Frank Stooke was one of seven brothers who all served in the First World War. He, three younger brothers Arthur, Frederick and Edgar all died, the other three returned home after the war. He was the son of John Robert and Christianna Stooke and he was born at Devizes in Wiltshire on 24 April 1885. The family moved to Rutland when Frank was a young child and John became the headmaster of Essendine School. He and his wife raised a total of 16 children. When John retired the family moved to nearby Carlby in Lincolnshire. John died in 1910 and his widow took over running the Plough Inn in the village. Frank moved back to Rutland when he married to Ellen May Stooke and they had three daughters. They lived in Belmesthorpe near Ryhall and before joining the Army, Frank worked as a moulder. This from his great granddaughter who has researched the whole family history: "Frank signed up to the Royal Engineers on 28 November 1902 and completed his 8 years in the Royal Engineer Reserves. He had received 2 good conduct awards and was known as a sober, hardworking, capable man. He signed up to the Royal Engineers, once again, in December 1914." He went to France on the 23 August 1914, and served there and on the Belgian front. His family have a copy of a published letter that he wrote to the Grantham Journal and which was published on 9 January 1915: “I wish to thank the donors of Essendine, Ryhall and Belmisthorpe for their kind gift of tobacco, cigarettes, matches and pipe, which I received safely. I hope to be able to thank them all personally soon.” He died from a bullet wound on 16 May 1915 in hospital at Boulogne, and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, grave VIII.D.12. He is remembered on the war memorial inside the church at Ryhall close to where he lived with his wife, and three small daughers. There is also a memorial tablet to the four brothers in St Stephen’s church in Carlby. The men’s mother Christiana is buried in the churchyard within sight of the memorial tablet. Frank's widow gave birth to another child after his death, Rodney Stooke, who died in the Second World War, killed during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940.
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