Stephen, 1872

1872 (Prestbury) – 1924 (Manchester)

Our half 1st cousin 3xremoved Stephen Pitman was born in Prestbury, Glos in 1872, the eldest child of William Pitman and Mary Ann (née Mansfield). As a child he lived with his family at the Vine Tree Inn, Prestbury.

He enlisted in the Grenadier Guards on 10th February 1888 supposedly aged 18 but actually only 15. Within 5 days, although he had displayed “good character” he had been discharged as he was deemed “not likely to become an efficient soldier”! The medical report states that he had “flat feet” and was “1/8 inch under height”

An unidentified Royal Artillery Corporal, 1890

Stephen must have been very keen to join the army, however, as only a week after his rapid discharge from the Grenadier Guards he enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery and completed 21 years service during which time he served in Malta, Gibraltar and Ceylon and was for a few years stationed at Leith Fort, Edinburgh. On discharge his character was described as “exemplary”.

For a 15 year old, Stephen sounds quite big for the time: 5’ 8” tall, weighing 140 lbs with a 34” chest. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

In June 1894 he married Jessie Harriet Baskerville in Valletta, Malta. Jessie was originally from Herefordshire and we have not yet discovered why she was in Malta.

The couple had 10 daughters and 2 sons between 1896 and 1910 including 2 sets of twins and one set of triplets. His wife presumably travelled with the regiment at times as 6 of the children were born abroad.

On leaving the army, Stephen lived in the Manchester area and was employed by the South Manchester Guardians as a relieving officer.

He died in 1924 aged 52.

Jessie Harriett Baskerville     17 June 1894    Valletta, Malta

Catherine Elizabeth Ella    1896 – 1897
Edith                                     1897 – 1976
Gladys Muriel                      1898 –
Alice                                      1900 – 1964
Jessie Violet                         1901 – 1975
Aileen May                           1901 – 1902
Dorothy Mary                      1903 – 1969
Evelyn Beryl                         1905 – 1989
Stephen Ernest                    1905 – 1963
Ruby Constance                  1905 – 1905
Robert Herbert                    1910 – 1975
Winifred Marjory                 1910 – 1966

(Photograph above by kind permission of the Royal Artillery Historical Trust)