Captain James (John) Godfrey Stockton
From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
“I recall especially the work of some who have not returned; Davenport, Scott, Stockton, Zeder, and Tiddy among the officers, and among the non-commissioned officers and men a host of good comrades.”
“Just now much sickness occurred among the officers, John Stockton, Moorat and several others being obliged to go away by attacks of trench fever.” (In the Rose book, he is called John Stockton)
“A new Major, W. L. Ruthven, arrived in January and temporarily was in command. Loewe and John Stockton returned.”
“We change into gumboots in an old cellar and our journey commences. Sec the Colonel, Cuthbert, Marcon, Brown, Stockton, Robinson and myself lead off down a communication trench behind a guide, pledged to take us to the Berks Headquarters.”
“John Stockton led B Company, and under him was Moberly.”
“A party of the enemy round their way back and were soon firing into out men from behind. During the early stages of consolidation, when personal example and direction were required, John Stockton, Scott, and Gascoyne were all killed by snipers or machine-gun fire.”
“Captain James Godfrey STOCKTON
B Company, 2/4th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (TF)
Date of birth: 4th of May 1892
Date of death: 22nd of August 1917
Killed in action aged 25
Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Panels 96 to 98
He was born at Banbury on the 4th of May 1892, the son of Oliver James Stockton, solicitor, of Porthnabe, Mornan Smith, near Falmouth in Cornwall.
He was educated at Dent de Lion, Westgate, and at the King’s School Canterbury from September 1905 to March 1909, where he was in Holme House.
He became a solicitor articled to A.E. Eves of 7 Mark Lane EC.
He joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps on the 11th of January 1911 as Private 532 and was mobilised on the 5th of August 1914 being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the 31st of August 1914. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 26th of July 1915 and to Captain in June 1917 and served in France from the 24th of May 1916 when the battalion landed in France at Le Havre.
They spent much of the rest of 1916 on the Somme front although mostly holding various parts of the captured lines. He was away in hospital for a short time at the end of 1916 but re-joined the battalion in early January 1917 while they were at Hedauville. They spent February in trenches at Ablaincourt and in March, followed the German retreat towards St Quentin.
By April James Stockton was commanding B Company and according to the battalion history “was ill, but refused to leave the trenches and carried on in a most determined manner under shocking weather conditions”.
On the 18th of August 1917 the battalion arrived near Ypres and on the night of the 20th they moved into trenches to the east of Wieltje. On the night of the 21st they assembled for an attack near the village of St Julien with their objective being the Winnipeg-Kansas Crossroads. For the attack B Company was in support of the flanks of the other three companies which were in the vanguard. They advanced behind a creeping barrage and took their objective after just thirty minutes and all four companies dug in 150 yards to the west of the crossroads.
Unfortunately an old German gun pit which was to the battalion’s left had been cleared but not garrisoned. The enemy filtered back into this position and opened fire with a mixture of rifle and machine gun fire, killing James Stockton and two other officers.
Name: STOCKTON, JAMES GODFREY
Initials: J G
Nationality: United Kingdom
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 22/08/1917
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 96 to 98.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL