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John Skelton

Date of birth: 12.10.1923
Date of death: 6.12.1944
Area: Knottingley
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Family information: Son of Harry Skelton and Mary Elizabeth nee Jackson
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Service number: 1697217

War Service

Flight Sergeant John Skelton (Air Gunner) of 186 Squadron died on 6th December 1944 age 21. He was returning from a bombing mission in Lancaster Bomber DV191. He was buried in Brussels Town Cemetery Evere, Vlaams-Brabant Belgium Plot X, Row 26, Grave 39.
He took part in the Peenemunde Raid 17 August 1943, one of the most important bombing raids of the war to destroy V2 rocket programme.
Pontefract & Castleford Express 9 April 1944 p3 (with photo)
The Distinguished Flying Medal has been awarded to Air Gunner Flight Sergeant J Skelton RAF., the son of Mr H Skelton of 8 Northfield Avenue, England’s Lane, Knottingley. Twenty one years of age Flight Sergeant Skelton has been in the RAF for about two years. He was formerly a glassworker at Knottingley. The announcement of the award states that as an air gunner he has completed a successful tour of operations against most of the heavily defended targets in Germany, and the more distant targets in Italy. Throughout he has displayed courage and fortitude of a high order and, by valuable assistance given to his captain, has played a large part in the many successes achieved. On a recent sortie, when the nose of the aircraft was knocked off, despite intense cold of 40 degrees below zero, the fine team spirit, courage and determination displayed by this airman and his companions, enabled the captain to fly the crippled bomber back to base. Sergeant Skelton has been home on leave this week.”
Pontefract & Castleford Express 6 April 1945 p5 (with photo)
The death is reported of Flight Sergeant John Skelton DFM, the son of Mr H Skelton of Westfield Road, Knottingley and the late Mrs Skelton. Ft Sgt Skelton who was 21 was reported missing last December when the crew of the aeroplane, in which he was returning from a bombing mission, had to bale out because of unfavourable weather. All the crew except Skelton were saved, but he, his father has been informed, was found dead in a field by a French peasant and is buried in Brussels. Last April Flight Sergt Skelton was awarded the DFM as a member of a crew which by courage and determination enabled the pilot to bring home, in temperatures 40 degrees below zero, a bomber which had its nose shot off. Before enlisting he was a glass worker at Bagley‘s, Knottingley, and was educated at the Church of England School.”
Pontefract & Castleford Express 10 May 1946:
Mr W S Skelton and his sister Mrs Taylor of Westfield Road to receive DFM awarded to his son [?] Flight Sergeant John Skelton RAFVR.”

Family Life

John Skelton was born on 12th October 1923 and was baptised on 18th November 1923 at Christ Church, Knottingley. He was the son of Henry Skelton, a Miner and Mary Elizabeth (nee Jackson), who had married on 12th July 1903 at St Giles Church, Pontefract.

rows of white gravestones line a grass strip with trees in the background Brussels Town Cemetery

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