WWI Roll of Honour
Frank Skelton was born on 17 April 1898, the son of William and Fanny Skelton of Roundhay, Leeds. He was educated at newly-opened Willaston School in Nantwich, a small public school. He gained an Exhibition to study Medicine at Downing College in March 1916, passing the Previous Examination in June and matriculating in the Michaelmas term that year.
While at Downing, he trained with the University’s Officer Training Corps till January 1917, when he was given a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, 28th Squadron. He managed to keep two terms’ residence and passed Part III of the first M.B. The verses below, written by Frank between June 1916 and October 1917 as he left England for the Front, were printed in the Michaelmas 1917 issue of the College magazine, ‘The Griffin’.
2nd Lt Skelton was killed in action on 21 October 1917, at the age of 19, only a few weeks after arriving at the Front. He was buried in Mendingham Military Cemetery in Belgium. The last words on his headstone are Downing College’s motto ‘Quaerere Verum’, meaning ‘Seek the Truth’.
After his death, his parents paid for a commemorative window in the Memorial Hall of Willaston School.
Verses by Frank Skelton reproduced in the Michaelmas 1917 issue of ‘The Griffin'
Frank Skelton memorial window, Willaston School, courtesy of Bill Pearson
‘The Griffin’, Michaelmas 1917