Webpage created: September 17, 2019
Webpage updated: January 04, 2020
JOHN FAWKE SKITTERY (1907-1968)
John Fawke Skittery was born at Langport, Somerset, in December 1907, the son of the Reverend John Martin Skittery, vicar of Long Sutton, near Taunton, Somerset, from 1937 to 1939.
After attending the Hereford Cathedral School he became a school master at Saint Dunstan's, Burnham-on-Sea, in Somerset.
In 1932 he joined the Metropolitan Police, in London, and was one of the first to attend the Police College at Hendon, Middlesex, when it was opened. At the end of his course he shared second place with Joseph Simpson, later Sir Joseph Simpson, who became the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The first place was held by Mr Ranulph Bacon, who later became Chief Constable of the Devon Constabulary and a Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
At the age of 35, and while serving as a Sub-Divisional Inspector at Tottenham and Edmonton, London, he was appointed as Chief Constable of the City of Plymouth Police Force. That was on June 21st 1943. Although it was claimed at the time that he was the youngest man ever to have held that appointment, this was not correct as Mr J D Sowerby (1863-1919) was only 29 years of age when he was appointed Chief Constable of Plymouth.
During his time in office he dealt with troop movements in preparation for D-Day and many Royal visits to the City. He was one of the few people to accompany His Majesty King George VI when he met with President Harry Truman at Harowbeer Aerodrome, Yelverton.
Mr Skittery was awarded the Order of the British Empire on June 2nd 1950.
On January 1st 1957 he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
Mr Skittery retired on Wednesday June 30th 1965 and was looking forward to years of bee-keeping, whippet breeding, trout fishing and following the Dartmoor Hunt. Sadly this was not to be and Mr John Fawke Skittery collapsed and died on Wednesday March 20th 1968 while at his Land Rover just outside his home, "Broadun", at Postbridge. He was 60 years of age.
He was survived by his widow. There were no children of the marriage.
By a curious twist of fate, Sir Joseph Simpson, who had held joint second place with Mr Skittery at Hendon Police College back in the 1930s, died on the same day.