Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Skinner, Thomas (1800?-1843)

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SKINNER, THOMAS (1800?–1843), soldier and author, born about 1800, was son of Lieutenant-general John Skinner. He entered the army on 25 Jan. 1816 as an ensign in the 16th foot; he became lieutenant on 6 Aug. 1819, captain on 9 Oct. 1823, and exchanged into the 31st foot on 25 March 1824. He proceeded with his regiment to India shortly before 1826, and was stationed at Hardwar, in the North-West provinces, near the foot of the Himalayas. Thence he made expeditions into the little-known mountainous districts of the neighbourhood, and embodied the results of his explorations in a book called ‘Excursions in India’ (London, 1832). After returning home on leave, he went back to India in 1833 by the overland route through Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. Thence he proceeded down the Euphrates, and embarked on the Persian Gulf. He published an account of this journey in ‘Adventures during a Journey Overland to India’ (London, 1836). On 24 Nov. 1835 he attained the rank of major, and in 1842 he joined the force assembled at Jalalabad under Sir George Pollock [q. v.] for the relief of Cabul. He commanded the 31st foot in the ensuing campaign, and on 26 July 1842 was present at the conflict of Mazeena, near Jalalabad. He accompanied Pollock's advance, and was entrusted with the task of clearing the hills on the left of the valley of Tezin in the engagement there on 13 Sept. He received for his services the cross of the Bath and the Cabul medal, and was gazetted on 23 Dec. to the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel. He died at Landaur on 6 May 1843 from the results of privations endured during the campaign.

[Gent. Mag. 1843, i. 314; contemporary Army Lists; Hart's Army List, 1843, p. 342; Kaye's Hist. of the War in Afghanistan, 1874, iii. 293, 309.]

E. I. C.