Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour



Port side view of the British cargo vessel Tulagi.

Basil L. Skelton was born in 1916 in Stanford, Judith Basin, Montana, to parents Albert and Etha Skelton. He was brother to Beryle E., Francis E., Deloras M. and Edna I. Skelton and worked as a farmhand, remaining single with no dependents.

Skelton enlisted as a Private in the Branch Immaterial—Warrant Officers, United States of America, at Missoula, Montana, on 27 June 1941 (service number 39602547).

Some of the American troops of the 148th Field Artillery were required to spend the night of 18 February on the Tulagi; when the Japanese attacked on 19 February 1942, these troops fought to stay alive alongside their Australian comrades.

Disregarding his own safety, Skelton remained on deck to assist with firing a .50-caliber machine gun at the enemy planes trying to sink the ship. Skelton died either from being hit by a bomb fragment, or by bullets that were being sprayed over the deck from the Japanese Zeros.

Basil is buried in Stanford Cemetery, Monatana.

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