Arthur Stooke was one of four brothers from Essendine to die in the First World War. He was the son of John Robert Stooke, who was the headmaster of the village school, and his wife Christiana Stooke. Arthur was born there between July and September 1889, and was one of sixteen children raised by his parents. In total seven of the Stooke sons served in the war. Arthur's elder brother Frank was killed in May 1915, and his younger brothers Frederick and Edgar both died in 1918. Three other brothers returned home at the end of the war. The family lived in Essendine for many years, and when John retired they moved to nearby Carlby in Lincolnshire. John died in 1910 and Arthur's mother took over running the Plough Inn in the village and around this time Arthur left home to work as a linesman for the Post Office, based in Skegness. After the war began he joined the Royal Flying Corps and served in the No 4 Kite Balloon Section as an Air Mechanic 1st Class. His family still have a copy of a Christmas Card that he sent the family from the Curragh army camp in Ireland, presumably where he was training (see photograph above). He was killed on 3 January 1917 and has no known grave. His name is on the Flying Services memorial in the Fauberg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras. It is a special memorial inside the grounds of the cemetery and close to the Arras Memorial. Arthur was 27. There is a memorial tablet to the four Stooke boys in St Stephen’s church in Carlby. The men’s mother Christiana is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard almost within sight of the memorial tablet.
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