PRIVATE THOMAS JAMES SKIPPER
7TH JANUARY 1918 AGE 45
BURIED: COMPTON CHAMBERLAYNE CEMETERY, WILTSHIRE, UK
Private Skipper was 5 ft 6 inches tall according to his medical records, not that little by the standards of the day. His brother, Michael John Skipper, his next of kin, chose his inscription. They sound like Thomas James' own words.
Thomas James Skipper was 43 when he enlisted in 1916 - comparatively old. His brother said he was an accountant, Skipper himself said he was a gold prospector. He had certainly been a prospector; there's a newspaper cutting from The Daily News, Perth, dated 21 September 1899, showing his claim to a parcel of land under the terms of The Goldfields Act 1895. There's no indication he made any money from it.
Skipper enlisted in February 1916 and embarked for France the following November. He served with the 51st Infantry Battalion and on 2 April 1917 was wounded in action with a gunshot wound in his knee. He was hospitalised in Britain he was never again fit for active service and in July 1917 was posted permanently to the No 3 Command Depot at Hurdcott, Wiltshire.
On 31 December 1917, he became seriously ill. Admitted to the military hospital at Fovant, he died on January 7th of phthisis, tuberculosis.
In his own words, he had done his best.
Much of this information comes from the Compton Chamberlayne War Graves site.