Joseph was born on the 22nd May 1892 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire and first appeared on the 1901 census living at 109, Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich, Staffordshire. His father John 37 was a General Labourer. His mother Alice was 34 and their children were Edith L 11, Joseph 9, Harold 7, Alice 3 and Florence 1. They were all born in West Bromwich.
Joseph was the son of John & Alice Skidmore (nee Timmins*) who had married in 1886 at West Bromwich. (Vol 6b Page 934). * This confirms that Noah TIMMINS was Joseph’s Uncle, the relationship will be explained later in the story.
The first census they all appeared in as a family was the 1901 census and they were living at 109, Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich, County:Staffordshire. John, 37, was a General Labourer, Alice, 34 and the whole family had been born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire. Their children were Edith L., 11, Joseph, 9, Harold 7, Alice M., 3 and Florence M. 1 year old.
The 1911 census shows the Skidmore family now living at 36 Chapman Street West Bromwich, Staffordshire (5 Rooms), but Joseph was missing. His father John, 47, was now a Gas Stoker and Alice, 44, had been married 24 years and the census tells us that 11 Children had been born, 4 sadly died, but 7 were still living. Sons Harold, 18, single was a Mill Hand Bolter Down and Frank, 7 was at school. Daughters, Alice Mabel, 13, Florrie May, 11 and Lucy, 9 made up the family.
Joseph had, it appears, moved to Connah’s Quay and had lived with the KING family for 12 years and was known locally as Joseph KING according to newspaper reports at the time of his death. The King family were living at 4, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay on the 1911 census, Mathew Henry King, 40, Catcher (Ironworker) and his wife Eliza Jane, 32 had been married 11 years, 2 children had been born to them and were still living, they were daughter Dorris (sic) King, 7 and son John Henry King, 4. Joseph Skidmore, 19, a Bar Dragger at the Ironworks, was a Boarder with, I believe his uncle Noah Timmins, 40, an Ironworks Labourer, they had all been born in Staffordshire, no town or city named.
There is an index card for Joseph in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County record office in Hawarden. (Card Connah’s Quay F62 ). It gives the address 4, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay and it confirms his regimental details. The card tells us that he served for 16 months from the 26th January 1915 to the 31st May 1916. It names the ship he was on HMS Gallipoli (Calliope). He was Killed on the 1st day of the Battle of Jutland.
Joseph Skidmore in the UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1900-1928 stated that Joseph’s birth date was 22nd May 1892 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, confirms his service number and the first ship he served on was the “Victory 1” and joined it on the 4th February 1915 and confirmed his last ship was the “Calliope” till he was Killed in Action on the 31st May 1916. He had just turned 24 years of age. He was paid a War Gratuity, but it did not state who was the Legatee.
Joseph Skidmore in the UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 confirms the above and also tells us that he was Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action., and was buried at sea. The relative notified was his mother: Alice Skidmore, 36, Chapman St, West Bromwich.
Officers and Men Killed in Action or Died of Wounds,
H.M.S. Calliope, Battle of Jutland 31st May -1st June 1916.
British Light Cruiser
Builder ; Chatham. Laid down ; January 1914. Completed ; June 1915.
Displacement 3750 tons, Complement 324.
Guns: 4 at 6 inch (Dir Con ), 2 at 3 inch A.A., 1 MG. Torpedo tubes : 2 at 21 inch, submerged.
Ten killed or died of wounds:
Balcombe, Archer William, Sgt., R.M.L.I. Collins, William Alfred, Pte., R.M.L.I. Ellis, S. T., A.B.
Fairweather, Walter William, A.B. Hogan, Thomas Joseph, Off. Std. 2. Horsfall, Frederick Thomas, Pte. R.M.L.I.
Rowlingson, William Frank, A.B. Skidmore, Joseph Sto. 1, Sutcliffe, Thomas Edward, Sto. R.N.R.
Trish, Thomas, A.B. end
The website – http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/jutland/hms_calliope_casualty_list_1916.htm
Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional Information: Son of Alice Skidmore, of 36, Chapman St., West Bromwich, Staffs., and the late John Skidmore
COUNTY HERALD 30th June 1016 –
KILLED IN THE JUTLAND BATTLE
The information has reached Connah’s Quay and district that Leading Seaman Joseph Skidmore of H.M.S. Calliope, aged 24 years and nephew of Mr. Noah Timmins, of 4, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay was killed in the Naval Battle off Jutland on May 31st. Both uncle and nephew lived with Mrs. King at the address given, and owing to this fact the dead hero was more familiarly known as Joseph King. He came to Connah’s Quay when twelve years of age, and commenced work at Hawarden Bridge Works, where he continued until January 1915, when he joined the Navy, being assigned a stoker rating. His promotion was rapid, and he enjoyed a popularity comparable to that he enjoyed among his fellow workmen at Shotton Steelworks, who deeply deplore his death. In a letter received by his mother, who lives at West Bromwich, the commander of H.M.S. Calliope paid a glowing tribute to the gallantry of the dead sailor, who, he said, was killed by a shell when assisting to feed the guns. He was buried at sea at midnight on June 1.
Also in the same edition (Page 4):- Roll of Honour – Skidmore – Killed in the Jutland Battle, Leading Stoker Joseph Skidmore, of H.M.S. Calliope, and nephew of Mt. Noah Timmins, 4, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay, aged 24.
Joseph Skidmore is mentioned on the Memorial in St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.
Joseph Skidmore in the UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1900-1928 tells us that his previous occupation was an Ironworker and he signed on for 5 + 7 years on the 4th February 1915 on the “Victory I,” his last date was the 31st May 1916 on the “Calliope.” His War Gratuity was paid but it does not say how much or to whom it was paid.
His description was – Height:- 5 feet 4 and ½ inches. Chest: 36 and ½ inches
Hair: Brown, Eyes: Grey, Complexion: Fresh
Character – Very Good, Ability – Super. Dated 1st December 1915
See the Battle of Jutland – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland which explains more, but amongst the ships were:- Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron (4LCS), Scapa Flow, Light cruiser HMS “Calliope” (pennant to Commodore Commanding 4LCS): Captain Charles (Edward) Le Mesurier, R.N. (Commodore 2nd class) (Commander 4LCS).
The battle was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. (Wikipedia)
There are at least 7 men on the Flintshire War Memorials website, all from different ships, who died in this battle. 3 from Rhyl, 1 from Flint, 1 from Overton and 1 from Caergwrle as well as Joseph on Connah’s Quay.