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MS 605

Reference code

MS 605


Russell Steele archive



Administrative / Biographical history

Steele, Russell Vivyan, 1888-1959

Russell Vivyan Steele (1888-1959). M.B., B.S. (Durham) [Epsom College 1900-1905] was the son of Russell Steele, surgeon, of Reigate, Surrey, and brother of Dr Basil Lyndon Steele [Epsom College 1910-1919]. He received his medical education at University College Hospital, Newcastle and Durham University, and went into general practice at Devizes, Wiltshire (1919-1921), before taking up a practice in Regent’s Park, London. He was a Freeman of the City of London, a Yeoman of the Society of Apothecaries, and a member of the Royal United Services. He was also the commissioner of the St John Ambulance Brigade for the central area of London and, in 1951, was created a Knight of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem. In March 1915, Russell Steele received a commission in the R.A.M.C. and saw service in Flanders, France, and at Salonika, where he experienced trench warfare. He was an acknowledged authority on military history and military uniform. Lieutenenant Steele arrived in France on 24th April, 1915 and went to No. 3 Sationary Hospital, Rouen where he was in charge of two wards and 70 patients, many suffering from gas fumes. He then went to the 2nd Cheshire Regiment in billets on the road to Ypres 'where the sound of guns is fairly close' and on 23rd May 1915 he became the Regimental Medical Officer to the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. His Aid Post was 'a deserted farmhouse about 400 yards behind the trenches'. In June Steele was attached to the 84th Field Ambulance, then sent as a temporary Medical Officer to the 2nd King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment to a hospital near the front line. In October he was posted to an advanced Dressing Station in the cellars of the Chateau at Vermelles. In November 1915 he arrived in Alexandria and thence to Salonika. At the beginning of June 1916 Steele was admitted to to hospital in Salonika suffering from diarrhoea. He was later transferred to Imtarfa Hospital, Malta and then back to England in October 1916 where he continued treatment for dysentery, malaria and colitis. By April 1918 he has been discharged from the Army, having been treated successfully but being still too weak to serve.



Extent & medium

3 boxes, 3 certificates

Content description

Approx. 130 letters (most with envelopes) and postcards, mostly addressed to Russell Steele's mother.
Service certificates and official and service communications. Ephemera, including cards, menus, photographs, programmes, uniform buttons, badges, etc.


Kept by the Steele family.
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