Harold Percival Stokes

Name Harold Percival Stokes
Corps Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
Rank Private
Service No. S/E 20888,
Date / Place of entry Oakham
Date of death 11 September 1917
Memorial / Grave IV.N. 2B.Cemetery Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport

Harold Percival Stokes was the third child of Josiah Stokes and his wife Mary Alice nee Burditt. Josiah was one of the Drayton Stokes clan but moved to Caldecott in the 1890s where he was employed as a platelayer. His brother Henry was also a platelayer and worked at East Carlton, Middleton and Drayton from the late 1870s onwards.

The RAVC was re-organised in 1914 to provide a mobile veterinary section as part of each Army Division. For the most part this meant the care of horses but also included mules and pigeons. The prefix S/E usually stood for Special Enlistment for the duration of the war though use of prefixes could be inconsistent. In 1914 the Regiment’s recruitment notice asked for ‘men who have been accustomed to horses and are able to ride.’  Harold was a private at the
14th Veterinary Hospital at the time of his death.

He died in Le Treport hospital on 11 September 1917 aged twenty. The Third Battle of Ypres (now usually referred to as Passchendaele) was launched on 31 July 1917 and lasted until 6 November and it’s possible Harold was injured during the very heavy fighting. Le Treport is a small seaport 25 kilometres north-east of Dieppe, and was an important hospital centre. By July 1916, the town contained three general hospitals with over 10,000 beds.

Harold is buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery at Le Treport, As the town’s original military cemetery was quickly filled, it became necessary to use a new site at Mont Huon. It now holds 2,128 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.