Samuel Charles Steadman enlisted into the Hampshire Regiment and served with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in early 1940 taking part in the rearguard action to defend the withdrawal to Dunkirk in late-May 1940 during the Battle for France.
After returning to the UK, he was keen to return to action and volunteered for Special Services with the new paratroop unit, No 2 Commando. He completed his training and remained with the fledgling unit as it was redesignated to 11 SAS. When in turn this was redesignated as the 1st Parachute Battalion to form part of the newly formed No 1 Parachute Brigade, Sam was appointed as the acting Company Sergeant Major for R Company.
During the Summer of 1942 he attended a refresher parachute training course at RAF Ringway.
By the beginning of Operation Torch in North Africa Sam had reverted to his substantive rank and was serving as the Platoon Sergeant in Lt Kellas' No 5 Platoon of S Company.
In November 1942 the platoon formed part of a small column which was tasked with attacking and harassing enemy lines of communication between Mateur and Sidi N'Sir. On 18 November, they mounted an ambush on an enemy column during which all the Germans were either killed or captured. Sam Steadman was later awarded the Military Medal for his actions and his citation records:
"On the morning of the 18th November 1942, an ambush was laid on the S'Nsir-Mateur road, Tunisia, to destroy a strong armoured patrol of the enemy. This patrol consisted of three eight wheeled armoured cars and three reconnaisance cars. CSM Steadman was detailed to cover the bombing party with sub machine gun fire. He followed up his officer and attacked one armoured car and scout car at close range, becoming wounded in the face and thigh. CSM Steadman showed complete disregard for his personal safety and a fine example to all ranks by his coolness and leadership under fire. His gallantry was conspicuous."
Inspite of his wounds Sam Steadman soon returned into action with the Battalion and was wounded again towards the end of the North African campaign during fighting to secure Sidi Mohd bel Kassem at the end of March 1943.
He served with the Battalion in Italy and Sicily, and was one of 10 members of the 1st Battalion to receive their Military Medal at Buckingham Palace on 28 March 1944. Sam Steadman was one of only 103 Battalion members who fought all the way through North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Although he did not follow the Battalion to Arnhem he went on to serve in Palestine before his eventual discharge to the Army Reserve.
Sam Steadman died in 1990.
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