Amongst our collection of military papers and correspondence relating to the Skidmore family, there is also a letter from a Lt. Frank Jarvis (service number 8458) of the 2nd Border Regiment, to a Miss J. Rayner of 114 St James Terrace, Warwick Crescent, Paddington, in London. This letter is dated 23 October 1915, and was sent when Jarvis was a Prisoner of War in Göttingen, Germany. Frank’s medal card indicates that he was a Lance Corporal rather than a Lieutenant, but his service records have not survived.
Mary Joyce Rayner was born in Paddington in 1897. In 1911, she was living at 114 Harrow Road in Paddington. In 1921, she married Frederick Oswald Skidmore, which is why this letter appears amongst this collection. Mary died in 1941, apparently (according to the General Register Office index) aged 63. However, I think this is an error on the part of the index, as there is no likely earlier birth for her, and she had a child in 1931, so I believe it is more likely that she was 43 at the time of her death. Why she chose to keep the letter, when she had married another man, is unknown.
Very little is known about her correspondent, as we don’t even know where he came from, so pinning down details of his birth are virtually impossible without further information. The letter in full is as follows:
Dear Miss Rayner
Many thanks for your welcome letter which I received today also many thanks for parcel which I received safely and enjoyed the contents I am glad to say that I am keeping in the best of health and hope you are keeping the same Once again thanking you for the parcel and the great kindness that you have shown towards me
If anyone can assist in unraveling further information, we would be glad to receive it!