Alexander Peder Steel
Extra Regimental Conductor (Warrant Officer 1st Class)
Serial No. 1315
20th Battalion & 2nd Australian Division Ordnance Corps
Alexander Peder Steel - Information
Alexander's father, English immigrant Robert Alexander Steel, was a Presbyterian Minister. He came to serve in Campbelltown at St David's Church from 1897 to 1916. Robert was assigned to the area from St Stephens in Queanbeyan, where Alexander was born in 1888. Robert had asked for a change after his wife, Amy, passed away in 1897. In Campbelltown, Robert and his children resided at The Manse, next to his church. Robert then re-married Elizabeth Innes Wood at St David's on the 5th of October 1898. Alexander grew up in the area and acquired gainful employment as the Manager of the Government Savings Bank. Just before the nation's 'baptism of fire' at Gallipoli, Alexander decided to enlist in the AIF, joining up in Liverpool on the 29th of March 1915, aged 26. Completing his training, he was designated to the 20th Battalion as a Private. He then embarked Sydney onboard the HMAT Berrima on the 25th of June 1915.
Alexander set down in Alexandria, Egypt and joined his 20th Battalion at Gallipoli in late August. After the Gallipoli Campaign was called off, Alexander and his mates were stationed back to Egypt in early January 1916. Then after further training, they were sent to France in March. The following month, Alexander was transferred to the 2nd Australian Division Ordnance Corps, where he was promoted to Corporal in May. At this time, Alexander's Uncle, H. Peden Steel, who was a solicitor at 8 Eldon Chambers on 92 Pitt Street, began writing the army regarding some terrible news. Sadly, Alexander's father had become very ill, and after the family relocated to Burwood, he passed away on the 9th of May 1916. Unfortunately, although informed that his father had passed away, Alexander had to just carry on with his military duty. Determined to make his father proud, he was promoted to Sergeant in late August, and made Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (WOII) at Rouen in April 1917. In February 1918, he was taken on strength to the Army Ordnance Corps. He was then appointed Acting Sub Conductor (WOI), and on the same day was promoted to ER/Conductor (WOI). Alexander survived the war and continued to serve on details into 1919. He was sent home to Australia in July 1919 and was discharged from military service in November.