JOHN ROBERT SKEET

Born: 1873, Claydon, Suffolk.

Died: 10th January 1900: age: 27; Died from Wounds received at Suffolk Hill, Colesberg, on the 6th January 1900.

Residence: Claydon, Suffolk.

 

Rank: Private; Service Number: 2948.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.

 

Clasp Awarded: Cape Colony.

 

1881   The Street, Claydon, Suffolk.

 

John was 8 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Charles Skeet, 41, an Agricultural Labourer, born Barham, Suffolk.

Mary Skeet (nee Topple), 33, born Little Soham, Suffolk.

Eliza Skeet, 9, born Claydon.

Lucy Jane Skeet, 5 , born Claydon.

Violet Mary Skeet, 4, born Claydon.

Amy Skeet, born Claydon.

Bertie Herbert Skeet, 1, born Claydon.

 

1891   Barracks, Newmarket Road, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

John was 19 years old, a Soldier ranked Private for the Depot – Suffolk Regiment.

 

UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy.

John was 15 years old, when his Apprentice Indenture began on the 23rd May 1887, at Lowestoft, Suffolk. Part of Term for which Bound – 6 years – expires 1893 – J. White. John’s Apprentice Indenture was cancelled on the 30th January 1888.

 

In 1883, John’s father, Charles Skeet abandoned his family.

 

E.A.D.T – Thursday, 25th October 1883 – NEEDHAM MARKET – PETTY SESSIONS

On Wednesday, 24th October 1883, before the Reverend Francis Steward (chairman), and the Reverend John George Pooley, Charles Skeet, a labourer, of Claydon, was brought up under remand and charged with leaving his seven children chareable to the Bosmere and Claydon Union. Charles Skeet pleaded Guilty and was sentenced to two months’ Hard Labour.

 

Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 1st March 1884 – NEEDHAM MARKET – APPLICATION FOR MAINTENANCE ORDER.

At the Needham Market Town Hall, Wednesday, 27th February 1884, before the Reverend Francis Steward (chairman) and Captain Mileson Edgar, Charles Skeet, a labourer, of Claydon, was charged with neglecting his wife and children, whereby they became chargeable to the Bosmere and Claydon Union. Mr. Samuel Gooding, clerk to the Bosmere and Claydon Board of Guardians, prosecuted. Mr. Gooding showed that the defendant had neglected his family so that they had been chargeable to the Union since December 24th. He had been in considerable trouble, and on the 24th October 1883, Charles had been committed for two months for similarly running away. His earnings were 17s. a-week. Mr. Roger, master of the Bosmere Union house, deposed to the family being in the Workhouse. One of the children was in the St. John’s Home, where the cost of maintenance was 6s. a-week. He had applied to the defendant for payment, but he had only paid one instalment of 6s. He had told the defendant that he must take his family out, or enter the house himself. Charles Skeet, who did not appear, was committed for one month.

 

From May until November 1885, Charles Skeet was reported in the Poor-Law Unions’ Gazette, which sought information on his whereabouts as he was legally chargeable to the poor rates:

CHARLES SKEET, formerly of Claydon, Suffolk, about 40 years of age, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches in height, brown hair, whickers and moustache, of dirty appearance, swaggering walk, supposed to be in the neighbourhood of Dovercourt, Essex; last seen about 27th February 1884. Seven children.

 

On the 1891 census, John’s brother, Bertie, 10, was an inmate at the Bosmere and Claydon Union Workhouse. His sisters, Violet, 15, and Amy, 14, were training in domestic service at the Girl’s Training School at Wrentham, Suffolk.

 

John’s sister, Violet Skeet, a domestic servant in London, died Monday, 14th January 1895, of pleurisy which induced heart failure. Violet was 19 years of age.

 

 

One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.

The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

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