The son of Frederick Steane and Susan Baker, Tom was born in Oxford in 1882. In 1901 he was living with his widowed mother at 14 Holywell Street, Oxford, along with his brothers Herbert, Arthur and Frank, and sisters Mary, Kate and Lucy. He was an assistant school teacher. In 1910, he became an assistant school master at Wolverhampton Grammar School, and he was living at the School House in Compton Road in 1911. In 1912, he left the Grammar School to take up a modern language position at Hymer’s College in Hull. Whilst at the Grammar school he obtained a commission in the school Officer Training Corps, which he continued at Hull.
In September 1914, he enlisted with the 10th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment as a Captain, but he was killed in action 1 July 1916. According to an article in the Midland Counties Express on 23 December 1916, he “won the warm approval of his superior officers, and his colonel stated that he was ‘the best type of British officer, his first thoughts always being for his men; they thought the world of him’.” He is buried at Bapaume Post Military Cemetery, Albert, France, and the words inscribed over his grave are “Res non verba”.