Ronald Cyril Stokes was born the only son of Harold & Emily Louisa Stokes (nee Solomon) in the September quarter of 1919 (Chester Vol. 8a Page 563). Harold & Emily Louisa had been married in St. Philip’s Church, Kelsall, Cheshire in the June quarter of 1918 (Cheshire West CE34/1/112).
Harold is seen on the 1911 census living at 31, Overleigh Drive, Handbridge, Chester, as a Boarder, he was single, age 22 and a Tram Conductor and had been born in Cheshire.
I believe that Emily Louisa Solomon was living at the same time at 32, Hough Green, Chester (11 Rooms) as House Maid (Domestic), age 22 and single, she had been born in Firle, Sussex, according to the census. The 1921 census shows them living as a family in Halton, Cheshire.
Sadly on the 16th March 1935, Ronald Cyril was to lose his mother, so he and his father must have been devastated, Emily was only 46 years of age, she was buried in Overleigh New Cemetery, Chester.
The Chester Chronicle dated 31st May 1941 tells us more about “Ronnie” as his schoolmates called him, he was popular and attended Love-Street Central School and after leaving school went to work in a city office., so after a while, this did not appeal to him and he joined the Merchant Navy serving 4 years with the Steam Navigation & Furnis Withy Lines. He eventually became an assistant purser and was at sea when war broke out.
He was to find himself on the 30th April 1941 aboard the S.S. “Nerissa,” unescorted , a straggler from Convoy HX-121, and at 00.27 hours on 1 May 1941, was torpedoed by u-boat U-552 and sunk southeast of Rockall. The master, 82 crew members, two gunners and 124 passengers were lost. 30 crew members, five gunners, 53 passengers and three stowaways were picked up by HMS Veteran (D 72) (Cdr W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), transferred to HMS Kingcup (K 33) (LtCdr R.A.D. Cambridge, DSC, RNR) and landed at Londonderry.
Many thanks to https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ship/895.html for the information above on the sinking, please click on the website to read more.
Ronald Cyril was a Writer (Assistant Purser) on board, so I don’t know where he was when the torpedo hit. Rockall, an Islet in the Atlantic Ocean – Rockall is an uninhabitable granite islet situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. The United Kingdom claims that Rockall lies within its exclusive economic zone and is part of its territory, but this claim is not recognised by the Republic of Ireland. Wikipedia.
U-552 – Successes – 30 ships sunk, total tonnage 163,756 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 520 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,190 tons
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 26,910 GRT
Fate – Decommissioned in February 1945. – Scuttled on 5 May 1945 at Wilhelmshaven, western entrance to Readerschleuse. Wreck broken up.
Harold was to be alive to suffer the loss of his only son, only 6 years after losing his wife Emily Louisa. He was to die on the 27th June 1946 at the City Hospital, Chester.
https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#calendar – Ronald STOKES of 10 Abingdon Crescent, Buddicom Park, Chester. Who is presumed to have died 30 April 1941 at sea on War Service. Administration Chester, 28 October 1941 to Harold STOKES, Steel Smelter.
Ronal Cyril Stokes paid the ultimate price for our freedom and he mustn’t be forgotten.