The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. S H Skinner
Stanley Hewitt Skinner was born on 13th March 1911 in Finchley. His father would later be the proprietor of the firm publishing Skinner's trade directories. In 1968 his father became Sir (Thomas) Gordon Skinner, third Baronet. He had served as an officer in the RAF in the last months of the Great War.
Skinner SH must have joined the family business as in the 1939 Census he gave his address as International Sportsmens Club, Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1 and occupation Publisher.
SH Skinner joined 604 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in 1934. He was called to full-time service on 25th August 1939 and served as a pilot with 604 in the Battle of Britain.
Above: he was married in April 1941.
On 19th August 1942 Skinner, now Acting Wing Commander, was serving as RAF Observer at Combined Operations Headquarters.
He was aboard the destroyer HMS Berkeley when it was turning away from the raid on Dieppe after giving supporting fire to the forces ashore.
A Ju88, under attack by several RAF Fighters, jettisoned its bomb load. By chance one bomb hit Berkeley, breaking her back. Skinner, who had been on the bridge, was killed instantly. It was not possible to recover his body before the survivors were taken off and Berkeley was sunk by a torpedo fired from HMS Albrighton.
Skinner was 30 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 64.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner