SS Garron Head (Belfast), Mercantile Marine
Died as the result of enemy action on Friday 16 November 1917 (aged 45)
No known grave
Tower Hill Memorial, London, England
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
Donaghadee Methodist Church
In some records his surname is spelt Skillen.
James Skilling was born on 16 January 1872 in Hogstown, Donaghadee and he was a son of Alexander and Letitia Skilling (nee Morrison) who were married on 24 June 1854 in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.
Alexander Skilling worked as a labourer and he and Letitia had at least four children, all of whom were baptised in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church:
Eliza Jane (born 1857)
Francis (born 1859)
Alexander (born 11 August 1869 in Hogstown)
James (born 16 January 1872 in Hogstown)
James Skilling was 10 when his mother, Letitia Skilling, died of phthisis on 18 May 1882 (aged 53). His father, Alexander Skilling, married Susan Boomer on 31 March 1884 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office and he died of anaemia on 29 September 1899 (aged 56).
James Skilling was a seaman and he and Mary Ann Jones were married on 7 October 1892 in Mountpottinger Methodist Church Belfast. They had at least three children:
Alexander (born 28 August 1893 at 87 Frazer Street, Belfast)
James (born 3 March 1896 at 87 Frazer Street, Belfast)
Samuel Jones (born 10 February 1898 at 87 Frazer Street, Belfast)
James Skilling was one of 28 seamen who died when the SS Garron Head was torpedoed and sunk on 16 November 1917 by the German submarine U-103 in the Bay of Biscay. One of the Head Line ships, the SS Garron Head was on a voyage from Bilbao to Maryport with a cargo of iron ore.
At the time of James Skilling’s death his family was living at 1 Auburn Terrace in Donaghadee.
Able Seaman James Skilling was 45 when he died and he is commemorated on Tower Hill Memorial, London; on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and in Donaghadee Methodist Church (as Skillen).