Second Lieutenant Thomas Dixon Stocks

Second Lieutenant Thomas Dixon Stocks
2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment.

Second Lieutenant Thomas Dixon Stocks, from the Keighlian Magazine of Keighley Boys Grammar School

Early life:
Thomas was born in Bingley (registered in Keighley) on 15th April 1896. He was the son of James Isaac, and Emily Stocks, of Silsden. He was baptised at All Saints Church in Bingley on 13th May 1896.
In the 1901 Census he was aged four and living with his grandmother Mary Ann Stocks at Airedale Villa, Silsden and probably went to a junior school there. In September 1904 he started at Keighley Trade and Grammar School but appears to have continued his education later at Bradford Grammar school, apparently starting in 1907 and finishing there in 1912 after five years, when he would have been 15. He also attended Bradford Technical College.
In the 1911 census Thomas was aged 14 and living at Croft House in Silsden with his parents and brother James, aged 17 years.

War service:
On 6th December 1915 he joined the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry at Penrith as a trooper on December 6th, 1915. He trained at Kendal, and later in Scotland.
In November 1916 he joined a cadet corps at Lichfield.
On February 18th 1917, he was posted to the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment at North Shields and received his commission in March of the same year.
He went out to France a few weeks later. He served with them for just over year before he was wounded in action and died of his wounds on 15th April 1918, aged just 22 years. Thomas was buried at Gonnehem Churchyard, France, 50 miles South East of Calais.

2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment war diary entry for 15th April 1918:
The battalion moved forward to the CANAL bank (proceeding via BERNENCHON) preliminary to making a joint attack with
At 6 pm the Battn commenced to cross the bridge, PONT LEVIS Q32c.7.8. (Sheet 36c SE) to get into position to attack the wood from the WEST, the WARWICKS attacking it from the South and S.E. The operation was not a success. Officer casualties were, KILLED, 2ND LT HUGHES J.W., HESKETTS, J., DIED OF WOUNDS, 2 LT. STOCKS, T.D., WOUNDED, CAPT J.S. BROWNING MC, 2 LT'S N.C. CALDWELL MC, H.G. CARD, W.H. ROY, A.G. HENDERSON AND A. KING. OTHER RANKS. WOUNDED 179, MISSING 7, 32 KILLED.

Keighley News report dated 20th April 1918:
Second Lieutenant Thomas D. Stocks, West Riding Regiment, younger son of Mr and Mrs James L. Stocks, Airedale Villa, Silsden, has died of wounds in France.
Lieutenant Stocks, who enlisted early in the war, was granted his commission in March 1917, and went to France the following month. He began his education at the Keighley Trade and Grammar School, and later was a student at the Bradford Grammar School and also the Bradford Technical College. His brother, Captain J. Stocks is also serving with the colours.

Obituary from the 'Keighlian' Magazine produced by Keighley Trade and Grammar School in 1918 (now Oakbank School):
2nd. Lieut. West Riding Regt.
Thomas D. Stocks was a Silsden boy, the son of Mr. James I. Stocks. He was at School from Sept. 1904, later continuing his education at the Bradford Grammar School. Before the war, he showed a keen interest in the Boy Scout movement, more especially with the younger boys. In this he was associated with the late Sergeant Rowland Hill, another Old Boy who has made the supreme sacrifice.
Thomas Stocks joined the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry at Penrith as a trooper on December 6th, 1915. He trained at Kendal, and later in Scotland. In November, 1916, he joined a Cadet Corps at Lichfield, and was posted to the West Riding Regiment at North Shields on February 18th, 1917. He went to France a few weeks later.
He died of wounds received on April 15th, 1918. Many fine tributes to his devotion to duty and sterling character were written to his parents by those associated with him. They all show that he was well liked by his fellow officers, and greatly respected by his men. Our sincere sympathy is extended to his parents and brother, Captain James Stocks, who is also fighting in France.

'Craven's Part in the Great War' entry:
2ND LIEUT. TOM D. STOCKS, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, younger son of Mr and Mrs James Stocks, of Airedale Villa, Silsden, died from wounds received in action on April 16th, 1918. Educated at the Bradford Grammar School, Lieut. Stocks, who was 21 years of age, was formerly an assistant scoutmaster of the Silsden Parish Church Troop. Joining the Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry as a private in April 1915, he afterwards successfully undertook a course of training for higher rank.

Thomas left effects of £872 6s. 2d. which went to Emily Stocks, the wife of his brother James Isaac Stocks.

Local commemoration:
He is remembered on the Silsden War Memorial and in the 'Keighlian' magazine Roll of Honour.
He is also remembered on the family gravestone in St James Parish Churchyard, Silsden which reads:

"Also of their second son Tom Dixon Stocks, 2nd Lieut. 2nd Duke of Wellington's W. R. Regt. Died of wounds April 16th 1918, aged 22 years, and was interred at Gonnehem, Bethune, France."

Information sources:
England and Wales birth records
1901 Census
1911 Census
British Army medal index card and medal rolls
Keighley News archives held at Keighley Library
Keighlian Magazine from the collection of Andy Wade.
Bradford Grammar School
1918 Probate records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
WO95 1552 - 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment war diary
WO95 1481 - 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment war diary

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