For those who remained on the Home Front, the newspaper was a key source of information on the fighting that was taking place during the First World War. The loss of life was regularly reported through local newspapers – such as The Richmond and Twickenham Times, and the Surrey Comet. Becoming increasingly more familiar as the war continued, these rolls indicate the impact of the war on the people of Richmond. The reports, though short, are often moving examples of losses.
On October 30th, 1915, the Surrey Comet reported on the death of a Teddington man. Whilst leading his men into action at the Battle of Loos, Co. Sergeant Major Alfred James Stephens of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed. A former Sunday School teacher, and aged just 30 years old, Stephens had joined the army in 1907. He had lived in Teddington his whole life.
In his last letter to his family, Stephens wrote:
“If I do go under, do not worry but be proud of me, for I shall die fighting for my King and Country.”