Stephen Ernest (Steve) SAMPSON

SAMPSON, Stephen Ernest

Service Number: 6856
Enlisted: 2 November 1916, Newcastle, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 37th Infantry Battalion
Born: Nerrandera, New South Wales, Australia, 5 May 1898
Home Town: Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, New South Wales
Schooling: Kurri Kurri Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Mine wheeler
Died: Shrapnel to abdomen, Mericourt, France, 4 April 1918, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Vignacourt British Cemetery, Picardie
Plot I, Row A, Grave No. 2
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kurri Kurri War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

2 Nov 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 6856, Newcastle, New South Wales
17 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6856, 8th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: SS Port Napier embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
17 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 6856, 8th Infantry Battalion, SS Port Napier, Sydney
18 Jun 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 37th Infantry Battalion
12 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 6856, 37th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, GSW (finger)
4 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6856, 37th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 6856 awm_unit: 37th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1918-04-04

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Biography contributed by Kerrie-Gai Bennett

Steve was the eldest child of Sydney and Sarah Amy Sampson, was born on the 5th May, 1898 in Nerrander, NSW. Sydney was a widower with a son, Henry, who remained with his maternal grandparents.

Steves brothers Mervyn and Percy followed and by 1903 the family had settled in the newly designated town of Kurri kurri in the Hunter Valley coal fields. This was the 1st town that was planned and then built in Australia, thus the name, Kurri Kurri, an aboriginal word meaning "the very first." although a saddler by trade Steve's father build several homes, opened a Plumbing shop in the main street, with a home behind where the family lived, made products such as buckets etc to sell and was a member of the progress committe, being involved in having much of the towns infastructure erected and helping build Fire Station, Public School raising money for a hospital etc. 

In 1906 his sister Lyla was born and hin 1910 his sister Gwendolyn. Soon after the family was in crisis when the Sydney left his family and moved to Wyong with the nurse they had engaged to care for Gwen and  Sarah. Although this relationship did not last the parents never reconsiled and the children never saw their father again. 

Sarah sold the shop and gradually the other homes to support herself and the children. She also took in sewing. 

By the time Steve was 14 he was working at Aberdare Coal Mine as a wheeler to help support his family. His siblings remeber as a very loving brother who was very determined and took on responsibility of being the man of the house.

A relative who worked with friends of Steve, may years later, said the sppoke of him with fondness and of his being a hard worker. One was given a tin by Steve to keep until he came home. He never opened it but kept it for his entire life. Only hearing of it in last couple of years, we were very disappointed as he was a neighbour and we never knew he was Steve's close friend.

In March 1916 his materal Uncle from Victoria, PTe James Walton Lewis died in Alexandria, Egypt from scarlet fever having just recovered from wounds he had received in the battle for Lone Pine, Galipolli, Turkey.

Knowing this and possibly due to the pay rates in the Army, he attempted to join the AIF. He was refused, but persisted and was enlisted on 2nd November, 1916 and embarked on the "Port Napier" in Sydney on 7th November, 1916.

Steve had bronchial problems from arrival in England, and did suffer various illnesses during his time in England, then France, including a gun shot wound which had him returned to England for a couple of months.

No correspondence remains, and his effects were lost when the ship carrying them to Australia was sunk.

His nephews and neices were told that he had met a girl in England and was hoping to marry her after the war. We all hope that this is true and he had some real happiness. 

Steve was wounded on 4th April, 1918. According to the CO's War Diary for the 37th battalion, the battalion was spread between Heilly, Dernancout and Mericourt on that day and reports heavy shelling. Steve had severe shrapanel wounds to the abdomen, was sent to the Clearing Station at Vignacout, where he died and has the second garve in this cemetery. 

We are greatful that the wonderful people of Vignacourt continue to honour those buried here and the promise that the children of this town would tend the graves is still honoured today. Uniquly a life size statue of a French soldier watches over the graves here


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Today, it is with very deep respect but also with gratitude that I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 6856 Stephen Ernest Sampson who was killed in action here in the Somme 102 years ago, on April 4, 1918 at the age of 19.🌺

Stephen Ernest Sampson was born on May 5, 1898 in Narrandera, New South Wales, and he was the son of Sydney and Sarah Amy Sampson and they lived in Brunker Street, Kurri Kurri, New South Wales. At the age of 14, Stephen started working at Aberdare Coal Mine as a wheeler until the age of 18.

Enlisted on October 31, 1916 in the 8th Australian infantry battalion, he embarked with his unit on November 17, 1916 in Sydney, New South Wales at the age of 18 aboard the HMAT SS Port Napier. Stephen received his training in England then he embarked for France and the Somme front and was transferred to the 37th Australian infantry battalion.

Stephen suffered from bronchial problems in France and he was wounded a first time and returned to England for a few months before returning to the Somme front but he was wounded a second time on April 4, 1918.According to the CO's War Diary for the 37th battalion, the battalion was spread between Heilly, Dernancout and Mericourt on that day and reports heavy shelling. Stephen had severe shrapnel wounds to the abdomen and was sent to the Clearing Station at Vignacout where he died a few hours later at the age of 19.  Age stated to be 21.4 on Attestation Form.

Today, Stephen Ernest Sampson rests in peace at the Vignacourt British Cemetery, Somme.

Thank you Stephen, it is with great respect that I want to say thank you, thanks to you we live in a peaceful world, your sacrifice and your courage is a source of inspiration for me and the Somme and the French people who live here will never forget you and we will always be there to take care of your memory, your history, the people of france will always be united with australia and the australian people, gathered around you. You have forged this friendship in the courage, in the camaraderie, in the blood that you shed for us, we owe you so much.Thank you Sir, with all my heart, with respect and with gratitude.At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him, we will remember them🌺