Looking for information about 2195960 William John STEPHEN, 72 Field Coy., RE: 06/03/1945

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Patte62, Jul 27, 2021.

  1. Patte62

    Patte62 Member

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    We're looking for more information about Private William John Stephen, Regimental Number 2195960, served with the Royal Engineers (72nd Field Coy) and died March 6th 1945, age 38, killed in action in the Netherlands near Maasbree. William John Stephen was the son of Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Stephen and husband of Mary Cox Stephen, of Perth. He is buried @ Venray War Cemetery in the Netherlands. Any information is welcome about William John like War Diaries, Personal Information, Photos or Relatives whome may be contacted. This research is in purpose of making a commemoration book with all kind of information about the Soldiers who are buried in Venray War Cemetery later on.

    Many thanks in advance

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  2. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member

    2195960 Dvr. William John Stephen
    K.I.A. 06.03.1945

    Extract from:
    A Sapper’s Story: My WW2 with 72nd Field Company, R.E.
    Part 2 by Bemerton Local History Society

    5th March, 1945. Our next destination was Venlo. I went with an advance party of six men in a half-track vehicle, driven by Billy Stephen, Sergeant Everleigh was in charge of our party. Our task was to find a ‘harbour area’ for our Company who were due to follow the next day or so. We found an area with some empty houses that we thought suitable. It was here at Venlo that we built the largest Bailey Pontoon Bridge we were ever to attempt: a class 70 bridge over the River Maas.

    The next day Billy Stephen drove his half-track from our harbour area to the main road. To reach it he had to drive through the nearby field. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that the field had been mined. Billy’s front wheel went over one mine. He was killed immediately. The vehicle caught fire, burning it and him, or what was left of him. We later reached the remains of the vehicle and removed his charred body. We wrapped poor Billy in a sheet and put him in a chicken house overnight. The next day we put him into a 3-ton truck and took him to a temporary graveyard behind a public house in Venlo. We dug the grave and held a service before we buried him. It was a nasty and very sad experience, and one that I shall never forget.
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  3. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member


    Where can I get a copy of, `A Sapper Story: My WW2 with 72nd Field Company, R.E.?
  4. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member


    Following the request of JohnS for a copy of, "A Sapper’s Story - My WW2 with 72 Field Company R.E."

    I found the website again and read the complete story. The author states that he and Dvr. William John Stephen were in the army together for 6 years. So from the beginning of this story to the moment of William's tragic death, the author and William share the same military history, witness the same events and build the same bridges.

    Hope you find this story useful.
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  5. Patte62

    Patte62 Member

    Thanks David, that's great news and important background information, many thanks
  6. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    Thank you David!

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