knee-arm amputated.

Deaths Sep 1916   Steele John 27 Reading 2c 401



Biography contributed by Cathy Sedgwick

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick (OAM) – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland”

John Steel(e) was born at Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland around 1889 to parents Robert & Jessie Steele (nee Young).

Jessie Steel, mother of John Steele, died on 15th March, 1899 at Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 22nd January, 1915 as a 25 year old, single, Farm Hand from Glebe Hotel, Forbes, NSW. 

(Note: The Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial has the surname recorded as Steele, the Embarkation Roll at the Australian War Memorial has the surname as Steel.)

(There are 2 copies of Attestation Papers - one in the name of John Steel & the other with the “E” added – John Steele. On the first Attestation Paper for John Steel there are 2 signatures – John Steele & John Steel) 

Private John Steel, Service number 2025, embarked from Sydney, NSW on HMAT Ceramic (A40) on 25th June, 1915 with the 1st Infantry Battalion, 5th Reinforcements.

He joined 1st Battalion at Gallipoli on 5th August, 1915.

Private Steel(e) disembarked at Alexandria from HMT Huntsgreen on 28th December, 1915 (after evacuation of Gallipoli).

On 31st January, 1916 Private Steel(e) was written up for a Crime while posted at Tel-el-Kebir – “Overstaying leave from 11 pm 28-1-16 to 10 pm 29-1-16.” He was awarded 7 days C.B. (confined to Barracks) & forfeited 2 days’ pay.

He proceeded to join B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) from Alexandria on 22nd March, 1916 on HMT Ivernia. He disembarked at Marseilles, France on 28th March, 1916.


Private John Steel(e) was wounded in action in France 22/25th July, 1916. (date as recorded on Casualty Form – Active Service). He was admitted to No. 1 Field Ambulance on 23rd July, 1916 with GSW (gunshot wound/s) to left Arm, right Foot, right Knee, right Cheek and Hand. Private Steel(e) was transferred to 6th Motor Ambulance Convoy on 23rd July, 1916 & admitted to No. 6 General Hospital at Rouen, France on 24th July, 1916 with GSW – multiple. He was transferred to England on 26th July, 1916 on Hospital Ship St. George with GSW to forearm and right knee.

According to the War Diary of 1st Battalion – they were at Contalmaison from 20th – 23rd July, 1916 then Pozieres from 17.30 hrs on 23rd July, 1916 to 25th July, 1916.

On 27th July, 1916 Private Steel(e) was admitted to Reading War Hospital, Reading, England with G.S.W. (gunshot wound/s) to arm – severe. He was reported as seriously ill on 31st July, 1916.


Private John Steel(e) died on 31st July, 1916 at No. 1 Reading War Hospital, Reading, England from wounds received in action in France – G.S.W. Arm (Amputated).

The Hospital Admissions form has the following details: “Admitted with large foul wound on back of forearm destroying all muscles. Arm greatly swollen and oedematous, oedema extending down chest. Gas could be seen bubbling out of the wound. Wound was received 5 days before admission. Circular amputation through upper third of arm, and incisions in chest. Slight temporary improvement resulted; but later the amputation stump became tense & swollen & general condition steadily became worse and pt. died in a state of collapse.”

He was buried in Cumnock New Cemetery, Ayrshire, Scotland.


(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)