|WW2 Memorial Profiles - West Mersea
HORACE STOKER and LILIAN SARAH STOKER
Oystermen and ARP Messengers
Died 17 June 1942 Horace age 48 and Lilian age 41.
Buried together West Mersea Cemetery
Horace was son of George and Alice Stoker. He married Sarah Lilian Moore at West Mersea Parish Church 25 December 1920. In the 1930s they lived at Cambrian Villa, St Peter's Road.
Horace and Sarah were killed when the smack MAGGIE set off a German mine in the River Blackwater. 16 year old Don Procter was nearby:
"I was working with Edgar Heard then and we had the smack JAMES from Tollesbury and we were working about a quarter of a mile down below Bradwell chapel and Horace Stoker and his wife they were on the MAGGIE. They were nearer to the chapel and in very shallow water, we could see it was very shallow water because the bridle block which you get on the end of the trawl, that was on the stern. When the incident happened there was just one massive explosion and I remember the mast going up and after that just nothing at all.
"After the actual explosion we decided to go and have a look to see what we could find. In the meantime there was a motor yacht, a requisitioned one which the navy had called ALEXA which was down by the beach here. That came steaming up after we had actually found the bodies or what was left of them in the rowboat covered with a sail. The skipper of the ALEXA was most annoyed, he said we shouldn't be in there whatsoever because there might be another one.
"But then we took them into the Causeway and I believe it was Dr Hudson who had to deal with what was left of them. I remember the skipper of the ALEXA suggested they should be buried at sea which would probably have been cleaner. But Horries father, who was old George Stoker, he wouldn't hear of it, he wanted them buried on shore. Bobby Stoker, the brother, he was working down by the Bench Head and the blast actually lifted off the decks and yet we who were closer, we didn't feel anything like a blast, it was more like an almighty crash.
"Horrie was in what we call a swatch which is a low way which runs across the end of Bradwell chapel. I think as far as I know his wife was probably the only lady crew we had fishing.
The Obituary of Sarah and Horace Stoker described their death as an accident
Lilian and Horace Stoker, Barfield Road Cemetery, West Mersea
Shrimping - Stoker smack MAGGIE 119CK in the early 1930s
Shrimping - Stoker's smack MAGGIE in the 1930s. Bobby and Horace Stoker
Ron Green and Sheila Phillips for photographs of MAGGIE
Roger Bullen 'Community at War' - interview with Don Procter [ RBN_WW2_380 ]