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

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Arthur John Skinner
The 'Fourth' Skinner Brother
Those who also Served.
A local history and genealogy page for the Parish of Wimpole.
Arthur John Skinner, always known as 'John', was the fourth and only surviving son of Charles and Ellen Skinner of New Wimpole. His three elder bothers, Edward Charles, Frank and Harry were all killed serving in the First World War.
John was born on the 27th May 1900 at the house of his aunt Mary Ann Challis [his Mother's sister], at High Street, Barrington. He was baptised at Barrington Parish Church.
His childhood was split between his aunt's house in Barrington and the family home at 70 Cambridge Road, Wimpole [modern address].
John Skinner (1900-1977), aged about 15 John Skinner (1900-1977), aged about 25
(Arthur) John Skinner, aged about 15 (Arthur) John Skinner, aged about 25
Photograph Courtesy of Nick Chorley (2020) Photograph Courtesy of Nick Chorley (2020)
The Skinner Family c1912
Arthur John Skinner [standing left] 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.
John was conscripted on 27 April 1918, his 18th birthday, enlisting in the Suffolk Regiment (as his three elder brothers had before him) initially based at Bury St Edmonds. His brother Harry had been killed in action just 22 days previously but it is not known if the family had received notification by the time Arthur John left for his military training.
Once the confirmation was received that the third brother Harry had also died, family oral history recounts [perhaps apocryphally] that the family [or perhaps the Rector on their behalf] wrote to Prime Minister Lloyd George, asking that John, being the last of the four brothers, be allowed to serve in a British-based regiment rather than fighting in France. Apparently this was agreed and perhaps meant a transfer to a new regiment. [Note that it is most unlikely that Lloyd George would have taken any such decision himself, he would (quite properly) have passed the letter to the War Office for consideration.]
Although I have not been able to track down any documentation on John's military history, the possible agreement to protect the 'last son and heir' may be the reason why John is wearing the uniform of the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Sussex) rather than the Suffolk Regiment in the following photograph.
John Skinner, in the uniform of the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Sussex)
John was a 'proud' member of the renowned Wimpole United Tug-of-War team that won the Sturton Challenge Cup in 1926 [photo below].
The Wimpole United Tug-of-War Team 1926
Wimpole United Tug-of-War Team, Winners of the Sturton Challenge Cup, Cambridge 1926.
Arthur John Skinner is seated, far left.
Photograph kindly contributed by Ann Gadsby (2003)
On 21 December 1929, John married Ethel Whittaker of Balsham at Wimpole Parish Church, but sadly she died just thirty months later on 30 May 1932, aged 31 years. Ethel is buried in Wimpole churchyard. There were no children from the short marriage.
In the summer of 1934, John married Kathleen Ada Gilbert at Cambridge. They had three children, Janet Skinner in April 1935 and twin boys Michael and Maurice Skinner in January 1937.
Press Cutting January 1978
(Arthur) John Skinner died on 28 December 1977 when he was 77 years old. He is buried in Wimpole churchyard alongside his wife Kathleen Ada.
John and Kathleen's Gravestone in Wimpole Churchyard "In loving memory of
a dear husband and father
John Skinner
died 28 December 1977
aged 77 years.
Also of a dear wife and mother
Kathleen Ada

died 3 September 1991
Aged 92 years.

This page was last updated on: 17 May 2020.

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