John W Stevens 1891 – 1959
John Stevens was born on 29th May 1891 to John and Sarah Ann (née Wood), and baptised on 16th August 1891 at All Saints Church, Langton Green, with his parent’s address given as New Town. His father was a police constable. John was their fifth child of nine and the first son.
The 1901 Census showed that the family had moved to Cheriton and by 1911, they had moved again to Church Alkham. Between then and November 1913, John had moved the family yet again, this time to Shepherdswell, as his youngest son, David, is mentioned in the Shepherdswell Band of Hope. In 1915, John (senior) is described in the Dover Express as a reserve constable.
No War records have been found to date for this man. John Stevens is a common name when searching. A Dover Express report in November 1914 describes a son, George, a Dragoon, who had returned home to 6 The Terrace, son of Mr and Mrs Stevens. They are definitely John’s parents but none of their 3 sons was named George, so it is possible that this was the name by which the family knew him, to distinguish him from his father. There are records for his brother Frederick, and his younger brother, David, was still at school so this would rule them out. ‘George’ was recovering from wounds to the shoulder and lung whilst at the Front and was said to be progressing well.
There is a re-enlistment record for John William Stevens, dated from after the War, which gives some indication of his service. It would appear that he had originally enlisted on 28th June 1911. The record states that his service no. was 7816577 and that he was originally in the ‘MGC Cav’, transferring to the Royal Tank Corps on 7th June 1921. His next of kin was given as his wife, Louise Phyllis Sullivan, who he had married on 1st July 1917, and he had one child. He had seen service during WW1 in France and there is mention of him being wounded on 5th August 1915. He had a ‘very good’ character and was a sergeant on his original discharge on 27th June 1923 at Canterbury.
John and Louise had three children; a son in 1918 born in Uckfield district, a daughter born in 1922 in Lewes district, and a second son born in 1933 in Chipping Norton district. The 1939 Register gave John’s job as a Warder Air Ministry, living at 2 Wardens Quarters, D Site, RAF Malmesbury, with Louise and two children.
John died on 26th August 1959, with his address being given as The Bothy, Stanton St Quintin, near Chippenham in Wiltshire. He is buried in the churchyard of St Giles in the same village, and that his wife and daughter Phyllis were also buried there later. His probate record shows that his widow was the administrator for his effects of £120-15s.