Private John George Albert Stokes 2032

2nd Battalion

Born in Bowral in 1894, John George Albert Stokes, known to everyone as Bert, was a popular and active member of the local community. Bert attended Bowral Public School and lived with his parents, Joshua and Mary, and five siblings in Bong Bong Street, Bowral. He later worked as a carrier for his father, an Alderman and Mayor of Bowral Municipal Council, who ran a produce store in the town. The Stokes family were very much involved in the business and musical life of Bowral and were staunch members of the Methodist Church.  Bert was a cornet player and Deputy Bandmaster for the Bowral Association Band as a well as being a keen tennis player. He had served in the Citizen Forces before joining up in January 1915, on the same day as one of his Bowral friends, Jim Pope.

Bert landed at the Dardanelles on 9th July 1915 and in a letter to his parents two weeks later, wrote cheerfully of his life at Gallipoli. How heartbreaking for his family to receive it, for by the time they read his words, they knew he had been killed.

I am having a real good time – much better than you would expect.

He and his close Bowral mate, Fred Crisp, met up and shared a meal:

He showed me round their position and then we cooked dinner, three fried eggs, toast and onions, and milk in my tea. How’s that for the trenches?

Two weeks later, both Bert and Fred were dead. Bert was shot in the head on 6th August during the charge on Lone Pine and buried in Brown’s Dip Cemetery. The news of his death was met with great sorrow in Bowral and a special memorial service held in the Empire Hall.

Bowral Band, Bert Stokes front left

Bowral Band, Bert Stokes front left

Stokes Store

Stokes Store