Force: Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Born 8 August 1888 in Collingwood, son of Thomas Mark Skilton and Florence Octavia (nee Neal). He was third of six brothers and a sister. All the brothers enlisted.
He was educated at Puramahoi and Collingwood and completed to 4th Education Standard.
John James was farming for Charles Wells, Waikawa Bay, French Pass.
On 13 May John James enlisted at French Pass and took his Oath (service number 6/2345). By May he was at Trentham Camp with his brother Philip, they have consecutive service numbers. He was a member of 3rd Battalion Canterbury Regt 12 Coy Rifles. At Trentham he spent a short time in hospital with influenza.
He joined his battalion in the Dardenelles and in October was admitted to hospital with jaundice. After convalescence in Lowland casualty Mudros John James rejoined his unit at Anzac. In December all New Zealand troops were evacuated and they disembarked at Alexandria for Ismalia Camp, Egypt.
In February John James was in hospital again, this time for mumps which was going through the troops. His brother Philip was there a month before. In April the 1st Bn Canterbury Rifles embarked for France at Port Said Egypt on the ship "Franconia". In September he was wounded in action, a gunshot wound to his thigh. He was admitted to No 18 General Hospital, Camiers Rouen. After convalescing at Camiers for a month he rejoined his unit at the Front.
During January John James had a job re-fusing ammunition at DHQ. He then returned to the fighting. He was wounded a second time and hospitalised at Arques. Six months later he spent time in London suffering shell shock. After convalescing in Boulogne John James returned to the Front in August and he was posted to 12 Coy Canterbury rifles and again suffered slight shell shock. In October he was appointed as Cook, which he did for two months, then sent on leave for a precious 16 days. John James then joined his unit at the Front.
On the 15 December John James was wounded in action a third time with multiple gun shot wounds to his left thigh, foot, forearm, right leg and knee from which he was not to recover,. He was taken by New Zealand Field ambulance to No 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station where he died the next day, 16 December, aged 29.
His burial service was lead by Rev Willian L Archer.
He is buried Lijssenthoek Militay Cemetary Poperinge.
John James left instructions that any monies, possesions and medals be sent to his Mother Florence in Onekaka.