THANKS this week Robert Montague-Woolger for these pictures and information about his wife’s relations and their war records.

Her great grandfather was JT Stephens, who was Mayor of Bridport more than once and senior partner in Hounsells.

They lived at Wanderwell, West Bay Road. He had three sons serving in the British Army during the First World War.

Lt. Sidney Thompson Stephens DCM, MC. Devonshire Regiment who was killed at Passendale on October 9, 1917 but never found.

He is honoured at the Tyne Cot cemetery in Belgium. He had previously been a Lt. Commander Royal Navy, he joined the Devonshires as a private, then Sgt. before being commissioned.

The story of his death appeared in the Bridport News on November 2, 1917.

This is what the paper said: We deeply regret to announce that the worst fears as the fate of Sec-Lieut ST Stephens, youngest son of Mr and MRs JT Stephens of Wanderwell have proved to be too true. The following letter has been received by his wife from the 9th Devons on 19.10.17: Dear Mrs Stephens, I am writing to tell you very sad news about your husband. He was wounded during the battle on the 5th October, and while being carried back by the stretcher bearers must have been hit by a shell, as they never reached the destination. I can assure you that he suffered no pain and for that we must be thankful. We all miss him much, he was so popular with everyone, and his men followed him anywhere.

His loss will not only be felt in his battalion, but also throughout his Brigade. With deep regret from myself and his brother officers.

I am Yours Sincerely ‘Methuen Noel, O.C No 4 Co.

Second-Lieut Sidney Thompson Stephens had served both in the Worcestershire and Devonshire regiments, and as a private, sergeant and officer he has been with the latter regiment at the front. He was wounded in the fighting at Loos early in 1916 and won distinctions including the DCM and the Military Cross. The official record, under which the former was earned, reads: “17810 Sergt ST Stephens, 9th Battalion Devonshire Regiment. For conspicuous gallantry. After the machine gun officer had been killed, Sergt Stephens took charge of two guns, bringing them up to the firing line. Subsequently he exhibited great bravery and resource in assisting to hold the gun trench against hostile counter-attack.

“For conspicuous gallantry during that attack when he led his platoon with the greatest courage against a strongly held point, accounting for several of the enemy with his revolver. He did not desist until wounded by a bomb.”

The second son was Major Frederick A Stephens RAMC, DSO. He was Chief Medical Officer on the first hospital ship to bring home the wounded and later Medical Officer at Queen Victoria’s Military Hospital, Netley. Major John A. Stephens TA (Dorset) was invalided out.

Their daughter Freida, married a German, who became a soldier, fighting his wife’s brothers.

It looks like from a cutting Mr Montague-Woolger emailed that he has been writing a book – Wanderwell The House of Stephens, chronicling 200 years of the history of a prominent Dorset Quaker family.