Ernest Stokes

Name Ernest Stokes
Corps Northamptonshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Rank Private
Service No. 16317
Date / Place of entry 9 November 1914 Kettering
Date of death 10-14 March 1915 aged 38 Killed in Action
Memorial/ Grave Panel 28-30 Le Touret Memorial

Ernest Stokes was born in Drayton in 1880, the eldest son of Henry Stokes and Julia Ann nee Claypole.  The Stokes  were a long established family group there and several other members served in the war. Julia died in 1901 and Henry married Jane Ralph a couple of years later; they had a son Harry in 1906.

Ernest and his four siblings moved between Drayton, Bringhurst and Great Easton while growing up, and in 1901 he and his brother Walter were ironstone labourers and brother Percy worked in the brickyard.

Ernest enlisted in November 1914 at the age of thirty four and three quarters. His record describes him as 5 foot 9 inches tall, weight 149 pounds, with a 40 inch chest measurement;  very good physical development. Eyes and hair were brown.

At the outbreak of the war, the Northamptonshire Regiment’s 2nd Battalion was stationed in Egypt from where it sailed for France in November. It formed one of the units of the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division at the Western Front. Ernest was sent to France on 6 March 1915 and was reported missing less than a week later in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in which Edwin Towndrow and William James Tansley also died. His young relative Leonard Joseph Stokes was killed less than three weeks later.

He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial near Bethune. The Memorial lists more than 13,400 British soldiers killed in this sector of the Western Front from October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave.

His father Henry was notified of his death on 16 April.