By Brian Stott
April 11th 1917 was 103 years ago. This is the date my Great Uncle Frank Stott lost his life in The First World War.
If we could find details I am sure that virtually every British family will have lost a relative in that horrendous conflict when around 700,000 of our servicemen were killed.
This is the story of one such soldier; Private Frank Stott.
Frank was the brother of my Grandfather Lewis Stott and therefore my father Donald’s Uncle.
He was the son of my Great Grandparents Tom and Elizabeth Stott and he was born at Clayton in Bradford in 1897. Tom and Elizabeth moved to the village of Kelbrook near Earby by 1911 and Frank is shown on the 1911 census as living there at Heather View as a 14-year-old.
He joined the British Army during the First World War, enlisting in Halifax. The majority of men from the Craven and Skipton area were in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment and Frank was also assigned to them.
He had been in France since June 1916 when he was reported missing on 11th April 1917. From the information I can gather it is likely his Regiment were in Belgium (or Flanders as it was called in the war) on that fateful day. Sadly no trace of Frank was ever found but Great Grandmother Elizabeth ( she was by now a widow as Tom had died) was finally informed in late June of 1917 that he was lost in action presumed killed.
Frank is listed on the Arras Memorial. This a World War I memorial in France, located in the Faubourg d’Amiens British Cemetery, in the western part of the town of Arras. The memorial commemorates 34,785 soldiers of the forces of the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand, with no known grave, who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918.
Frank is also listed on the War Memorial in Earby.
Although of course we never met him all of my family are proud to know about Frank. My Grandfather Lewis Stott and my Grandmother Jane named their first son Frank in memory of his brother when he was born in around 1921. My Grandparents would have been worried that history was about to repeat itself when Frank was called up to serve in World War Two. Details of this second Frank are easier to know as happily Frank survived and of course I was able to meet him as well as talking to my Father and Grandfather about his part in this war.
He was at the time he was called up for service working as a Projectionist at Skipton Cinema (which is now Kooky’s Nightclub) and because of his occupation he was assigned to doing this in the Army so spent his war showing films to servicemen although some of this was in areas abroad including Italy.
I had not seen a photograph of Frank from World War One until recently. My own son was born in 1993 seventy-six years after the death of his Great Great Uncle but the resemblance between them both is very very apparent.
A lot of the details I have discovered about Frank in 1917 have come from this website
It is specifically related to soldiers from the Skipton and Craven area. Users of the site can search for servicemen by surname so if your family was living in our area in the time of World War One have a look at the Search the Records option to find if any of your relations are mentioned.
Have a look and you might find your family’s War Hero.