Cecil Skotnes was born in 1926, the son of missionaries. Edwin Eilertson and Florence Kendall had married and taken the name the name Skotnes from Edwin’s home farm in Norway. As officers in the Salvation Army they travelled to Canada and then to Africa where they worked in Mozambique, eventually finding their way to East London where Cecil was born. At first they thought to call him Stanley Livingston, but decided in favour of Cecil Edwin Frans Eilertson Skotnes. He was their fourth child and the last to survive to adulthood. His sisters were Olive Jean Maple Leaf and Dorothy Ivy and his brother was Arthur. Nine years later they left the Eastern Cape, stopping for a time in Kroonstad and then settling on the reef.