Devonshire Regiment, Frederick Skidmore, Harold Skidmore, John Rose of Birmingham, London, Mary Rayner, National Army Museum, Paddington, Queen Street, Royal Field Artillery, South Staffordshire Regiment, The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry), Thomas Skidmore
Frederick Oswald Skidmore was born in 1894. He was appointed to the Special Reserve of Officers in November 1914, being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment. By October 1915 he was appointed to Land Forces, being commissioned to The King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). The National Army Museum hold a sterling silver cigarette case, produced by John Rose of Birmingham, that belonged to Skidmore. As well as the documents alongside, Wolverhampton Archives also holds a file of papers and correspondence concerning Skidmore’s military service, including his Advance Pay Book and his Gratuity Statement. This file also includes letters from a Private J. R. Briggs 1919-1920, who is still with the army in India. He states that “I don’t like India so much as I thought I should, but you have to put up with it.” The letters are address to Captain Skidmore of Edenfield, Compton, but have been forwarded on to Miss Rayner of 12 Warwick Avenue, Paddington, London. This is the lady who would later become Skidmore’s wife.
After the war, he became a solicitor at 44 Queen Street, Wolverhampton, eventually becoming Deputy Coroner for the area. Skidmore married a Miss Mary Joyce Rayner on 2 June 1921 at Christ Church, Paddington, London, and they had three children – Frederick John (Jun 1922), Kathleen Joyce (Sep 1924) and Neil Rayner (Sep 1931). Skidmore died in 1977 aged 83.
Other members of family also fought in the First World War. Lichfield Street auctioneer Harold Percy Skidmore, born 25 August 1892, served as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd North Midland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery from December 1915 onwards. He married Jean Bishop in June 1920, but the couple do not appear to have had any children. Harold died in 1960. Thomas Victor Skidmore, born on 11 June 1897, was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in May 1915. He died of natural causes in 1940.