Reginald William Skelton

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

Engineer Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald William Skelton, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., R.N. (3 June, 1872 – 5 September, 1956) served in the engineering branch of the Royal Navy, including work with the 1901 National Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Scott.

Life & Career

Skelton was appointed an Engineer Student "After Open Competition" on 10 June, 1887.[1]

Skelton was promoted to the rank of Engineer on 1 January, 1898.[2]

Skelton was appointed additional to the drill ship President temporarily on 14 September, 1900.[3] From the President he went to supervise construction of the exploration ship Discovery for Robert Falcon Scott's forthcoming Antarctic expedition, and Skelton was ultimately chosen as Chief Engineer of the Discovery on the basis of previous service alongside Scott in the battleship Majestic.[4]

Skelton was appointed to the destroyer Roebuck as Engineering Officer on 14 September, 1905.[5] On 22 February, 1906, Skelton transferred to the protected cruiser-turned-depôt ship Forth, with additional duties in the submarines of the Devonport Flotilla under Forth's aegis.[6]

Skelton was promoted to the rank of Engineer Commander on 1 July, 1907.[7]

He was appointed additional to the second class protected cruiser Mercury for service at Fort Blockhouse and "for duty with Submarines, etc." on 24 February, 1909.[8] When duties at Fort Blockhouse were transferred from the Mercury to the Arrogant in 1911-12, Skelton was relisted as being borne additional in the latter.[9]

Skelton's next assignment after Fort Blockhouse was as Chief Engineer of the Superb, to which he was assigned on 3 February, 1912.[10] He served in Superb until 26 May, 1914, when he was appointed to the Admiralty as a member of the Department of the Engineer in Chief.[11] While serving at the Admiralty, Skelton's son was born on July 4, 1914. He was named William Falcon Skelton in honor of the late explorer. William Skelton went on to a distinguished naval career of his own, being Mentioned in Dispatches for service aboard the light cruiser Charybdis during the Pedestal convoy to Malta of August 1942.[12]

Great War

When the battleship Agincourt was taken over by the Royal Navy in August 1914, Skelton went to her as Chief Engineer.[13] His job would have been made more difficult by Agincourt's origins as a foreign-ordered man o' war—many of her fittings still had instructions written in Portuguese.[14] He was still in Agincourt at Jutland, and for his services he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) on 15 September, 1916.[15]

Skelton was appointed additional to the composite screw sloop Dolphin on 22 July, 1916. His first assignment was a familiar one—service at Fort Blockhouse.[16] By late 1917, still borne in Dolphin, Skelton had left Fort Blockhouse for service on Commodore (S) Sydney S. Hall's staff at the Admiralty.[17]

Skelton was appointed additional to the battleship Glory on the staff of Rear-Admiral Sir John F. E. Green with the acting rank of Engineer Captain on 22 October, 1919, taking part in operations against the Bolsheviks in the White Sea.[18] For part of the time spent in Russia, Skelton was lent to the depot ship Cyclops.[19] He was officially promoted to the rank of Engineer Captain in the late summer of 1919, with seniority backdated to 26 December, 1918.[20][21]

For his "valuable services in the Archangel Area of the White Sea", Engineer Captain Skelton was promoted to Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.), on 17 October, 1919.[22] Two months later he was appointed an Additional Member of the Third Class, or Companion, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 12 December, 1919.[23]

After Glory paid off at Portsmouth on 1 November, 1919, Skelton remained without assignment until he was appointed to the battleship Iron Duke on 11 March, 1920.[24][25][26]

Skelton was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet on 1 May, 1928.[27] A month later he was promoted to the rank of Engineer Vice-Admiral on 1 June, 1928.[28]

Skelton was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, in the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 1 January, 1931.[29]

See Also


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Sir Robert B. Dixon
Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet
1 May, 1928[30] – 1 Dec, 1932
Succeeded by
Sir Harold A. Brown


  1. The London Gazette: no. 25709. p. 3221. 14 June, 1887.
  2. The Navy List. (March, 1900). p. 134.
  3. The Navy List. (March, 1901). p. 294.
  4. Fiennes, page needed.
  5. The Monthly Navy List. (December, 1905). p. 368.
  6. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 317.
  7. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 153.
  8. The Monthly Navy List. (March, 1911). p. 344.
  9. The Navy List. (January, 1912). p. 280.
  10. The Navy List. (March, 1913). p. 379.
  11. The Navy List. (July, 1914). p. 533a.
  12. Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - S.
  13. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 391d.
  14. Parkes. British Battleships. p. 604.
  15. The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 12988. p. 1674. 19 September, 1916.
  16. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 393q.
  17. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 393b.
  18. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 802.
  19. The Navy List. (August, 1919). p. 771.
  20. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 432.
  21. The Navy List. (October, 1919). p. 430.
  22. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31604. p. 12778. 14 October, 1919.
  23. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31683. p. 15429. 9 December, 1919.
  24. The Navy List. (December, 1919). p. 779.
  25. The Navy List. (February, 1920). p. 172.
  26. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 793.
  27. The Navy List. (October, 1930). p. 408.
  28. The Navy List. (August, 1939). p. 779.
  29. The Edinburgh Gazette: (Supplement) no. 14719. p. 13. 6 January, 1931.
  30. The Navy List. (October, 1930). p. 408.