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Ralph and Kathy
Samuel Albert Skinner married Ada [maiden name not known] and went on to serve in the First World War, suffered from a mustard gas attack in trenches but where is unknown. Once he was back home, and into his early 20s opened a shop selling music and records etc, new fangled 78s, and 10” records. Samuel was also involved with the British Empire Exhibition Wembley as a Master Craftsman, as a carpenter, skills he used again in World War II making fuselage & wings for mosquito twin engine fighter/bombers which were made mostly of wood.

Lilian and Sonny were all born after return from war, Sonny towards the end of 1920s. Sydney was born 29th August 1913. Dad’s early years not known but drove a van for a firm called Carter Patterson, where I think he met “Betty” [Beatrice Chambers] who worked as a telephonist and married before the second War.

Dad went on to join AFS and was stationed at Gamuel Road Infants School Walthamstow, and was later classed as a Leading Mechanic and travelled repairing fire engines etc, even as far as Dover, he also trained crew for driving and my Godmother passed her test on a turntable ladder escape appliance!!!

Lilian served in armed forces through war years and married Ken [Whiston] on return to Peace. The lived in Hibert Road Walthamstow in Warners Housing Property, a huge concern. With a young family they moved to Harlow New Town near Potters Street.

I only ever saw Sonny once at my grandparents, where a huge row was happening, never seen or heard of him since.

13th September 1944, I came into the World, born in Thorpe Coombe Maternity Hospital shortly after a flying bomb had dropped nearby in Forest Road E17. My first school was Dad's old posting in Gamuel Road School. Dad had now left the fire service to start a Garage Business in Railway Arches in Morning Lane Hackney E8 along with a partner also from fire service and also operated a hire car business and repairs.

Iain Richard came into the world on 11 November 1950, and at this time we were all living in a rented upstairs flat, we later moved to a downstairs Warner flat in Leyton with more rooms but no bathroom and with a toilet in the scullery! In moving from the flat in Walthamstow E17 to Leyton E10, my secondary modern school was at Farmer Road (all boys) later to be renamed after a former pupil, George Mitchell VC, gained posthumously after single handedly wiping out a machine gun nest in Italy, he was a member of the London Scottish Regiment at Monti Casino Ridge. After coming top of the class once and in the first five on other occasions, my working life was to begin on the 6th January 1960.

My first job was building caravans and some vehicle body building on commercial chassis, at this time I started to learn to drive but bought a car off a fellow workmate after he’d hit a bus with it! Strong cars those old Wolseleys!

1965 was the year the factory burnt down off Lea Bridge Road Leyton and the search was on for new premises to restart business, which were found off the A12 at Goodmayes in Essex. Near to our new site were other factories with a café nearby and it was here I was to meet Christine [Gossling] later to become my wife along with baby Julie from a previous relationship.

We went on to have three more girls, with changes of jobs which included the Thames Water Authority, heavy goods fitter and later driver, farmer and a return to vehicle body building and self employment.

In this time Chris and I had divorced and after a few years on my own I was to meet Kathy, we met and married within 4 months and have now been together for 29 years having married in September 1983.

I now care for Kathy after being taken ill in 2000 with renal failure, but together we are coping with what Life throws at us.

Transcribed by JH on 1st October 2012


Able Seaman George HINKLEY who obtained his VC whilst fighting in China in 1862 is burried at Ford Park Cemetery along with Captain Andrew HENRY who obtained his VC whilst fighting in the Crimea in 1870.

Link to Ford Park Cemetery