STOKES, Francis

Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant Francis Stokes
3383 3rd Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment)

7198 Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)

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Francis Stokes was born about 1874 at Cromford, Derbyshire, son of Police Constable William Stokes from Bunny, Nottinghamshire and his wife Selina. His father had served in the police force at St Werburghs, Derby; Loscoe and Ilkeston and possibly in other areas as Francis’ siblings had many different birthplaces. Other known children of the marriage were:- William born 1868 Bestwood; Walter born 1870 Derby; Louisa born 1871 Derby; Arthur born 1873 Derby; Edwin born 1877 Wirksworth; Henry born 1879 Sandiacre; Harold born 1880 Loscoe; Richard born 1883 Loscoe; Wilfred born 1884 Loscoe; Ernest born 1886 Loscoe; Ethel born 1888 Loscoe; and Mabel born 1889 Ilkeston. In all ten sons and three daughters.

By 1901 the Stokes family was living at Sedgwick Street, Jacksdale and Francis was listed as being with the family on the night of the census, occupation –  regular soldier, rank Sergeant. His father William having now retired from the police force was employed as an ironwork fitter. Several of the Stokes sons became coal miners, as was Francis before he joined up. In 1911 Francis was living in Dixie Street with his wife Amy (nee Storer) they had been married for eight years but had no children.  Francis has obviously left the army as he was then shown as being employed as a watchman.

Most of RQMS Stokes’ military records have not survived but we have been able to piece together some of his history. He attested 22nd June 1893 aged 18y 3m. He was assigned service number 3383 when he attested to the 3rd Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment) – as it was in those days. The fact that he appears on the 1901 Census as a  sergeant indicates a reasonable progression. His Medal Rolls Index Card has been located and gives us the following information: service number 7198, rank: Colour Sergeant and subsequently Company Quarter Master Sergeant so his promotions continued. He entered the French/Flanders Theatre of War on 14th July 1915 and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British war and Victory Medals and Silver War Badge number 430610. His entry in the Silver War Badge Records indicates that he had re-enlisted on 14th September 1914 and was discharged on 2nd August 1918 with the rank of RQMS. He appears on the Absent Voters List 1918/19 and is shown as being absent from Dixie Street, Jacksdale – no details given.

After the War, Francis became the Postmaster for Jacksdale, the Post Office being situated on Main Road (now a Chemist’s shop).

We believe that he died in 1938, aged 64.