John Russell Skinner
John Russell Skinner, Enlistment No. 357, Corporal in the 16th Battalion. He enlisted 21st September 1914 at Blackboy Hill. He was born at Fermoy, Cork, Ireland in 1881 to parents Col. James Tierney Quincy Skinner (deceased) and Jessie Rose Ellen Leake. His occupation was given as teamster. Jack embarked from Melbourne on the 22nd of December 1914 on HMAT “Ceramic”. The 16th Battalion went to Egypt first for training then did further training on Lemnos and Mudros in preparation for landing at the Dardanelles. Jack survived the landing at Gallipoli in April but on the 1st of May 1915 he suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of his face near his ear and was evacuated to Number 1 Hospital. Initially his wound healed and he returned to duty on Gallipoli on the 1st June 1915 for 3 months suffering some stiffness in his jaw.
On the 19th July 1915 he was appointed Corporal but a month later he suffered Otitis Media and returned to the 1st General Hospital then was transferred to Helouan Cairo to a Convalescent Hospital. Two operations followed to remove shrapnel from his face but he had deafness in his left ear and problems being able to chew properly. His condition was referred to as “Furnunculosis” (a series of recurring boils due to bacterial infection) and he was repatriated back to Australia on the “Karoola” leaving Cairo on the 14th February 1916 to enable further treatment back in Australia.
Jack was discharged from the army on the 5th December 1916 and returned to his occupation as teamster at Bullfinch near Southern Cross. Jack then tried his hand as an orchardist first in Kalamunda, then Darlington, in the early 1920’s where he transported his mother’s cottage from Kalamunda and placed it on the property he had bought at Darlington.
“Jack” Skinner’s “Brook Cottage” in Darlington 1970’s courtesy Caroline Grayston
Jack’s mother died in Darlington in early 1923 and it appears that Jack then returned to Bullfinch where he did some gold prospecting and horse breeding. In mid-1925 Jack became ill with pneumonia and at his request, his older sister Mollie, who was a nurse, came to the Southern Cross Hospital to help nurse him. Jack died from a thrombosis due to his war wound shortly after she arrived. His death notice from the family mentions his 9 years of suffering from the after effects of his wounding at Gallipoli. He was buried at the Southern Cross Cemetery with a small plaque to mark his grave.
John Russell Skinner’s grave at Southern Cross 1925
Courtesy of Lyn Myles