Yes I am a big 17th Lancers fan.
Thank you for sharing the information you have. This is what I have on Skinner.
HENRY CHARLES SKINNER AND FAMILY
One further aspect of the family story is that Henry Charles ran away to sea as a boy and served one trip on the Cutty Sark as a cabin boy. The Cutty Sark was built at Dumbarton and launched in 1869. From 1870-77 it sailed in the China tea trade but we have no documentary evidence to confirm this connection with Henry Charles.
At the age of 18 Henry Charles enlisted in the Army on 6 December 1876 as a private in the 17th Lancers. He was sent to Africa to fight in the Zulu War. He took part in the battle of Ulundi and was a member of the patrol that found the body of the Prince Imperial, son of Napoleon III, after he had been killed on 1 June 1879. At the end of the Zulu war Henry Charles returned to England and was stationed at the barracks in Canterbury. It was there that he met his wife-to-be Mary Ann Haslop Pool.
Mary Ann was the illegitimate daughter of Maria Pool, a glover, who lived in North Lane, Canterbury with her mother, Elizabeth and an older daughter (presumably also illegitimate) called Martha who was 15 when Mary Ann was born. No father was identified on the birth certificate but I have always thought that her third name "Haslop" might be a clue to her parentage. Mary Ann was semi-illiterate (in later years she could read but never learnt to write) and this third name had become Astelope by the time she married -presumably the registrar's best guess. She also gave her father as Thomas Pool (deceased), maybe as a face-saving exercise. There is no evidence of a Thomas Pool other than Maria's brother, who was alive at the time of Mary Ann's wedding. Mary Ann was a cripple and wore a built-up shoe to aid walking. She also had a lazy eye.
Henry Charles (23) and Mary Ann (22) were married at the Registry Office in Canterbury on 20 March 1881. The witnesses were Alfred Allen, a Lieutenant in 2/3 Foot and a Jane Baker, probably a friend or neighbour of Mary Ann.
Because of the proximity of the date of the wedding to the census in that year (3 April) Henry Charles had the dubious honour of being enumerated twice! He appears (aged 22) with Mary Anne at their accommodation at 41 North Lane and at the Barracks (aged 24) -presumably the barracks enumeration was performed from the personnel lists.
After completing his tour of duty Henry Charles automatically entered the Army Reserve and was later called up into the 4th Dragoon Guards to serve in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir under Sir Garnet Wolseley in 1882. While in Egypt he was temporarily blinded by sunstroke. He also served at Matabele and later in the Boer War but in the intervening years the children were born. His war medals included the Zulu Medal and Clasp and the Egyptian and Khedive Star .
The first child was Henry, born in 1883. Then came Ethel Maud in 1885, Fanny Eliabeth in 1887, George in 1890 and finally Mabel Maria in 1891.
After Army service Henry Charles worked on the railways, first as a guard and then as crossing keeper at Belvedere. The family lived in the Crossing House in Picardy Manorway and appear in the local directories of 1909 and 1912. This was young George's introduction to Belvedere, where he was to spend most of his life.
By 1914 Henry Charles had been transferred to Bellingham Station, near Catford, where he was a foreman. The family lived first at 82B Farley Road, Catford near Mountsfield Park, where George's wedding photograph was taken, and then moved to 118 Silvermere Road where they lived the rest of their days. Apparently the main reason for the move was to get away from the public house on the corner of Ringstead Road which was becoming a bad influence.
After leaving the railway, Henry Charles worked as a labourer in the hay-pressing establishment at Woolwich Dockyard for four years before finally retiring in February 1920.
He died in Lewisham Hospital on 6 May 1940 after suffering a stroke at the age of 82. Mary Ann survived him for a further five years and died on 24 June 1945 at the age of 86. Both are interred in Hither Green Cemetery.