Mothers and Widows Badge : Mrs Florence Stokes

Place Oceania: Australia, South Australia, Adelaide
Accession Number REL35351
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Badge
Physical description Silk, White metal
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1919
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Black silk ribbon with woven design, in yellow, red and white, showing wattle sprays, 'Rising Sun' badge and 'FOR AUSTRALIA'. Ribbon is attached at the top to a white metal bar impressed on the front with laurel leaves and on the back with the serial number '31353'. The back also has a brooch pin fitting. The lower edge of the ribbon is attached to another white metal bar bearing a seven pointed brass star attached with a split pin.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of 40 Private Francis Herbert Stokes. Stokes was born in North Adelaide, South Australia and went to school at St Peters Anglican College in Adelaide. He was working as a clerk when he enlisted in the AIF at Morphettville on 19 August 1914.

Stokes embarked from Adelaide with A Company, 10 Battalion aboard HMAT Ascanius on 20 October and after a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving early December.

The 10th Battalion was part of the 3rd Brigade, who was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 and went ashore around 4.30 am. During the landing Stokes rescued men who fell wounded in the water and carried them to safety under the cliffs. He continued to rescue wounded soldiers in the following days and was rescuing soldiers when he was killed by shrapnel on 27 April. Stokes has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial.

Stokes's father, also called Francis, received a letter from Private Arthur Blackburn, a member of 10 Battalion and a school friend of his son's. Blackburn praised Stokes's bravery on the day he was killed. Blackburn was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Pozieres in 1916.

This Mothers and Widows badge was worn by Private Stokes's mother. This badge was issued to the mother and/or widow of all members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force who had been killed in action, died of wounds or other causes while on active service, or who, after discharge, had died of wounds or sickness directly attributable to that service.