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Name: Elezer (Eleazer) Steele Regimental Number: 415621 Rank: Private Battalion: 40th Battalion; 25th Battalion Date of Birth: April 23, 1891 Place of Birth: Northern Bay, Bay De Verde NFLD Date of Enlistment: April 12, 1915 Place of Enlistment: Yarmouth, NS Age at Enlistment: 24 Height: 5 feet 10¼ inches Complexion: Fresh Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown Marital Status: Single Trade: Miner Religion: Wesleyan Next of Kin: Alice Moores (Sister) Northern Bay, Bay De Verde Date of Death: April 27, 1916 Age at Death: 25 Cemetery: Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Belgium Grave Reference: J. 13. Commemorated on Page 167 of the First World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on April 15 and April 16 Eleazer Steele was the sister of Alice Moores (formerly Steele), of Northern Bay, Bay De Verde, Newfoundland, and the son of the late Samuel Steele. In 1911 he left Newfoundland and came to North Sydney, Cape Breton. He enlisted with the 40th Battalion and embarked Canada from Montreal on October 8, 1915 arriving in England on October 25, 1915. He was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe on November 3, 1915. On January 19, 1916 he was assigned to the 25th Battalion for service in France. On April 27, 1916,Private Steele was wounded in action and admitted to No.5 Canadian Field Ambulance were he died of his wounds. Eleazer Steele was a friend of Herbert Cunningham, also of the 40th Battalion. Following the death of Eleazer, Herbert wrote home to his sister Geneva the following letter:
Elezer Steele
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Well Geneva no doubt you have heard long ago about poor old Steele and I can tell you I feel very bad about it. He had lots of funny ways about him but we had been through so much together and he thought a lot of me too. The last time I saw him he bought me my dinner. I was broke at the time and chances looked slim of getting any dinner as they had 2000 men to feed that day. But poor old Steele has gone and it can’t be helped. I have seen quite a lot of that lately and I find the best thing is to let it pass out of your mind altogether. Geneva, quite a number of the old 40th have gone. I have had some close shaves myself but as yet, I am safe & feeling OK. Mother will have Steele’s money on her hands won’t she? Well tell her to keep it in the bank till I return and I will tell her what to do. And if anything happens to me, why use your own judgement.
Herbert Cunningham (left) Eleazer Steele (right) Photo: Courtesy of Mike Cunningham (Grandson of Herbert Cunningham)
Sources: Library and Archives Canada Canadian Virtual War Memorial Photo and letter: Mike Cunningham (Yarmouth NS)