Altrincham WW1 

Samuel (Sam) Skelhorn

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:09th Bn
Name of Rgt or Ship:Cheshire Rgt
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:FranceGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Grandcourt Road Cemetery, Somme
Town Memorial:Altrincham
Extra Information:
Born during the June quarter 1893 in the Altrincham R.D. - ref: 8a/197, the
sixth son of John Henry & Elizabeth Skelhorn (nee Newbigging).

1901 Census - 40 Police Street, Altrincham.   Son - aged: 6 - born:
Altrincham.  Head of household - Harry Skelhorn - Married - aged: 48 - occ:
Bricklayer's Labourer - born: Altrincham, Cheshire.   Also - Elizabeth
Skelhorn - Wife - aged: 47 - born: Scotland.  Plus 7 siblings, including
his brothers - Archie & Thomas who were also killed in WW1.   His maternal
uncle is listed as is a visitor.

1911 Census - No Trace.

Employed by Messrs. Corfield & Gatley, Ashley Road, Hale.

WO363 - He enlisted into the 5th Bn, Cheshire Rgt of Territorials at Hale
on the 6th April 1914.   He was just 20 years of age and was residing at 40
Police Street, Altrincham.   He was 5 feet 3½ inches in height.  His chest
measurement was 31½ to 33½ inches (fully expanded) and he was of 'Sound'
physical development.  On the 31st May 1914, he was sent to Rhyl, North
Wales for training.   

There was no obligation for Territorials to serve overseas, however most
chose to do so.   Samuel literally signed his life away on the 14th
September 1914 by agreeing to serve overseas.

He embarked at Southampton on the 14th September 1914, arriving at Rouen
the following day where he went into the I.B.D. (Infantry Base Depot)
there.  He was posted to the 9th Battalion, Cheshire Rgt on the 25th
September 1914.   On the 13th August 1915 he was sentenced to 28 days Field
Punishment No.1. for not complying with an order  (1) Being outside the
inner line of defence without permission & (2) For making a fire without
permission.  These appear to be two quite serious charges, which accounts
for the severity of the punishment inflicted (Field Punishment Number 1
consisted of the convicted man being shackled in irons and secured to a
fixed object, often a gun wheel or similar. He could only be thus fixed for
up to 2 hours in 24, and not for more than 3 days in 4, or for more than 21
days in his sentence. This punishment was often known as 'crucifixion' and
due to its humiliating nature was viewed by many Tommies as unfair).

There is a note on his file dated the 1st March 1916 stating that, "This
man was struck off the strength of the Expeditionary Force after his
absence of one month from the date on which he should have rejoined off
leave".  In reply the Battalion HQ states that he is on short leave to
England.   As the above man will shortly be fit for duty, it would appear
that he should still remain on the strength of his Unit.  Another document
states that he was admitted to the No. 2 Western Hospital, Manchester on
the 19th January 1916 whilst on short leave to England, suffering from
Rheumatism..   His "Treatment in Quarters" form states that he had
Rheumatic pains and never had proper use of his legs since back on walking.
 His hands and feet are always cold, also his nose.  Hands and feet were
perspiring.  Complains of stiffness in his shoulders, arms and legs.  Short
of breath when walking less than a mile.

He did not return to France until the 13th September 1916.

MIC - states that he was posted to France on the 14th February 1915 and was
awarded the 15 Star, the BWM & the VM.  His number was previously - 2059.

On the 26th October 1916, the 9th Bn, Cheshire Rgt went forward and into
the front line, (Stuff Trench) Thiepval Sector.  Relieved and to Donnet
Post on the 30th.    In November, they went into the front line (Lucky Way)
on the 2nd.    Then back again to Donnet Post on the 5th.   To camp near
Aveluy on the 9th.   To the front line again on the 13th.  To Marlborough
Huts on the 16th.   Moved forward to the Zollern Trench at 14.00 hrs on the
18th and assembled for an attack on Desire Trench.  They advanced in thick
fog at 16.25 hrs, but lost direction after reaching Stuff Trench.   The mud
was deep and the men could not get free of it, so the attack swung to the
left and was later abandoned.

Officially the "Battle of the Somme" took place between 1st July 1916 and
the 18th November 1916, but it was still an unhealthy place to be between
then and the new offensives to the Hindenburg Line in the Spring of 1917. 
Nine men from the 9th Bn, Cheshire Rgt died that one day alone and in total
229 died that day.  He was reported as 'Missing' (after operations) in the
Field between the 16th and the 21st November 1916.   His Memorial Scroll
and King's Message was sent to his mother - Elizabeth Skelhorn at Box 163,
Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada.

Mrs Mostyn who lived at 40 Police St, Altrincham.   Archie Skelhorn was her
eldest brother.   Her husband was serving in the South Lancashire Rgt.  
Her two other brothers - Private Samuel Skelhorn, Cheshire Rgt and Private
Thomas Skelhorn, Canadians had also been killed.   Her youngest brother -
Private Matthew Skelhorn was a POW.    Her brother in Law - Private John
Houghton was also serving at the front.   See local newspaper report

Buried together in a Battlefield Trench burial with Lance Corporal F.V.
Jackson from The Queen's Rgt who died on the 18th.    M.I. - "His duty
nobly done, that's something to remember".

Listed in the Guardian Year Book - Roll of Honour for 1918.

Memorials found on:
St. Margaret's (Dunham Massey)
Altrincham & District Roll of Honour
Trinity Presbyterian Church
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