Ipswich WW1 soldier's grave rededicated after 104 years

Rededication for Frederick Herbert Skinner's grave

The rededication service for Cpl Skinner was attended by soldiers of The Yorkshire Regiment and The Royal Welsh/Corporal Frederick Herbert Skinner (Courtesy of the Skinner family) - Credit: Crown Copyright/Skinner Family

The family of a Suffolk-born soldier killed in the First World War has seen his grave rededicated after more than 100 years. 

Corporal Frederick Herbert Skinner was buried at the Nieppe-Bois, British Cemetery in northern France 104 years ago, but the marker over his grave was damaged, meaning his identity could not be determined.

His headstone read “Corporal - East Yorkshire Regiment. Name unknown. 25th June 1918. Known unto God”.

A researcher has, however, recently identified Cpl Skinner as the likely occupant of the grave, and further research by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the National Army Museum and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre Commemorations team confirmed it was the grave of the war hero.

Kevin Knights, the great nephew of Cpl Skinner, stands at the graveside with the Reverend Ben Norton CF.

Kevin Knights, the great nephew of Cpl Skinner, stands at the graveside with the Reverend Ben Norton CF. - Credit: Crown Copyright

Cpl Skinner was born in Hadleigh, Suffolk in 1891, and later moved to Ipswich. He was killed in action during the First World War at the age of 26. 

He served with the 11th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment, formerly serving 18658 Suffolk Regiment. 

Cpl Skinner’s younger brother, Cyril Skinner, became the Mayor of Ipswich in 1971 

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Frederick Albert Skinner, Cpl Skinner’s son, died October 13, 1943, as a result of the Second World War at just 32 years old. He was laid to rest at Ipswich New Cemetery. 

Cpl Skinner's great nephew, Kevin Knights, originally from Ipswich, travelled from his home in Bermuda to attend the service. He said: "He had no known grave for over 100 years, so it was an incredible experience when we discovered that he had been found.

Kevin Knights gives a reading at the rededication service for his great uncle Cpl Skinner.

Kevin Knights gives a reading at the rededication service for his great uncle Cpl Skinner. - Credit: Crown Copyright

"It was an immense privilege to join with others to pay respect, give thanks for his sacrifice and witness the farewell he so richly deserved. 

"We would like to say a huge thank you to the GWGC, MOD War Detectives, and all of those who helped to identify Frederick’s final resting place.

"Also, to all those who arranged and participated in the rededication to make this such a special day."

"His grave can now be visited by members of our family to ensure he is never forgotten."