SKINNER, Ernest Lee

Service Number: 5190
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 3rd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Heston, Hounslow, Brentford, Middlesex, England, 4 November 1889
Home Town: Mount Barker, Plantagenet Shire, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Orchardist
Died: Accidental (Gun shot wound), Hampshire, United Kingdom, Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom, 13 August 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Tidworth Military Cemetery, England
Row C, Grave No. 312, Tidworth Military Cemetery, Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Albany & Districts Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mount Barker (WA) War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

31 Mar 1916: Involvement Private, 5190, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Shropshire embarkation_ship_number: A9 public_note: ''
31 Mar 1916: Embarked Private, 5190, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Shropshire, Fremantle
24 Jan 1918: Honoured Military Medal, 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 9
13 Aug 1918: Involvement Sergeant, 5190, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 5190 awm_unit: 3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion awm_rank: Sergeant awm_died_date: 1918-08-13

Help us honour Ernest Lee Skinner's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Births Dec 1888  Skinner Ernest Lee Brentford 3a 56

Next of kin - Father, Thomas Ambrose Steigenberger Skinner of Semaphore, South Australia [1860–1939]

His mother was Eveline Maud  Skinner -nee Lee [1863–1937]



Thomas Skinner-1885–1971

Florence Eveline Skinner Jukes-1887–1965 

Augusta May Skinner Miles- 1892–1985

Harriett Gladys Olive Skinner Brodie-1900–1988

Henry Lee Skinner 1902–1944

Enlisted January 1916

Rank on enlistment Private
16th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
Unit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 31 March 1916-he was 27 at this time.
Rank from Nominal Roll-Sergeant.

Unit from Nominal Roll 3rd Machine Gun Battalion

Awarded the Military Medal-gazetted 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 9 - 24 January 1918.

Deaths Sep 1918 Skinner Ernest L 29 Andover 2c 277






Biography contributed by Cathy Sedgwick

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland”

Died on this date – 13th August…… Ernest Lee Skinner was born at Heston, near London, Middlesex, England on 4th November, 1888.

According to information in a newspaper article – Ernest Lee Skinner came to Australia with his family when he was 18 months old.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 6th January, 1916 as a 27 year old, single, Orchardist from Mount Barker, Western Australia.

Private Ernest Lee Skinner, Service number 5190, embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia on HMAT Shropshire (A9) on 31st March, 1916 with the 16th Infantry Battalion, 16th Reinforcements.

On 24th April, 1916 Private Skinner was left at Suez – “on guard” at Tel-el-Kebir.

He was transferred to Cyclists Corps on 15th May, 1916 & was posted to 4th Division Cyclists Company on 18th May, 1916.

Private  Skinner embarked from Alexandria on H.M.T. Britton & disembarked at Plymouth, England (no dates recorded).

Reinforcements were only given basic training in Australia. Training was completed in training units in England. Some of these were located in the Salisbury Plain & surrounding areas in the county of Wiltshire.

He was marched out from Cyclists Training Battalion in England on 7th September, 1916 to 28th Battalion.

On 23rd September, 1916 Private Skinner was taken on strength of 44th Battalion in England from 28th Battalion.

Private Ernest Lee Skinner was written up for an Offence at Larkhill, Wiltshire – A.W.L. (Absent without Leave) from midnight on 3rd November, 1916 to 6.30 am on 6th November, 1916. He was awarded 3 days Field Punishment No. 2 by Commanding Officer of 44th Battalion on 8th November, 1916 & a total forfeiture of 6 days’ pay.

He proceeded overseas to France via Southampton on 25th November, 1916.

On 7th December, 1916 Private Skinner was attached for instruction to 11th Australian Machine Gun Company & was detached from duty on 20th July, 1917.


Private Ernest Lee Skinner was awarded the Military Medal on 16th August, 1917 in connection with Messines Offensive Operations on 31st July, 1917.

He was transferred to 11th Machine Gun Company on 8th October, 1917 from 44th Battalion. Private Skinner was taken on strength of 11th Machine Gun Company on 8th October, 1917 & was promoted to Temporary Corporal the same day.

Temporary Corporal Skinner was promoted to Corporal on 1st December, 1917 vice Kilpatrick promoted. He was promoted to Temporary Sergeant on 1st December, 1917 vice Norman evacuated sick.

On 19th December, 1917 Temporary Sergeant Skinner was marched out for Anti-Aircraft duty. He was detached to Brigade N.C.O. School from 27th December, 1917 & rejoined his Unit from detachment on 5th January, 1918. Temporary Sergeant Skinner rejoined his Unit from School on 19th January, 1918.

He was promoted to Sergeant in the Field on 26th February, 1918 vice Sergeant Norman evacuated sick to Hospital on 22nd October, 1917.

Sergeant Skinner proceeded to join Machine Gun Training School in England on 28th February, 1918. He was marched in to Machine Gun Training Depot at Grantham, England on 3rd March, 1918 from France.

On 22nd June, 1918 Sergeant Skinner was sent to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford, Wiltshire  with “VD 42”. He was admitted to Military Hospital, Bulford on the same day with a Cyst on Penis. The Medical card recorded he had contracted VD in London with a prostitute 23 days prior. Sergeant Skinner was discharged on 27th June, 1918. (Note: These details are included as it may have been a contributing factor in his death).

He was examined at Parkhouse, Wiltshire on 28th June, 1918 & was found fit.


Sergeant Ernest Lee Skinner’s body was found in Tidworth Wood, Wiltshire, England on 17th August, 1918.

A Telegram was sent from Tidworth on 18th August, 1918 to Administrative Headquarters AIF. London advising “Body of 5190 Sgt SKINNER. A.M.M. 11th Machine Gun Coy found in Tidworth wood last night AAA Inquest being held probably Monday 19th inst AAA.”

(Details of Inquest can be found in the full research – see link below)

Finding of the Jury:

“The said Ernest Lee Skinner, a male of the age of 29 years, between the thirteenth day of August and the fifteenth day of AUGUST in the year aforesaid, was killed by the discharged of a bullet from a revolver, but whether such discharge was intentionally or accidental the said jury say that in their opinion, there is not sufficient evidence to show.”


His death is recorded for 13th August, 1918.

Sergeant Ernest Lee Skinner was buried on 20th August, 1918 in Tidworth Military Cemetery, Wiltshire, England – Plot number C. 312 and has a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.


(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)