Sgt. Charles Albert Stokes D.C.M.
2253 Sergeant Charles Albert (Charlie) Stokes enlisted on 27 March 1916 from Subiaco, Western Australia, and served with 51 Battalion AIF. He returned to Australia on 21 March 1919. Stokes was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for action at Villers Bretonneux in April 1918. He and Lieutenant C W K Sadlier were both recommended for the Victoria Cross (VC) for their deeds but only Sadlier received the VC, Stokes receiving a DCM instead.
The recommendation for Stokes' DCM reads 'During a counter-attack by his Battalion on strong enemy positions south of VILLERS-BRETONNEUX on night of 24/25th April 1918, this N.C.O. did splendid work when the left flank of his company was held up by heavy enemy machine gun fire. Sgt. STOKES led a section of Bombers against the machine gun positions and succeeded in putting two of the guns out of action and killing the crews.
All the section becoming casulaties, and finding one other enemy machine gun remained in action, he went forward and using his rifle attacked it singlehanded, killing or wounding the crew, and capturing the gun. The Company was able to continue the advance. His gallant conduct was carried out under terrific machine gun fire, and with utter disregard for his own personal safety. On returning to his platoon, he found his Platoon Commander had been wounded and he at once took command and led his men forward.
His splendid courage and coolness under heavy fire were an excellent example to all.' This action is mentioned at length in Volume V of the 'Official History of Australia in the War on 1914-18', pp 582-84.