Samuel Richard Skelton, Age 25
Private, 37010, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Samuel and Thomas were the sons of Thomas and Hannah Skelton of 21 Holly Road, Little Dawley. Thomas senior was a miner and according to the 1901 census the family were living at 6 Holly Hedge, with the two sons being aged 7 & 9. Both sons had joined the KSLI originally with Samuel (KSLI 2829) later being transferred to the Gloucestershire regiment.
Samuel was still residing at the family home on enlistment and whilst serving with the Gloucestershire’s was killed in action on the 23rd March 1918. He is interred at Doullens Communal Cemetery Nol Extension in grave V.B.93.
First Battles Of The Somme - Battle Of St. Quentin - 21/03/1918
Location: Vélu Wood. German victory. In the early morning of 21st March, the German Spring Offensive, 'Operation Michael' began, when German artillery launched the largest artillery bombardment of the war, swiftly followed by rapidly advancing shock troops against the British Fifth Army, Third Army and units of the First Army stationed in and around St.
Quentin. Over 3.5 million shells were launched along a 40 miles (60km) front covering 150 sq miles (400 sq km) onto an area held by British Third and Fifth Armies.
The Armies held for as long as they could but faced with overwhelming numbers and broken communications the retreat was fractured. When the attack on Third Army came, 19th (Western) Division were in V Corps Reserve, east of Bapaume.
Hurriedly transferred to IV Corps, 57th Infantry Brigade were rushed to the front to support the breaking line. Where, supported by a Tank Battalion, during the evening of 21st March, they staged a counter-attack to recapture the village of Doignes.
On 23rd March in the face of continuing attacks the Brigade were forced to retire west, covering the withdrawal of 51st Division as they did so. 56th Infantry Brigade and 58th Infantry Brigade covered the rear of their retreat.
Holding a position in and around the Bois de Vélu (Vélu Wood), Captain J R Gribble, 10th Royal Warwickshire Regiment and Captain M A James, 8th Gloucestershire Regiment were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions in covering the retreat.
Inscription added to head stone by: Mrs. H. Skelton, Holly Road, Dawley, Salop.
Until The Day Break
WWI Medal Rolls Index Card
|Victory Medal||British War Medal|