Private Ronald Edward Stokes, the son of Thomas Herbert Stokes and Mary Ellen Stokes (nee Baillis) was born at Ipswich in Queensland on 14th November 1905. At the age of 34 years and 7 months he was mobilized into the Australian Military Forces at Annerley in Queensland on 27th June 1940 after swearing a statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his mobilization he was unmarried, employed as a Farmer and resided at Mount Walker via Rosewood in Queensland. He had no previous military experience. His physical description at the time of his mobilization was that he had brown hair and blue eyes. He stated that he was of the Congregational religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Thomas Herbert Stokes, residing at Mount Walker via Rosewood.
Private Ronald Stokes was allocated the regimental number Q125 and he joined the 15th Infantry Battalion Details at the Enoggera Camp on 27th June 1940. He embarked for overseas service with the Australian Imperial Force on the ship “Oranje” from the port of Brisbane on 1st July 1940 and disembarked from the ship at Port Moresby on 6th July 1940. The Battalion undertook little military training after it arrived in New Guinea and it was mainly used to provide labour for working parties and unloading stores from ships.
Private Ronald Stokes was admitted to the Camp Dressing Station at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby on 10th May 1941. He was transferred to the European Hospital at Port Moresby on 13th June 1941 and he died of illness (cellulitis of the scalp and septicaemia) at the European Hospital later that day. He was buried in the Hanuabada Cemetery at Port Moresby. After the war his remains were exhumed and buried in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery. At the time of his death he was 35 years of age.
His name is commemorated on Panel No. 69 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board. For his service during World War 2 Ronald Stokes had eligibility for the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His next of kin was also issued a King’s Scroll.
Queensland Times, 23rd June 1941. OBITUARY – PRIVATE RONALD EDWARD STOKES. Mount Walker, June 22. The death of Private Ronald Edward Stokes, 49th Battalion, took place at Port Moresby on June 13, after a short illness. He was the second and youngest son of Mr T. H. Stokes and the late Mrs Stokes, members of one of the oldest and most highly-respected residents of the Mount Walker district. He was 35 years of age. The late Private Stokes, who was one of the most popular men of the district, was unmarried, and had spent the whole of his life at Mount Walker. He entered the militia forces about two years ago, and was sent to Port Moresby about a year ago. Private Stokes’s father received a telegram announcing his death. He had not been informed of his illness, which had lasted less than a week. In his illness Private Stokes had the attention of Reverend N. C. Watt, who is now at Port Moresby, but before that was in charge of the Rosewood Congregational Circuit, a part of which is Mount Walker, where he had frequently come in contact with the late Private Stokes. In addition to his father the late Private Stokes leaves one brother, Herbert William, of Loamside. The funeral moved from the Congregational Church to the Port Moresby Cemetery. The service at the graveside was conducted by Reverend N. C. Watt, assisted by Chaplain Methven.