25th May 1917

25th May 2017

Stokes Brothers Aftermath of the RaidThe Grave of W.H.Stokes and Son A.E.StokesInscription
Stokes Bros. Aftermath of the Raid The Stokes family GraveIn
Ever Loving Memory
My Dear Husband
Who Died 25th May 1917
Aged 46 Years
Of My Son
Who Died 28th May 1917
Aged 14 Years
(Victims of the Air Raid)
In the Midst of Life we are in Death
Also of JANE
Widow of the Above
Who Died 23rd October 1953
aged 90 Years
Folkestone 1917 Cheriton Road Cemetery, Folkestone. May 2011


During WW1 Folkestone was not bombarded from the sea so although the guns could be heard across the sea the town did not suffer much damage except for one air raid which came without any warning and took everyone completely by surprise.

On Friday 25th May 1917 a flight of Gotha planes were returning from a raid on London. They shed their remaining bombs on the town. Some attacked Shorncliffe Camp (were there were 18 deaths including 16 Canadian Servicemen), others the Station area but the worst damage was in Tontine Street when at 6.20pm just one single bomb fell right outside Stokes Brothers Greengrocers and opposite Gosnold Brothers Drapery.

The Street was crowded with civilians, workers, shoppers and children and the deaths and injuries were terrible. 63 were killed, 10 men, 28 women and 25 children. More than 100 were injured. There were 18 civilian deaths elswhere in Folkestone.

William Henry Stokes, 46 and his son Arthur Ernest, 14 died from their injuries. Frederick Charles Stokes, 41 was injured and died 1918 having never recovered from his injuries. George Gosnold was injured.

Two of the very young children in the street that day were my aunts. They had gone to Gosnold′s on an errand to buy elastic and had left the shop before the raid. They were both injured by schrapnel, one in the legs and the other the head. A lady they knew told them to run home up the street and St Michael′s Street Steps to Saffrons Place. Unfortunately, on hearing the explosion, Gran had run the more usual route to the centre to find them and was searching for them among the bodies.

When she returned home she found the injured children, all the ambulances and doctors were overwhelmed so she cleaned and dressed their wounds herself. The doctor said later her thoroughness saved their lives. They were like many others, the unreported injuries.

Jane, wife of William Henry Stokes was their Great Aunt born Jane Cook 18 November 1862. She was the youngest daughter of Stephen Cook and Eleanor Baker m.10 December 1842.

A full list of deaths and injuries can be found on the Folkestone Families Website.

Memorial to 1917 Air Raid Tontine Street
Memorial Plaque, Tontine Street
With thanks to Jeremy Miles for this photograph

Stokes Family Tree Stokes Information Memories Between the Wars Memories of WW2

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Folkestone Air Raid Page
Last updated November 2016
Web Page by Les Haigh. Email: (les.haigh at

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