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  • Le Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France (3743 casualties).
Person Details
Alfred Skinner was born in 1888 the son of the late George a lace worker and Eliza Skinner née Drake of 2 Wellington Terrace, Woodborough Road, Nottingham. George was born in 1850 at Lambley, he died in 1902 aged 52 yrs, Eliza Drake was born in 1853 at Bury St Edmunds, they were married on 9th April 1871 at St Mathews Church, Sneinton, they went on to have 8 children In 1911 the family were living at 2 Wellington Terrace, Woodoborough Road, Eliza is 58 yrs and a lace finisher, she is living with 3 of her children. Alfred married Grace Smedley (born 30th September 1888) in 1911 at Nottingham, they lived at 301 Alfred Street Central, Nottingham and had a daughter Doris born 3rd May 1914. Following his death his widow was awarded 15 shillings a week commencing 13th April 1915.
He was a packing case maker.
20 Sep 1914
724068 - CWGC Website
Lance Corporal
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Lance Corporal Alfred Skinner enlisted in Nottingham on 28th March 1906. and served with 'A' Coy 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters, landing in France on 8th September 1914 he was killed in action on 20th September 1914, when his battalion was ordered to retake trenches taken by the Germans at the head of the Troyon Valley, France, during the Battle of the Aisne. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial. ‘The 2nd Foresters had served in India 1882-1898,’ writes John Cotterill, ‘returning home in 1902 via garrison duty in Aden and Malta. They led a peripatetic life in the UK serving on the Isle of Wight, in Aldershot, in various small garrisons in Ireland, in Plymouth and railway strike breaking in Derby in 1911 before arriving at Hillsborough Barracks in Sheffield in 1912. Here they mobilised 4/8/14 as part of 18 Brigade in 6 Division. As with most home based units they were under strength in peacetime so were composed of 40% reservists on mobilisation. Initially only four divisions were sent over the channel with 4th and 6th Divisions held back on coastal defence duties. As the threat of an early German invasion receded these two remaining divisions were deployed with 2nd Foresters, 930 men strong, arrived in St Nazaire on 11 Sept 1914. By this time the retreat from Mons was over and, indeed, on 12 Sept 1914 the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) began its advance from the River Marne to battle on the River Aisne.’ 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (71st Bde, 6th Division) mobilised 4/8/1914 and disembarked at St Nazaire on September 11th. Hough was killed during the battalion’s first Great War action in the Aisne valley which the BEF needed to cross before attempting to take the strategically commanding Chemin des Dames high ground. On September 20th, they were in reserve north of Troyon. As other British units fell back, according to John Cotterill, ‘a request for help reached the 2nd Foresters... at 1400.’ first by A and C Coys led by Captains Parkinson and Popham, reinforced by ‘B’ and ‘D’’ Coys with most of the Westphalians fleeing before the Foresters’ bayonets.’ The unit war diary (TNA WO95/1616/3/1) records the dramatic action: ‘the enemy were seen to have taken trenches on the right of the British line on the ridge at the head of the Troyon Valley – the most vital point in the line of defence. The battalion moved out to re-take the trenches. A German column was seen to be marching off prisoners...The advance was met by a very heavy machine gun fire from the front and left flank which caused many casualties, the ground being devoid of cover and very cramped... a general advance was made with great dash and in spite of heavy losses the trenches were re-taken. The battalion then prepared to hold the trenches... This was a most important action as the safety of the British right and the bridge over the R. Aisne at Bourg depended on the maintenance of the trenches. All ranks behaved splendidly.’ The war diary estimated 180 2nd Bn casualties in the action of 20th September 1914. 49 men from the unit, including 25 commemorated on this website, were killed that day (CWGC Debt of Honour Register). 38 of these dead have no known grave and are commemorated on the Le Ferte-sous-Jouarre memorial to the missing and the remaining 11 are divided between cemeteries at Chauny, Sissone and Vendresse. Military Research by David Nunn and John Cotterill
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged) 15 October 1914: SKINNER killed in action September 20th, Lance Corporal Alfred Skinner, 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters, husband of Grace Skinner, 301, Alfred Street Central.
Remembered on


  • Le Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France (3743 casualties).
    Photo David Nunn - Le Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France (3743 casualties).