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Major Sir Richard Rapier Stokes MC (27 January 1897–3 August 1957) was a British Labour politician who served briefly as Lord Privy Seal in 1951.

Stokes was educated at Downside School, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served in the Royal Artillery during World War I, winning the Military Cross and bar and the Croix de Guerre. He became chairman and managing director of the engineering firm Ransomes & Rapier Ltd.

Stokes won the Ipswich seat in a 1938 by-election, which he kept in the 1945, 1950, 1951 and 1955 elections. He was known for his independence in parliament, including, with Bishop George Bell and fellow labour MP Alfred Salter, opposing area strategic bombing during World War II. After the RAF's bombing of Dresden on the night of 13 February and the early hours of 14 February, his questions in the House about the act, were in part responsible for the reappraisal of the Government's bombing policy in the last month of the war in Europe.

He was appointed Lord Privy Seal and the new position of Minister of Materials in April 1951, succeeding Ernest Bevin but served only a few months before Labour lost the 1951 general election.

Stokes died in 1957 as a result of injuries he received in a car accident.


  • The Times House of Commons 1945. 1945.  
  • The Times House of Commons 1950. 1950.  
  • The Times House of Commons 1955. 1955.  

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir John Ganzoni
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
Succeeded by
Dingle Foot
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Key
Minister of Works
Succeeded by
George Brown
Preceded by
Ernest Bevin
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury


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