Skillen, Victor Hall (No. 745460)

Skillen, Victor Hall (Victor)

Sergeant (Pilot)

No. 745460, 23 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Tuesday 11 March 1941 (aged 24)

Buried:

St. Pierre Cemetery, Amiens, Somme, France (Plot 1 Row A Grave 12)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sullivan Upper School, Holywood

BIOGRAPHY

Victor Hall Skillen was born on 11 August 1917 at 45 Downshire Road, Holywood and he was a son of William Robert and Margaret Skillen (nee Hall) who lived for a time at 45 Halliday’s Road, Belfast and later at 174 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast.  William Robert Skillen from Downshire Road, Holywood was a widower and a pawnbroker when he and Margaret Hall were married on 5 September 1916 in Portadown Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).

His sister, Myrtle Noreen Skillen was born on 27 May 1919 at 45 Downshire Road, Holywood.

Victor Hall Skillen attended Holywood Parochial School and then Sullivan Upper School in Holywood from 1930 until 1935.  He was a keen sportsman and played rugby for the school.  After leaving school he joined the Civil Service as a clerk in January 1936.  In 1939 he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and learned to fly at 24 Elementary & Reserve Flying School, Sydenham.  At the outbreak of war, he was called up for full time service and went to England for training.

In May 1940 he was posted to No. 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at RAF Aston Down in Gloucestershire and then in June 1940 to 29 Squadron at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire.  He was a night fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain and in December 1940 he was posted to 23 Squadron at RAF Ford in Sussex.   Victor Hall Skillen (aged 24) was killed on 11 March 1941 when the Bristol Blenheim aircraft (L1507) he was piloting collided with a German Heinkel He 111 aircraft and crashed during a night intruder patrol over France.  He was buried in St. Pierre Cemetery, Amiens.  Buried on either side of him were Sergeant (Navigator) Francis Hibbs Abbott and Sergeant (Air Gunner) Romilly Ronald James Nute.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST,

AND ON EARTH PEACE,

GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN

Sergeant (Pilot) Victor Hall Skillen (No. 745460) is commemorated in Sullivan Upper School, Holywood.

His effects amounted to some £186, and probate was granted to his father.