Private Samuel Skelton



Samuel Skelton was born on 30 November 1897 at Whitecross, Belfast, County Antrim, the second of four children of labourer Graham Skelton and his wife Mary Jane (née Johnston). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 18 Barbour Street, Belfast, with his parents and two surviving siblings.

Skelton enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 9 September 1914 (No.1175 – later Corps of Hussars No. 71266). He was described as being 5' 9" tall, with a fresh complexion, dark brown hair and blue eyes. He stated that he was aged about 20 (overstating his true age) and that he worked as a dairyman.

He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 1 May 1915 with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division. In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps.

From 3 to 10 October 1917 Skelton was treated in No.2 General Hospital at Le Havre, suffering from 'chronic pleurisy'. Evacuated to the UK for further treatment, he was later posted to the regimental reserve at Antrim.

On 25 December 1917 he married Frances McKenzie in St John's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Carnmoney. Skelton was reported to have deserted from Antrim on 8 October 1918. This may have been linked to the birth of his first child, Phyllis, at Greencastle nine days later. Another child, Graham, was born there two years later. Samuel was recorded as being employed as a labourer.

At the time of the 1939 Register Skelton was living at 10 St Barnabas Street, Belgravia, London, with his second wife Eileen (née Crane), and was working as a butcher and provisions shop warehouseman. He died at 1a Queen's Gate, Kensington, London, in December 1949.


Image sourced from Public Member Trees – contributor Geraldine Francis King.


This page last updated 27 January 2024.