Service Number 300079
Battalion 5th Battalion
Regiment West Yorkshire Regiment
|Private||1424||West Yorkshire Regiment|
Harry Skelton was born in Collingham in 1895 the son of George Bayer Skelton and his wife Margaret. George was the game keeper on the estate of Sir Robert Gunter.
In 1911, at the time of the National Census, Harry was living with his parents, his brother George Herbert Skelton and his sister, Maud Skelton, at 2 Baden Terrace, Wetherby. At that time George was listed as a labourer on the race course.
Although Harry's service record has survived, it has been badly damaged and is difficult to read. We can tell that Harry enlisted for service in the Army in Wetherby on the 26th May 1913, and that he served in the Territorial Force. He was called up almost immediately war was declared and served firstly as Private 1424 in the 1/7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.
The 1/7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment was known as The Leeds Rifles. It was a Territorial Unit based at Carlton Barracks, Leeds, as part of the West Riding Brigade of the West Riding Division. On the 10th August 1914, the Battalion moved to Selby and then at the end of August 1914 to Strenshall before moving again in late October 1914 to York. It is while in York with his Battalion that we next come across Harry as his record shows that, on the 3rd January 1915, he was charged with being absent from Church Parade on that day and was punished by being confined to barracks for 7 days.
In March 1915, the Battalion moved again to Gainsborough, before moving with the Division to France with the 1/5th and 1/6th Battalions on the 15th April 1915 when they landed in Boulogne. Harry's medal card confirms he landed in France on that day. On the 15th May they became 146th Brigade of 49th (West Riding) Division.
On the 1st July 1916, Harry was admitted to No 3 casualty Clearing Station and the 1/3rd west Riding Field Ambulance from the 5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment suffering from pyrexia of unknown origin. He must therefore have transferred from the 7th Battalion to the 5th at some time.
From a report on the 14th July 1916 in the Wetherby News, we know that Harry was wounded:-
A few months later, on the 25th September 1916, Harry was again in No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station, this time suffering from gas poisoning from a shell. His unit was then given as 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. He was transported by No. 25 Ambulance Train, but his records do not show where he was treated or when he returned to duty. We do know that he served later in the 10th Battalion of the West Yorkshires with an altered service number of 300079.
We do not know what happened to Harry after the war. If you have any other information please let us know.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25944
The Wetherby News 14/7/1916
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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