Major - Royal Artillery - 53rd Heavy Regiment - Service No. 49039.
Leslie Eric Sheldon Stokes was born on 25th April 1892 in Southfleet, Kent. His father was Ernest James Stokes, a Schoolmaster, and his mother was Frances Augusta (née Neale). The first school that he attended was Southfleet National, where his father was the Schoolmaster.
In 1904 Leslie Stokes joined The Gravesend Day School – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Henry F A Wigley. The County Day School was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Leslie’s address as Olive Cottage, Southfleet.
In 1910 Leslie left the School. He served with the British Expeditionary Force, the Royal Artillery, in France & Salonika in World War One. In 1918 he married Mavis K McCartney. Leslie was a Senior British Intelligence Officer after World War One, serving in Ireland in 1920. He relinquished his commission in 1921 and was awarded the OBE in 1922.
His first marriage had ended by 1924, as Mavis Stokes remarried that year. Leslie was a well-known cricketer in the Gravesend District, gaining the nickname of “Dasher”. In 1939 he married Olive M Boughey, his second wife.
Leslie re-joined the Royal Artillery at the outbreak of World War Two, as a Major in the 53rd Heavy Regiment, Service Number 49039.
Leslie Stokes was found with a shot to his head from a revolver, on 11th March 1941, he died in hospital. The incident was reported in an article in the Essex Newsman. His Inquest discovered he was having serious financial difficulties, and found that he had committed suicide. The Inquest was reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle on 21st March 1941. Leslie was 47 years old. He was buried in St. Nicholas, Southfleet Churchyard.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: