The Lord Provost of Glasgow will be hosting the unveiling of a commemorative paving stone to Company Sergeant Major John Skinner, Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, in recognition of the gallant action for which John Skinner won the award of the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Passchendaele on 16th August 1917.
Current details of the forthcoming ceremony are as follows:
Wednesday 16th August 2017 at 1400 hrs, The Doulton Fountain, People’s Palace & Winter Garden, Glasgow Green, Glasgow. In attendance will be civic dignitaries from Glasgow, serving personnel from 1 SCOTS, members of the Skinner family and BORDERERS. Additionally the Skinner family have commissioned a unique and personal pipe tune to be played at this event. Wreaths will be laid on behalf of the Glasgow City Council, the Skinner family and BORDERERS. Refreshments will be served in the Winter Gardens at the conclusion of the ceremony courtesy of Glasgow City Council. The final format of the ceremony has yet to be confirmed by the Lord Provost’s Office, this will be circulated to all BORDERERS at the earliest opportunity.
This is the second of our four WW1 VC’s to be commemorated in this way, the first being that of Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC, the Piper of Loos, which took place on 25th September 2015 at Swinton, Berwickshire. It would be extremely fitting to see as many Borderers and Branch standards as possible attend the ceremony in order to honour and remember the gallantry and distinguished service of a fellow member of the Regiment.
London Gazette dated 16th September 1917 – Award of the Victoria Cross.
“While his company was attacking, machine gun fire opened on the left flank delaying the advance. Although Company Sergeant Major Skinner was wounded in the head, he collected six men and with great courage and determination worked round the left flank of three blockhouses from which the machine gun fire was coming and succeeded in bombing and taking the first blockhouse single handed; then, leading his six men towards the other two blockhouses, he skilfully cleared them, taking 60 prisoners, three machine guns and two trench mortars”.
He was wounded three times in the South African War. During the investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26th September 1917 Skinner received his VC wearing a further seven wound stripes from the Great War, note his left sleeve in the photograph.
John Skinner was shot and killed in Belgium on 17th March 1918 whilst attempting to rescue a wounded Borderer. At his funeral in Vlamertinghe, Belgium, his coffin was carried by six other Victoria Cross recipients, including a General and a Private soldier standing shoulder to shoulder. This is the only occasion known of six VC holders acting as pall bearers to a fellow VC holder. John Skinner was held in great esteem, without question he was one of the bravest men of the First World War and a Borderer.
Those wishing to attend the commemoration ceremony should notify HHQ by no later than COP Monday 31stJuly 2017. In order that numbers attending may submitted to the Lord Provost’s Office Glasgow.
“Always a Borderer”