William Steele was born in Woodbridge in Suffolk in 1882. In the 1911 Census he was living in Saxlingham Nethergate as a boarder with the Whitham Family. His occupation is shown as “Gardener/Domestic.”
He enlisted on 15th December 1915 and served as Corporal in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. He had two wound stripes – a wound stripe was awarded to officers and men who had been named in the Casualty Lists as wounded. (Order given: Army Order 204 of 6th July 1916. and applied to all wounded in any campaign from 4th August 1914.)
Army Council Instruction No. 1637 of 22 August 1916 and Army Council Instruction No. 2075 of 3 November 1916 gave further instructions as to who was to be awarded wound stripes. Suffice to say a wound stripe indicated a significant injury; “wounded – gas” and “wounded – shell shock” were both considered eligible for a wound stripe, accidental or self-inflicted wounds were not.