1374, Corporal Robert Watson STOKES
Unit: 32nd Battalion, D Company, AIF
Where Born: Greenough, Western Australia
Address: Naraling, via Geraldton, WA
Religion: Church of England
Marital status: Single
Parents: John Cyril and Edith Mary Stokes, Naraling, Upper Chapman via Geraldton
Description: Height 5’ 9”; weight 130 lbs; chest 31/36”; medium complexion; hazel eyes; dark brown hair
War Service: Robert enlisted 19 Jul 1915 at Blackboy Hill, WA, aged 18 years 4 months. The youngest of the Upper Chapman soldiers to enlist. On 18 Nov 1915, he embarked per HMAT Geelong from Adelaide, South Australia, arriving in Suez, Egypt on 18 Dec 1915. On 17 Jun 1916, Robert embarked to join the British Expeditionary Forces in Alexandria, Egypt and disembarked Marseilles, France 23 Jun 1916. He was wounded in action in France on 19 Jul 1916 and admitted to the Australian Field Ambulance before being moved to the Canadian Casualty Clearing Station with shrapnel wounds to his right forearm, thumb and right leg. He was sent per HS St David to England on 21 Jul 1916 and admitted to Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent. Robert marched in to Perham Downs 30 Aug 1916 and returned to France two weeks later, marching out to his battalion 28 Sep 1916 at Etaples, France. On 20 Oct 1916, Robert was promoted to Corporal and a temporary Sergeant on 04 Dec 1916. He was evacuated to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance with influenza 11 Dec 1916 and had to relinquish the temporary rank of Sergeant. On 16 Dec 1916, he was sent to England per Glenart Castle, a hospital ship and was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford. From 26 Jan 1917 – 10 Feb 1917, Robert went on furlough and reported to Perham Downs. He was marched out to Camp HQ 03 Mar 1917 and returned to France on 15 May 1917, marching out to his unit at Havre, France 28 May 1917 to rejoin his battalion 04 Jun 1917.
Killed in Action: 01 Dec 1917 at Messines, Belgium, aged 20 years 8 months. Robert was on duty in a relatively quiet period and it is not clear how he died, bombardment or a sniper possibly. Three others from his battalion died on the same night.
Cemetery: Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Belgium
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal