Benjamin Steven

Benjamin Steven

Private Benjamin Steven of the Seaforth Highlanders was born in Caithness in 1881, the son of John Steven, a farmer at Stemster in Bower parish, and his wife Elizabeth. He had two older brothers, James and Alexander.

In due course he moved to Wick, where he appears to have found work as a labourer. By the time of the Great War he was married to Helen Cooper, with whom he had five children, and was working for the Prudential Assurance Company in the town.

Private Steven’s service record hasn’t survived, and other than the fact that he served initially in the Royal Defence Corps before joining the Seaforths on active service, nothing more is known until his death on 9 April 1917, near the town of Arras in Northern France.

It is likely that he died during the Highlanders‘ advance on the first day of the Battle of Arras, which was to last over five weeks. Private Steven was one of over 285,000 casualties from all sides, who died over the course of the battle. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his rank as Lance Corporal, which may have been a temporary promotion. He is buried in the Highland Cemetery at Roclincourt near the town of Arras.

[Text © High Life Highland; image © Caithness Archive Service]

Private Benjamin Steven, Seaforth Highlanders.
Private Benjamin Steven, Seaforth Highlanders.