ARTHUR STOKES 

Rank: Private
Service Number:15201.
Regiment: 11th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Killed In Action Sunday 21st November 1915
Age 45
County Memorial Stockport
Commemorated\Buried Rifle House Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: III.A.7.
CountryBelgium

Arthur's Story.

Arthur's birth was registered between January and March 1871.He had been born in the Cheadle area. The 1901 Census, shows Arthur age 30, living with his widowed mother in Stockport. By the time of the Great War, he had married and was living at 27 Hanover Street in the Portwood area of Stockport.

It's known that his wife was called Mary Ann. Between April and June 1895, a man called Arthur Stokes married a Mary Ann Holdsworth at Oldham and this may be the same couple.

Arthur's service number indicates he enlisted in September 1914, on the 25th September 1915 the battalion sailed to France. On the day he was killed, the Battalion was in trenches in the Ploegsteert area of Belgium. This was about 3 kilometres north of the French town of Armentieres.

The Battalion's War Diary notes that, during the morning, the British artillery had shelled a nearby German position known as the Birdcage, suspecting that it was a machine gun emplacement. It records that, after dark, the enemy's snipers became "unusually active". Perhaps reflecting a growing acceptance that casualties were almost commonplace, there is no mention of Arthur's death. The officer compiling the Diary did, however, find it worth noting that, at 4pm, "Five pigeons seen flying from the direction of Warneton over Ploegsteert Wood". Perhaps he thought they might be carrier pigeons.