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A local history and genealogy site for Wimpole, a village and parish in South Cambridgeshire
Curated by Steve Odell

  Edward Charles Skinner    War Memorial    Roll of Honour    Harry Skinner  
Frank Skinner
Remembered with Honour
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial.
A local history and genealogy page for the Parish of Wimpole.
Badge of The Suffolk Regiment
In memory of
Frank Skinner
Private 13644. 11th Battalion,
Suffolk Regiment
Died: Saturday 1st July 1916, aged 21
at the Battle of the Somme, France
[The first day of the Battle of the Somme**]
- Lest We Forget -
** "Of the 750 Cambridgeshire men of the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment who climbed out of their trenches at 7.30 am on that 1st July, no less than 691 were killed or wounded on that awful day...."
"Out of the 110,000 British soldiers approaching through No Man’s Land towards the German trenches, some 60,000 were killed or wounded that day alone - the single heaviest day of casualties in British military history."
13644 Private Frank Skinner, 11th Suffolk Regiment
Frank Skinner was the second son of Charles and Ada Ellen Skinner of New Wimpole. Born at Barrington on the 15 September 1894 (probably at the home of his Mother's sister [Mary Ann Challis]), he appears to have been baptised in Barrington's parish church, but grew up in New Wimpole and attended Wimpole Village School.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Frank was living with his parents in New Wimpole aged 16 and working as a 'Baker's Assistant'. In the years immediately before the war he was employed as a Farm Labourer by Mr Hagger, of Cambridge Road Farm, Wimpole.
When war broke out Frank, aged 19, volunteered for the Suffolk Regiment, with his formal army enlistment dated the 8 September 1914. He travelled to the Front with his regiment on January 8th 1916.
In July, the family received news via a friend that Frank was missing, and later, writing again, the friend said Frank had been killed. However, it was not until the 3rd August that the War Office officially notified the family of Frank's death, which had taken place on the 1st July 1916 (the first day of the Battle of the Somme).
Frank Skinner is laid to rest in Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle in France. He is also commemorated (under the badge of the Suffolk Regiment) on his parent's grave in Wimpole Churchyard.
His army effects which totalled £4. 17s 8p were paid to his father in 1917 who also received a war gratuity for his son of £8. 0s 0d in 1919.
Commemorative Postcard 1916
Commemorative Postcard 1916
"Herts and Cambs Reporter"
"Private Frank Skinner, of the Suffolk Regiment, second son of Mr and Mrs C Skinner of Wimpole, joined the colours on September 8th 1914, and went out to the Front on January 8th 1916. In July of the same year news was received through a chum that he was missing, and later, writing again, he said his chum had been killed, but it was not until August 3rd that the War Office intimation of his death, which took place on July 1st, was received. Private Skinner (who was 21 years of age), prior to the war was employed by Mr Hagger, of Cambridge Road Farm, Wimpole. Mr and Mrs Skinner have two other sons serving in the Suffolks, Private E. C. Skinner and Private H Skinner. Private E. C. Skinner has been reported missing, but no official confirmation has yet been received"
(Herts and Cambs Reporter October 13th 1916)
The Skinner Family c1912
Frank Skinner [standing far right] was the son of
Charles and Ellen Skinner of New Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.
The photograph above shows the Skinner family, photographed at the Wayman's house next door [now 68 Cambridge Road] around 1912. Back row (left to right) Arthur John Skinner (born 1900), Harry Skinner (born 1897), Frank Skinner (born 1894). Seated (left to right] Charles Skinner, Ann Mary Skinner (born 1903), Ellen Skinner [Neaves], Ada Ellen Skinner (born 1907), Edward Charles Skinner (born 1892). Missing in the photograph is elder sister Margaret Jane Skinner (born 1890). Within six years of this family photograph being taken, three of Charles and Ellen's four sons had been killed in action in France.
Photograph courtesy of Brenda and Michael Skinner (2003)
1911 Census (Combined Family)
Living at 70 Cambridge Road, Wimpole (modern postal address).
Charles [Edward]
Head M 51 Agricultural Labourer Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Ellen Skinner [Neave] Wife M 46   Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Margaret Jane Skinner [1] Daughter S 21 Housemaid Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Charles Edward Skinner Son S 19 Engineer Labourer Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Frank Skinner Son S 16 Baker's Assistant Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Harry Skinner [2] Son   13 Farm Labourer Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Arthur John Skinner Son   10 School Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Ann[ie] Mary Skinner [2] Daughter     7 School Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Ada Ellen Skinner Daughter     4   Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
[1] At the date of the 1911 Census, Mary Jane was working as a residential housemaid at the household of Author (Rev) John William Edward Conybeare, 10 Union Road, Cambridge. Conybeare was sometime Vicar of Barrington, local historian, writer of Cambridgeshire travel guides, cyclist, and publisher of a series of local postcards.
[2] At the date of the 1911 Census, Harry and Ann[ie] Mary were staying with their Aunt Mary Ann Challis, at High Street, Barrington.
Skinner Family Grave, WW1 Commemorations
Reprinted from the British Army Ancestors website.
The Skinner brothers of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Where the Skinner family rests:
"A couple of weeks ago, on a beautifully sunny autumn day, we decided to pop over to Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. Within the estate grounds is the Anglican parish church of St Andrew's and in the churchyard, very close to the entrance is a family grave that contains the mortal remains of Charles Skinner, his wife Ellen, and two of their grandchildren. The headstone must have been erected when Charles died in 1926, but the focus is very much on Charles and Ellen’s three sons, all killed in action during the First World War whilst serving with the Suffolk Regiment. I suspect that their names were added at the same time as Charles’ details, a suitable gap left between to accommodate Ellen in due course. Note too, the Suffolk Regiment cap badge at the top of the stone.
The Skinner brothers in France:
"13644 Pte Frank Skinner, standing on the right, was the first of Charles and Ellen’s four boys to die. He was killed in action on the 1st July 1916 whilst serving with the 11th Battalion and is buried in Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers La Boiselle. Just over five weeks later on the 9th August 1916, his elder brother, 15628 Pte Edward Skinner was killed in action whilst serving with the 7th Battalion. Edward, seated on the right, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval War Memorial. Finally, on the 5th April 1918, 23312 Pte Harry Skinner, also serving with the 7th Battalion, was killed in action. He too has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres War Memorial. Harry is the man standing in the centre of the photo which dates to about 1912. Thus Charles and Ellen Skinner lost their sons.
The Skinner family and Wimpole Past:
"The photograph I have used comes from Wimpole Past, a local history and genealogy site for Wimpole in South Cambridgeshire. We’ve been to Wimpole Estate before and I recommend it, particularly now, at this time of year with the leaves changing colour. We were blessed with warmth and bright sunshine but nevertheless, seeing this headstone at any time of the year brings nothing but chills. RIP Frank, Edward and Harry."
11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
"The 11th Suffolks, which was a service battalion known as the 'Cambs/Suffolks' or the 'Cambridge Pals'. At the outbreak of the war, men of the County enlisting for Infantry were sent to the Suffolk Regiment Depot at Bury St Edmunds.
Battle of the Somme - Saturday 1st July 1916
"The plan was for the British forces to attack on a fourteen-mile front after an intense week-long artillery bombardment of the German positions. Over 1.6 million shells were fired, 70 for every one metre of front, the idea being to decimate the German Front Line. Two minutes before zero-hour, 19 mines were exploded under the German lines. Whistles sounded and the troops went over the top at 7.30am. They advanced in lines at a slow, steady pace across No Man's Land towards then German front line."
Objective 9 – La Boisselle and Lochnagar – The Somme
"The 11th Suffolks were assigned Objective 9, an attack on the village of La Boisselle. The village of La Boisselle was of huge strategic importance as it would open up the road to Bapaume.
"Rather than try a head-on attack at the village, the Allies decided to attack either side. As part of this offensive they set off two huge mines, one near the road at the side of the village (18,000 kg) and one at Lochnagar, the biggest mine set off that day (28,000 kg). As the shelling stopped the mines were blown at 7.28am. At 7.30am the soldiers went over the top.
"Three battalions, including the 11th Suffolks, attacked the eastern lip of Lochnagar crater and the east side of 'Sausage Valley'. The Suffolks were in the second line of trenches directly opposite Lochnagar Crater.
"The Suffolks advanced under intense enemy machine gun fire from the rear of La Boisselle village and from two German strong points (known by the allies as 'Sausage Redoubt' and 'Scots Redoubt'). The Suffolk infantry pushed on to the German Lines trying to fight their way into 'Sausage Redoubt', only to be met by flame throwers as they reached the German parapet.
"The remaining Suffolks merged with the 27th Tyneside Irish on their right and managed to attack and seize 'Scots Redoubt', which was a major achievement given the events of the day.
"The casualties at La Boisselle on the 1st July were the highest casualty rate of the day with over 6,380 officers and men either killed or wounded. Of these 2,267 were dead. Eighty-five per cent of the 1927 soldiers who died on this battlefield are 'unknown soldiers' and have no known grave."
This is a much abbreviated version of the William Wayman page on the Lochnagar Crater Foundation website at
Gordon_Dump_Cemetery, France
CWGC Headstone
13644 Pte Frank Skinner, Suffolk Regiment
Grave reference: X. Q. 5.
Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle
On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 8th Division attacked Ovillers and the 34th Division La Boisselle. The villages were not captured, but ground was won between them and to the south of La Boisselle. On 4 July, the 19th (Western) Division cleared La Boisselle and on 7 July the 12th (Eastern) and 25th Divisions gained part of Ovillers, the village being cleared by the 48th (South Midland) Division on 17 July. The two villages were lost during the German advance in March 1918, but they were retaken on the following 24 August by the 38th (Welsh) Division. Plot I of the Cemetery was made by fighting units after 10 July 1916 and closed in September when it contained the graves of 95 soldiers, mainly Australian. It was called variously Gordon (or Gordon's) Dump Cemetery or Sausage Valley Cemetery, from the name given to the broad, shallow valley that runs down from it to Becourt. The remainder of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the 1916 battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery.
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial pictured in 2011
© Photographed by Lorraine and Keith Bowdler
The servicemen and women are listed under the Parishes of Arrington or Wimpole
as shown on the Cambridgeshire County War Memorial in Ely Cathedral.
War Memorial research by Steve Odell.
Photographs and additional details on this page courtesy of Brenda and Michael Skinner.
The War Memorial Project would welcome any additional information, research,
photographs or memories of Frank Skinner for this page.
Please contact the website.

This page was last updated on: 28 April 2020.

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