Skinner, Thomas

Thomas Skinner was born in Sundon, Bedfordshire during 1882.   He was the eldest son of Festus and Elizabeth Skinner, having two younger brothers, Frank Skinner and Herbert John Skinner.

His parents were married on 9 August 1874 at Luton, Bedfordshire.

In April 1901 the family lived at Flamstead, Hertfordshire.  The head of the family was Festus Skinner aged 49, who was employed as a Gamekeeper.  His wife Elizabeth Skinner aged 48 and their three children previously mentioned – Thomas Skinner aged 19, an Agricultural Labourer, Frank Skinner aged 10 and Herbert John Skinner aged 8 years.

The 1911 Census shows that the family had moved to North Wales and now lived at Groesffordd, Afonwen, Flintshire.   Festus Skinner who was 59 years of age was employed by a Mr. H.W. Davey JP as Head Gamekeeper.  His wife Elizabeth aged 58, a Housewife.  They still have two children living at home  – Thomas Skinner aged 29, who was employed as a Farm Labourer and Emily Skinner aged 23, a Domestic Servant. Festus and Elizabeth’s grandson, Charles Henry Skinner aged 1 also lived with the family.  It is not known who his parents were.

Thomas Skinner enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment at the outbreak of the First World War.

An extract from the County Herald Newspaper dated Friday 1 January 1915, headed Caerwys Soldiers reads – A friend said ‘Tom Skinner went directly the war commenced.  He had been under a medical operation and was complaining at the time he received orders to join his Regiment.  Several of his friends thinking that he was not, in their minds physically fit to go and tried to persuade him to see a doctor and get exemption, but he was eager to go and fight for his country like a good soldier.  He is the first to die for his country from Caerwys during this present war.  May I add that he was well respected by all who knew him’.

His younger brother Frank Skinner enlisted as a Private No. 16875  with the Essex Regiment and served in France, he survived the war.  But this was not the case in respect of his cousin, Able Seaman John Thomas Skinner, who was killed in action when his ship HMS Good Hope was sunk by the German Navy during the Battle of Coronel, which took place off the Chilean coast on 1 November 1914.

He is also remembered on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales.

There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour card for Thomas Skinner at the County Archives Office, Hawarden, which was completed on 15 January 1920 by his father Festus Skinner.

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