While researching the lives of Rodborough men involved in the Great War, the history group Remembering Rodborough, uncovered the stories of two members of this newspaper’s staff.

Such detailed information was gleaned from the one hundred-year-old bound volumes of the Stroud News and the Stroud Journal which were separate papers then, loaned by the SNJ office.

Jack Stockwell of Bath Road was an employee of the Stroud News. His colleagues reported, “His enthusiasm for war has been a bit of a worry to his employers and parents." Jack first enlisted at a very early stage of the conflict and it was only when he was down for a draft that it was discovered he was underage. He was born in May 1899, so was probably sixteen by then. In August 1918 he legally joined the Navy and the Stroud News wished him good luck “Despite the turmoil he caused in this office by his patriotic fervour.” He returned safely and Remembering Rodborough would be interested to know what became of him in later life.

Harry Peyton Hooper was also born in Rodborough in May 1899. He was known as Sammy after his father who ran the Post Office on the Bath Road at Lightpill. He joined the 1st Devonshire Regiment on reaching eighteen, in May 1917.

He worked as a 'nib' for the Stroud Journal and had just passed his exams. The paper ran a column named 'Arms and the Man' giving news of soldiers in a chatty style and included regular snippets about Sammy and he corresponded with them too. In one humorous letter, he wrote, “Did see Cooper (another “Journalite”) once, but now he’s moved to another camp. Hope it’s a better hole than this.”

Poignantly, the Journal reported on March 27 1918, that Private Hooper, along with two other Rodborough boys, Privates Heaven and Wake, were hurriedly recalled from leave. Sammy had time to send a postcard to his colleagues on April 7, on the eve of his departure to France.

Events moved quickly, and his battalion transferred to Belgium and were engaged in the Nieppe Forest as part of the Battle of Hazebrouck. Following repeated attacks, as the Germans tried to take Hazebrouck, nine men were lost on the April 13, 1918, including Harry Peyton Hooper who was killed in action aged only 18, less than a year after enlisting.

In the words of his colleagues at the Stroud Journal "Such a death seems sadder than most, in so far that such a youngster appears not to have had his whack, so to speak, out of life. Above all that, he was one of the nicest fellows one could wish to know, and it seems impossible to realise that his jolly entertaining and typically English personality is no more in existence.”

Remembering Rodborough’s book, 'Summoned from the Hillside' is available for £12 from rememberingrodborough@gmail.com.