Rifleman Charles James Skidmore, 17th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps died of wounds on 6th September 1917. He was born in Olton in 1894, and was the seventh of the 10 children (four sons, six daughters) of parents Frederick William (a gardener) and Ellen (née Cleaver). Eldest son, John, died in April 1880, aged 16 days. The family lived in the Solihull area from about 1880-1895, before moving to Willicote, Stratford-upon-Avon.
By 1911, Charles Skidmore was a 16-year-old gardener in a nursery, living at Glen May, Stratford Road, Shirley with his younger brother, William (15) and their married sister, Lucy, with her husband William Henry George and their children. Parents Frederick William and Ellen were still living at Willicote with their daughters Ellen Catherine (born 1888), Florence Edith (born 1893) and Sybil (born 1904).
Charles James Skidmore married Phoebe Mary George in Aston between April and June 1917. Phoebe was the sister of William Henry George who had married Charles’ sister, Lucy. It doesn’t appear that Charles and Phoebe had any children.
Charles’ service record doesn’t seem to have survived, but his medal index card indicates that he first entered a Theatre of War on 14th August 1914, suggesting he was either a regular soldier or reservist.
He died in hospital and is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery. He is also commemorated locally on the war memorial at Shirley. His younger brother, William, was killed in action just two weeks after Charles died.
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