Contributed by: Andrew Nesbit, on 2008-11-10
|Year of Birth||1899|
|Year of Death||1983|
|Regiment||King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Somerset Light Infantry|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland|
I have been fortunate to inherit the surviving papers of my grandfather and have tried to piece together his war. My grandmother always hated him talking about the war, perhaps because of other relatives who failed to come back.
I know that he is likely to have joined up in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1917. He turned 18 in July of that year and I have a certified extract from the birth register dated 14/3/1917, presumably to prove that he was old enough to volunteer. Next I have a letter to my great-grandfather from a Capt. R.H. Dodds (B) Garr Batt. K.O.Y.L.I. Bere Island Co. Cork, dated 23 June 1918, saying that he had looked up 51705 Pte W Skelly of "D"Coy and found him 'most happy, has made a number of friends, and seems in every way to be enjoying a soldier's life".
However, the next paperwork I have for him shows him in France (6/9/1918) with "C" Coy, 11th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, Regt number 44770 (18/10/1918). He was promoted to L/Cpl 3/1/19, and surrendered his right to early demobilisation 1/11/1919. My mum has a photo of my grandfather outside Versaille in 1919 with a cap badge that looks like that of the SLI.