6th May 1888 - 19th September 1916 (age 28)
10th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
The fourth Sowerby man to die in France during the fourday period 15th - 19th September 1916 was Waldo Skipsey. The Skipsey family lived on Topcliffe Road, Sowerby where their father, William, traded as a market gardener or fruiter seedsman. Today there is a building named Skipsey's Hayloft on the left of Topcliffe Road and it is likely that the family business was there during the early 1900's.
Waldo was the second son among 12 surviving children (one had died). He joined Sowerby Infants School on 6th March 1893 and it is evident that he later joined the Sowerby Church Lads' Brigade. In 1911 he was living in West Hartlepool and showing his occupation as a domestic gardener. Waldo enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment in Northallerton and later transferred to the 10th KOYLI.
Waldo Skipsey - copied from Thirsk, Royal British Legion display case
On 17th September, the battalion was in Flers trench where they were bombarded all day by enemy artillery during which time 88 other ranks were injured. As a routine, wounded men were transported back via advanced dressing stations to casualty clearing stations and then to hospitals well behind the lines. Emergency medical treatment, often very intensive, would be given at any of those points depending on the individual case. One casualty clearing station was located at Merricourt-L'Abbe in the Somme valley next to Heilly Station from which wounded soldiers were transported by train. It would appear that Waldo was one of the 88 wounded on 17th September and died two days later at the casualty clearing station. There being little space or time to prepare graves many were doubled in the plots, so Waldo shares his grave with another soldier, at Heilly Station Cemetery, Merricourt-L'Abbe plot 1V.E.47.
The headstone of Waldo Skipsey shared with another soldier at Mericourt-L'Abbe
Waldo is also remembered on his mother's gravestone is St Oswald's churchyard (plot I 15):
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MARY,
BELOVED WIFE OF WILLIAM SKIPSEY
DIED 14 JAN 1925 AGED 66 YEARS.
ALSO OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED
DIED 8 JANUARY 1930 AGED 79 YEARS.
ALSO OF PTE WALDO ALLAN SKIPSEY, K.O.Y.L.I.,
2ND SON OF THE ABOVE
WHO DIED OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION
19TH SEPT 1916 AGED 28 YEARS.
Waldo's mother's gravestone in St Oswald's churchyard
The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.
Information about Waldo Allen Skipsey on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Information about Waldo Allen Skipsey on the War Graves Photographic Project website
Information about Waldo Allen Skipsey on the Yorkshire Regiment - First World War Remembrance website
Part of the St Oswald's Church website