The 26th April 1943, on board the Merchant Navy ship “Empire Morn”, Raymond Steed was part of the ship’s crew working as a galley boy. His job was to assist the cook keeping the hungry ship’s crew fed. Before joining the Merchant Navy he had been a member of the 1st Newport Scout Group.
At 21:45 that night an explosion tore through the ship caused by a mine that had been left by a German U-boat two weeks before. Two days later, Raymond’s body was found in the crew accommodation.
For many year he was thought to be the youngest Allied combatant to of been killed in World War Two until Reg Earnshaw was identified.
Raymond was 14 years, 207 days old
Because Raymond’s body was found and buried in a marked grave his name is not recorded on the Merchant Navy War Memorial at Tower Hill in London. The rest of his shipmates, whose bodies were not found, are listed on the panel for “Empire Morn”.
The “Empire Morn” was a CAM ship; Catapult Aircraft Merchant. This meant, that in addition to the cargo of war supplies she carried across the sea as part of the Allied war effort, the ship also carried one fighter aircraft which was launched by the catapult. The aircraft had no way of landing back on the ship as she was not a “proper” aircraft carrier. If the aircraft had to be launched in the middle of the ocean, too far from land, the pilot would bring the aircraft back to the ship and land (ditch) on the sea close by and hope to be rescued.
- Pictures of Raymond Steed and grave stone
- Picture of “Empire Morn”
- Picture of Grandparents grave stone inscription
- Memorial unveiling
- Reginald Earnshaw identified as youngest WW2 combatant killed