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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Pte Charles Walter Skilton SR/9629


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Hello everyone,


I am researching Pte Skilton's background and war experience, but am finding it a bit difficult, especially as I am in Australia. I know he was one of the SAD's who was killed for desertion on 26/12/1916, and a quick search of TNA reveals that his service record was most likely destroyed or damaged (by fire). I was wondering if anyone could provide more information about:

a) his pre-war life

b) his time in the war, specifically on the Somme, and any info the Battalion's war diary might reveal about him and his desertion, including whether or not he might have been suffering from shell shock.


I am in the process of ordering a copy of his court-martial, and already have access to a couple of books that do mention him (but only in general terms - such as 'Shot at Dawn').


Any help would be greatly appreciated.





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He appears on a public family tree on Ancestry, and there is a fair amount can be gleaned from that.

This gives his date of birth as about 1896 in Ealing, Middlesex.

On 1901 and 1911 Census he was living with family at Hanwell, Middlesex. His parents Charles Frederick C. Skilton (b.1867 d.1941) and Edith Alice Jarvis (b.1875) His father was a house painter and decorator. He had three younger sisters and a younger brother Ernest (b.1898) who also likely served in WW1. There is an MIC posted on the tree as serving with Hants Reg. and was discharged with Silver War Badge 30/04/1918 due to wounds. Interestingly his enlistment date is given as 1/12/1910 but on 1911 Census he's 13 and at school his age and his age at discharge does not match so maybe a mistaken identity. There are photos of all of them on this tree - so presumably descendants with family history. May contact the keeper of the family tree directly.


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Hi Melissa,







All images sourced from Ancestry.co.uk


His birth was registered in the July/August/September Quarter 1896. So it seems that he was born on 2.8.1896, and baptised on 2.12.1897.


Whilst he wasn't awarded any medals, the medal rolls shows his overseas service as...


Image sourced from Ancestry


From the service records of near number Special Reserve, Royal Fusiliers men, it looks like he probably joined up shortly after the out break of the war.


SR/9615 Drake - attested 9.8.1914

SR/9628 Mason - attested 5.8.1914


SR/9632 Humphries - attested 7.8.1914

SR/9634 Grant - attested 8.8.1914


You should be able to download the Battalion war diary (£3.50) from the National Archives - search page linked here




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Looks as though the family moved from 7 Shirley Gardens, the British Newspaper Archive has a report from October 1914, that gives the names and addresses of Shirley Gdn residents who had volunteered...C Skilton, Royal Fusiliers (Dover) lived at No 24. 

His younger brother Stanley came up before the magistrates in 1916 for the theft of four rabbits...he was let off owing to his recently volunteering for the Army.

   He and many of his friends in the Church Lads Brigade had joined up before Sept 19th 1914.


Edited by sadbrewer
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  • 2 weeks later...

A huge thanks to everyone for the assistance. I think that I may have to purchase and download the battalion's war diary to gain a better idea of his service. He is mentioned as having deserted more than once, but it is still so sad to think he was executed for it, especially at the age of 20.


This has really helped to fill in some of the gaps in my information. Thanks for the heads up regarding Ancestry David, I will try and get into contact with the owner of the family tree. Is that Charles in the picture?


Having a a forum like this with so many passionate members who are incredibly generous in sharing information, primary sources, links and advice is greatly appreciated given the difficulties in attempting to conduct research from Australia. So a big thank you to you all again.



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