It is not really known how Charles Stokes, born in Victoria, working in Brisbane at the time of his enlistment, came to be honoured with a memorial tree in Eumundi as he lived in Cooroy the next town north.
Charles enlisted with his brother George Robert Stokes in 1915 along with two other brothers living in Lismore. They had consecutive numbers in their Battalion. On 31 March 1916, Stokes embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A16 Star of Victoria.
He may have been chosen because of his short stature at 5 foot 5 inches to join the Cycling Corp. which was responsible for moving communications around a Battalion and in battle wore full battle dress. A short barrelled Enfield rifle was either attached on the frame of their bicycle or across their body. It is often said that they could ride and pick up a wounded soldier and get them on their bicycle without stopping...
The time he spent on the Western Front was the coldest winter on record and conditions were deplorable with the bitter cold and damp and blankets freezing in the night. On 27 February 1917 he was taken to hospital with a sever attack of bronchitis.
He died on 1 March 1917 and was buried at Estaples Military Cemetery France with full military honours. With a memorial tree in Eumundi, his name also appears on the Cooroy cenotaph.
For more on Stokes view the short video below
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