Edgar Stooke was the youngest of four brothers to die in the First World War, aged just 18. He was killed just 13 days after one of his other brothers, Frederick, while both of them were fighting in Belgium. He was one of seven brothers who all served, the other two who died were Frank and Arthur. Edgar was born in Essendine between July and September 1899 and was the youngest of twenty children raised by his parents John Robert and Christiana Charlotte. Edgar had fifteen siblings and his parents took in four of John's neices and nephews too. John was for many years the headmaster at Essendine School, and when he retired the family moved a few miles to Carlby in Lincolnshire. His father died in 1910 when Edgar was just ten years old and his mother ran the Plough Inn in the village. Edgar joined the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) as a Private and was killed on 26 April 1918. He is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No 3, a small cemetery to the west of Ypres, on the way to Poperinge, grave I.O.9. There is a memorial tablet to the four boys in St Stephen’s church in Carlby. The men’s mother Christiana is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard within sight of the memorial tablet. Edgar is pictured standing beside his brother Harold (seated) who also fought in the war but returned home and lived to be 90 years old.
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