A family tribute

Alister & Steve

Alister Stewart (left) and his brother Steve in 1936/7

In 2016, Malcolm Stewart, son of King’s alumnus Alister Stewart, found himself honouring not one but two King’s alumni. Malcolm was administering his father Alister’s will, which included a legacy in memory of his uncle who was killed in active service during World War II.

Malcolm’s uncle Robert Young Stevenson Stewart was known as ‘Steve’. He gained a double first at King’s, with BA Honours in both French (1938) and English (1940). After King’s, Steve enrolled in the British Army, serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Signal Corps during World War II. His regiment was attached to the Indian Signal Corps, and in 1942 Steve was killed in a bombing raid at Imphal, close to the India-Burma border. Steve was a brilliant scholar, as his ‘double first’ attests. During his war service he sketched as a way to relax, drawing the camp, planes and landscapes in and around Imphal. He is commemorated in the engraved War Memorial on the west doors of the King’s Chapel.

Malcolm’s father Alister also served in the RAF during the war, and went to King’s in 1946, following in the steps of his elder brother. Alister studied English at King’s between 1946 and 1948. After his studies, Alister worked in Customs and Excise and later became a VAT inspector with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

Alister and Steve Sketch

One of Steve’s wartime sketches

Alister enjoyed reading the classics - Shakespeare and Dickens in particular. He was also a really keen gardener and would keep meticulous records about each season’s crops. His meticulous planning – plus a little tax knowledge – came in very useful when Alister began to arrange his will. He wanted to commemorate his brother in a special way and he was able to leave a very generous legacy to King’s, in memory of Steve.

Malcolm said, ‘The legacy is really my father’s tribute to his older brother, whom he always looked up to. He felt a legacy to King’s was a really good way of honouring Steve, and keeping his memory alive. In a way, the legacy links Steve’s scholarship and my father’s interest in English together, as a portion of his gift will help to provide bursaries for Arts & Humanities students from disadvantaged backgrounds.’

If you have a special connection with King’s that you would like to recognise with a gift in your will, please contact our Legacy Team.