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Legends and Supporters | World War Two | The War Years


Fullname: James Stokes
Born: 6 February 1915
Birthplace: Hutchesontown, Glasgow
Died: 1 March 1945 (Kerbenheim, Rhineland, Germany)
Resting Place: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, near Kleve
Rank: Private
Unit: King's Shropshire Light Infantry (2nd Battalion)
Award: Victoria Cross

BiogStokes, James - Pic

James Stokes was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

One of the most heroic actions of World War II took place on the attack at Kerbenheim, Rhineland, Germany on 1 March 1945. Private James Stokes of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry dashed ahead of his platoon without waiting for orders and routed two enemy strong-points and captured 17 Germans single-handedly. He finally fell, riddled with bullets, only 20 yards from the objective. He died during this combat move.

This 30 year-old ex-labourer, born in Commercial Road, received the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross, the highest award possible in the armed services, for what was undoubtedly an act of supreme courage.

He was a Gorbals boy and a Celtic supporter, and for his deeds he will be very fondly remembered by us all.
In Holland, on 1st March, 1945, during the attack on Kervenheim, Private Stokes was a member of the leading section of a Platoon. During the advance the Platoon came under intense rifle and medium machine gun fire from a farm building and was pinned down. The Platoon Commander began to reorganise the Platoon when Private Stokes, without waiting for any orders, got up and, firing from the hip, dashed through the enemy fire and was seen to disappear inside the farm building. The enemy fire stopped and Private Stokes reappeared with twelve prisoners. During this operation he was wounded in the neck.

This action enabled the Platoon to continue the advance to the next objective, and Private Stokes was ordered back to the Regimental Aid Post. He refused to go and continued the advance with his Platoon.

On approaching the second objective the Platoon again came under heavy fire from a house on the left. Again, without waiting for orders, Private Stokes rushed the house by himself, firing from the hip. He was seen to drop his rifle and. fall to the ground wounded. However, a moment later he got to his feet again, picked up his rifle and continued to advance, despite the most intense fire which covered not only himself but the rest of the Platoon. He entered the house and all firing from it ceased. He subsequently rejoined his Platoon who, due to his gallantry, had been able to advance bringing five more prisoners.

At this stage the Company was forming up for its final assault on the objective, which was a group of buildings, forming an enemy strong point. Again, without waiting for orders, Private Stokes, although now severely wounded and suffering from loss of blood, dashed on the remaining 60 yards to the objective, firing from the hip as he struggled through intense fire. He finally fell 20 yards from the enemy position, firing his rifle until the last, and as the Company passed him in the final charge he raised his hand and shouted goodbye. Private Stokes was found to have been wounded eight times in the upper part of the body.

Private Stokes one object throughout this action was to kill the enemy, at whatever personal risk. His magnificent courage, devotion to duty and splendid example, inspired all those round him and ensured the success of the attack at a critical moment; moreover, his self-sacrifice saved his Platoon and Company many serious casualties.
London Gazette, 13 April 1945

James Stokes VC C.S.CStokes, James - Pic

In 1976, Celtic FC requested that supporters clubs stop using the names of pubs/bars in their titles.

One club, the Glenties CSC from the Gorbals, took the opportunity to honour its own "Local Hero" and the James Stokes V.C. CSC came into being.

Members of the club, who had grown up with James Stokes, were proud to commemorate his gallantry, for which he paid the ultimate price.

Private J. Stokes V.C. actions on the 1st March 1945 were given pride of place.

See their site for further details at: Brazenhead Pub/James Stokes VC CSC


External Links

Stokes, James - Pic

Stokes, James - Pic
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Stokes, James - Pic

Stokes, James - Pic

Stokes, James - Pic

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