Hubert Prest Stokes

Name Hubert Prest Stokes
Corps Kings Royal Rifle Corps, 16th Battalion
Rank Private
Service No. C/7595
Date / Place of entry Doncaster
Date of death 23 April 1917 Died of Wounds
Memorial / Grave Arras Memorial, Bay 7

Hubert Prest Stokes was born in Drayton in 1897 and was brought up by his grandparents George Thomas and Elisabeth Stokes. Edgar and Arthur Stokes were his uncles, and the three of them were living with George and Elisabeth when the 1911 census was taken. Hubert was employed as a farm labourer.

It is not known when he enlisted, or why he did so at Doncaster. His uncle Edgar was initially in the East Yorkshire regiment so possibly there was a family connection through their relative Edwin Stokes, a colour sergeant with the Lincolnshire Regiment who retired in 1912 and lived in the Sheffield area.

The 16th (Service) Battalion (Church Lads Brigade) was formed in Denham, Buckinghamshire in September 1914 and recruited from members and ex-members of the Church Lads Brigade, an Anglican organisation aimed at young men who were thought to have abandoned Sunday School after starting work. The 16th landed at Le Havre in 1915 and was largely destroyed the following year in the Battle of High Wood on the Somme. In 1917 The Battalion moved to Arras where it took part in the1917 Arras Offensive (officially the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe), widely considered the most savage battle of the entire war.

On 23rd April 1917 the 1st Queen’s Regiment advanced on the Hindenburg Line between Croisilles and Fontaine – Les - Croisilles and the 16th Battalion attacked the enemy along the Sensee Valley in support. This was the day Hubert died, but as his record states that he died from wounds rather than being killed in action, it is not possible to know for sure if he took part in this action or had been wounded previously. He was twenty years old. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 7, one of the 34,774 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Arras sector between the Spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 and have no known grave. His grandparents survived him.