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Richard Harold Skinner


Richard Harold Skinner was born in the summer of 1893 in Widnes, one of two children born to Charles and Elizabeth Skinner (neé Lee). Charles had been born in Westbury, Wiltshire in 1867, a son of George Skinner, an Agricultural Labourer, and his wife Louisa Ashley.

Early Life

By the 1880s, Richard’s father Charles was living with his parents, George and Louisa, elder sister, Prudence, elder brother, Tom, and younger brother, Joseph at 120 Leigh Road, in Hindley. All of the children had been born in Wiltshire, all in different villages. Charles (aged 13) was already working in mining as a Drawer (pushing tubs of coal).

In 1891, Charles was still living in Leigh Road, Hindley, but with his brother Jesse and his family. Both Charles and Jesse were employed as coal miners. The following year saw Charles marry Elizabeth Lee, probably at Widnes; the marriage was registered at Prescot which includes the district of Widnes. Elizabeth was from Widnes and it is probable that it was there that they set up home immediately following their marriage.

The family could not been found in the 1901 Census, but in 1911, they were living at 108 Oakland Street, in Widnes. Charles was then working as a General Labourer for a soap manufacturer and his son, Richard, was a student. Another soap manufacturer’s Labourer, Thomas Shaw, a 71-year old widower, boarded with them. The Census entry records that Charles and Elizabeth had a second child, but that he or she had died.

Chester College

Richard was a student at Chester College when the War broke out, and he later taught at Brassey Street School, in Birkenhead.

Military Service

We do not know when he enlisted, only that he served as Private 25530 in the 19th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.

Lest We Forget

Richard’s death was registered in the June quarter of 1916 at Prescot. He was buried in St. Luke’s Cemetery, in Farnworth and the cemetery information gives his death date as June 4, 1916. The place of death was recorded as Preston Brook, in Halton, Cheshire. There was an auxiliary hospital called Oaklands at Preston Brook, which was a Red Cross military hospital, and it is likely that it was there that Richard died.

Post Mortem

There are no surviving Army service papers for Richard, he does not appear in the medal rolls, nor does he have an entry in the Register of Soldiers’ Effects. This usually means that he did not have any service abroad, and the probability is that he died following an accident or of sickness before he was posted overseas.