Stanley Herbert SKIPPER

SKIPPER, Stanley Herbert

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 27 July 1917
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 1st to 6th (SA) Reinforcements
Born: Adelaide South Australia, 8 February 1880
Home Town: North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Pulteney Grammar School, Adelaide South Australia
Occupation: Solicitor and Barrister
Died: North Adelaide. South Australia , 27 January 1962, aged 81 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Payneham Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board (1), Adelaide Members of the Legal Profession & Students at Law WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide Pulteney Grammar School WW1 & WW2 Honour Board, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Hackney St Peter's College Honour Board, North Adelaide Christ Church Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

27 Jul 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Officer, Reinforcements WW1
31 Aug 1918: Involvement 1st to 6th (SA) Reinforcements, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '20' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Barambah embarkation_ship_number: A37 public_note: ''
31 Aug 1918: Embarked 1st to 6th (SA) Reinforcements, HMAT Barambah, Melbourne
19 Oct 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant

Help us honour Stanley Herbert Skipper's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Paul Lemar

STANLEY HERBERT SKIPPER was the son of Spencer John SKIPPER and Emma Frances COX and was born on the 8th of February 1880 in College Town, SA.

His parents were married on the 9th of January 1878 in the Congregational Church, Gawler.


His father was the son of John Michael SKIPPER & Frances Amelia THOMAS and was born on the 21st of May 1847 in Adelaide.


His grandfather, John Michael SKIPPER was the son of a lawyer of high standing in Norwich, England, but after service in the Honourable East India Company he arrived in South Australia in 1836 and married Frances Amelia THOMAS, eldest daughter of Mr. Robert THOMAS, who founded the “South Australian Register”.


His mother, Emma was the daughter of Christopher John COX and Anne HEWITT and was baptised on the 23rd of January 1854 in St Michael’s Church, Stamford, Lincoln, England. She had immigrated to South Australia with her parents aboard the “Hastings” in 1856 and her family had moved to Gawler. Her father founded C. COX Coach Painters, House Decorator, Glazier, Paperhanger, Signwriter & Gilder in Murray Street, Gawler.


The family moved to Semaphore, where Stanley’s father, Spencer was employed by the “South Australian Register” and was then appointed shipping reporter for The Advertiser and Register. He was a prolific writer of verse and humorous paragraphs. He was a member of the old Artillery Force and was associated with the late Captain Gray in the formation of the Rifle Volunteer Force at a time in the history of the State when the question of defence was much neglected.

He was also the Boer war correspondent.


In 1900 the family moved to Rose Park and Stanley was educated at Pulteney Street School, the Collegiate School of St Peter and the University of Adelaide where he won three Stow prizes and the Stow medal.

He was admitted to the Supreme Court as a barrister and solicitor on the 25th of November 1901 and practiced law in Port Adelaide.

Stanley served for 2 years in the South Australian Infantry Regiment from 1900 to 1902.


Stanley married Kathleen Elizabeth BEACH on the 28th of September 1910 in the St Clement's Church of England, Mosman, Sydney.

Passionately interested in libraries, Stanley was president of the Port Adelaide Institute from 1911 to 1912.

After moving to the city, Stanley joined the North Adelaide Institute. In 1910 he helped form the Institutes Association of South Australia; he served on its council from 1910 to 1962 and as its president from 1943 to 1945.

In 1910, Stanley formed the Commonwealth Club of Adelaide.


Stanley & Kathleen welcomed their first child into the family; Frederick Garnham, on the 28th of February 1912 in College Park, followed by another son; Justin Way, on the 3rd of May 1914 in Stangway Terrace, North Adelaide.


On the 2nd of April 1915 their third son; John Peter, was born in Stangway Terrace, North Adelaide. Sadly, little John only lived for 24 hours, they buried him in the West Terrace Cemetery; Road 4.



In 1915 Stanley joined the 78th Infantry Battalion, A Company (Adelaide East) and was made 1st Lieutenant on the 1st of January 1916. From the 24th of October 1916 to the 5th of January 1917 he was entrained at Mitcham and became the Military Prosecutor from the 5th of January to the 15th of March 1917.

At the age of 37, Stanley enlisted into the AIF on the 27th of June 1917 in Adelaide and was allotted the service number S13108. He listed his wife as next of kin.

He was struck of strength on the 8th of August 1918 as he received a commissioned role with the 5th General Reinforcements “S.U.K” in Mitcham.

It was during this time that they moved to 60 Jeffcott Street, North Adelaide.


Stanley from Melbourne aboard the H.M.A.T “Barambah” on the 31st of August 1918 and disembarked at London on the 14th of November 1918 as a 2nd Lieutenant.

He was entrained at No. 2 Training Brigade in Codford for 4 weeks then to duty at the Repatriation & Demobilization Depot in London Headquarters for staff duties.

In February 1919, Stanley was transferred to France to the Australian Base Depot in Havre.

He was on leave with pay for 2 months from the 2nd of June 1919 due to Court duty in London.

Stanley disembarked in Melbourne on the 13th of December 1919 aboard the “Wahehe”

He was discharged on the 30th of December 1919 owing to the termination of period of his enlistment.


Their last son; John Stark, was born on the 13th of October 1921 in Konetta, Rest Home, North Adelaide.


Stanley was a lifelong supporter of the Port Adelaide Football Club and became president of the club from 1922 to 1925.

He was president of the local Commonwealth Club of Adelaide from 1923 to 1926.

Their sons were all educated at St Peter’s College.


Stanley served in the Military as a legal officer from 1923 to 1940 and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

By 1933, their eldest son moved to Hartwood Station, Conargo, NSW where he was employed as a jackeroo.


Stanley & Kathleen would have been so proud when their son; Justin, followed in his father’s footsteps by attending the Adelaide University and studying law and became a solicitor. After being admitted to the Supreme Court in April 1938, he joined Stanley in the family practice in Pt Adelaide.


Stanley sat on the board of the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia from 1934 to 1939 and on the Libraries Board of South Australia from 1940 to 1962.

By 1939 they moved to 18 North East Road, Walkerville and their youngest son; John Stark, attended the Adelaide University to study Medicine.


Their second son; Justin Way, enlisted into the 10th Battalion in May 1939 allotted the service number 308600. He was appointed Lieutenant on the 1st of May 1940. Justin was entrained at Woodside and posted to the 2/27th Battalion on the 22nd of May 1940 and allotted the service number SX2926. The Battalion left Woodside by train for Melbourne on the 19th of October.

On the 21st of October 1940 Justin embarked from Melbourne aboard the “H.M.T Mouretania” disembarking in Egypt on the 24th of November. They moved straight to Palestine to complete their training. The Battalion occupied positions at Maaten Bagush and Matruh throughout much of April and May 1941, before returning to Palestine in preparation for its first offensive operation - the invasion of Syria and Lebanon, which began on the 8th of June 1941.

On the 3rd of July 1941 Justin was promoted to Temporary Captain.

The Battalion was employed in the drive north along the Lebanon coast but most of its operations were outflanking moves in the hills that edged the coastal plain. Its major actions were at Adloun on the 11th of June, Miyeoumiye on the 13th and 14th of June and around El Boum, as part of the battle of Damour, between the 6th and the 9th of July.

After the armistice on the 12th of July, Justin remained in Lebanon as part of the Allied garrison until the 11th of January 1942.


Stanley & Kathleen would have been very relieved to know that Justin was safe and had embarked from Egypt for Australia on the 30th of January 1942.

Whilst Justin was returning to Australia, their eldest son; Frederick Garnham, enlisted into the 7 Supply Company on the 3rd of February 1942 and allotted the service number S50501. Frederick was discharged, medically unfit, on the 16th of March 1942.

On the 30th of March 1942 Frederick married Margaret Jane DUNCAN (eldest daughter of Sir Walter DUNCAN, the wealthy and influential pastoralist and politician) in the Scotts Church, North Terrace and Justin was home in time to be the Best Man.

After Frederick & Margaret married they moved to Manunda Station, Peterborough.


Stanley & Kathleen would not have been relieved for long as Justin’s stay in Australia, however, was brief as the 2/27th Battalion arrived at Port Moresby, Papua, on the 14th of August 1942 and by the 6th of September they were in position at Mission Ridge on the Kokoda Trail preparing to meet the relentless advance of the Japanese. The battalion held on to its positions for two days before being forced to pull out by a Japanese outflanking move that cut the Trail behind it. A grim 2 week withdrawal through the jungle, with little food, followed. Sick and exhausted, the 2/27th re-joined the main Australian force at Jawarere, 40 kilometers east of Port Moresby, on the 22nd of September.

After a period of rest and retraining the Battalion returned to action at Gona on the 28th of November.

Captain Justin SKIPPER received news at 0900 on the morning of the 29th that the 2/14th had taken many casualties and that the 2/27th Battalion were to take over the role of advancing on Gona.

In the process of the attack Justin was Killed in Action on the 29th of November 1942, at Gona, aged 28 years. Justin’s body was recovered on the 9th of December and he was reburied in the Soputa War Cemetery, Grave M.A.13. (The Soputa War Cemetery was a temporary Australian War Cemetery for the casualties of Gona and Sananandra).

At the end of the war his body was later exhumed and he was reburied in the Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby; B5, E, 15.

Justin’s mate, Captain Ronald Johnson later wrote, “Justin was right on the post, urging his chaps on when he fell. He was killed instantly. He died as only the very bravest die – the only way worthy of such a gallant soldier.”


By 1942 they had moved to Flat 5 “Kingsmead”, Brougham Place, North Adelaide.           

From 1944 to 1946 Stanley was president of the Naval and Military Club and an active member of the Returned Sailor’s and Soldier’s Imperial League of Australia.


On the 18th of July 1945, their youngest son, John Stark, enlisted into the Australian Army Medical Corp’s as a Captain and was posted to Japan in February 1946, but before leaving, he married Elizabeth (Betsy) HOLDEN on the 12th of February 1946.


In 1947 as a tribute to Justin, Stanley & Kathleen commissioned the “Justin Skipper Prize” the Adelaide University Law School Prize.

In 1948 Stanley was elected to the Adelaide Club.


Stanley was appointed C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1960.

Stanley died on the 27th of January 1962 in North Adelaide and is buried in the Payneham Cemetery.