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John William SPENCER

Main CPGW Record

Surname: SPENCER

Forename(s): John William

Place of Birth: Burnley, Lancashire

Service No: 266399

Rank: Sergeant

Regiment / Corps / Service: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Battalion / Unit: 2/4th Battalion

Division: 62nd (2/West Riding) Division

Age: 25

Date of Death: 1918-07-20

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: Addenda Extension

CWGC Cemetery: ---

CWGC Memorial: SOISSONS MEMORIAL

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: EARBY, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

John William Spencer was the son of Thomas and Rosannah Ellen Spencer, née Holden and brother of Private Harry Spencer (14252) (q.v.). Their father was born at Todmorden, Yorkshire and mother at Newchurch, Lancashire.

1901 Earby, Yorkshire Census: 7, James Street - John W. Spencer, aged 8 years, born Burnley, Lancashire, son of Thomas and Rosehannah Spencer.

1911 Earby, Yorkshire Census: 15, Albion Road - John W. Spencer, aged 18 years, born Burnley, Lancashire, son of Thomas and Rose Spencer.

John was married to Clara Cardwell in 1914.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Sjt John W. Spencer, 266399, West Riding Regiment.

In 2018 the CWGC commemoration for John was transferred from Loos Memorial to Soissons Memorial Addenda. His name will be removed from the Loos Memorial when the appropriate panel is next replaced.

See also:
‘Earby in the First World War’ by Stephanie Carter, published by Earby & District Local History Society (2014).
‘Our Finest Crop’ by Steven Marshall, published by Earby & District Local History Society (2020).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

SPENCER, Sgt. J.W., aged 25, West Riding Regiment, 5, Shuttleworth Street, [Earby], killed in action July 20, 1918.

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Sergeant John William SPENCER

Sergeant John William SPENCER

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 62nd (2/West Riding) Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 62nd (2/West Riding) Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: SPENCER

Forename(s): John William

Born:

Residence: Earby, Yorks

Enlisted: Skipton, Yorks

Number: 266399

Rank: Sergt

Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

Battalion: 2/4th Battalion

Decorations:

Died Date: 20/07/18

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

Notes:

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: SPENCER

Forename(s): John William

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 266399

Rank: Serjeant

Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

Unit: 2nd/4th Bn.

Age:

Awards:

Died Date: 20/07/1918

Additional Information:

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THE HISTORY OF THE 62nd (WEST RIDING) DIVISION 1914-1919 Volume 1, by Everard Wyrall (John Lane the Bodley Head Limited Vigo Street, London, W.)

THE BATTLE OF TARDENOIS: CAPTURE OF MARFAUX [20th – 31st July, 1918]

On arrival at Mailly le-Camp General Braithwaite motored to Chalons and there reported to Fourth French Army Headquarters. He was told that as all attacks on the Army Front, i.e., east of Rheims, had been repulsed and the enemy brought to a standstill, the XXIInd British Corps was to join the Fifth French Army, and that the 62nd Division was to move on the following day to the Fifth Army Area. Orders then had to be sent out to divert the bus convoys, which were carrying the troops from detraining stations to their billets, into the new area. Eventually all the convoys were traced and the battalions which had not settled down into billets were pushed on into the new areas, whilst the three Brigade headquarters and units which had already arrived in billets in the Fourth Army Area spent the night where they were. Orders were issued for the remaining units to march at 5 a.m. next morning to concentrate in the Fifth French Army Area….

The move by road began at 5 a.m. on the 17th [July] and, on completion, the 62nd Division was disposed as follows:–Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters, 185th Infantry Brigade, at Tours-sur-Marne, the units of the Brigade being at Plivot; the 186th Infantry Brigade was at Athis and Cherviole, and the 187th Infantry Brigade at Bisseuil and Mareuil….

At 2-45 a.m. on the morning of 19th July orders were received for the 62nd Division to march at 5 a.m. and concentrate in the following areas:–185th Infantry Brigade at St. Imoges; 186th Infantry Brigade, Germaine; 187th Infantry Brigade (already there) at Ferme d’Ecueil; 62nd Battalion M.G.C. and the Field Companies, R.E. at La Neuville; Divisional Artillery at Avenay and Ay.

At 12 noon Divisional Headquarters moved from Tours to Germaine. Broadly, the scheme of attack in which the 62nd and 51st Divisions were to take part was up the valley of the Ardre river to a final objective 7 kilometres (roughly 4½ miles) from the starting point; the attack to be supported by French and Italian artillery. The scheme was decided at a conference held at IInd Italian Corps Headquarters, at which the British Corps (Sir A. Godley) and IInd Italian Corps commanders, the G. O.’s C., 62nd and 51st Divisions and French G. O.’s C. were present. On conclusion the G. S. O.’s I. of both British Divisions set out for XXIInd Corps Headquarters at Vertus for written orders and to make final arrangements. The long journey to Vertus delayed matters considerably, so that when at last orders were received at 62nd Divisional Headquarters it was nearly 5 o’clock in the evening and a detailed reconnaissance of the positions to be attacked was impossible. The scheme of attack was explained to Brigadiers at Divisional Headquarters at 5-30 and draft orders issued, but it was 9 p.m. before final orders were sent out and “Zero” hour was at 8 a.m. on the following morning.

The 62nd was to attack on the right and the 51st Division on the left, the dividing line between Divisions being the River Ardre; the 2nd Division Italian Corps was attacking on the right of the 62nd Division.
General Braithwaite decided to attack on a two-Brigade front, 187th on the right, and 185th on the left; on the leading Brigades reaching their first objective the 186th from Divisional Reserve, was to pass through the 185th and 187th and capture the second and final objective.

A machine-gun Company was attached to each Brigade; one M.G.C., the Pioneer Battalion (9th Durham Light Infantry) and the three field companies, R.E., less a few parties detailed for bridging the Ardre and preparing the road through Marfaux, were in Divisional Reserve.

Fighting, vastly different from anything previously experienced, now faced the Division. Trench warfare, for the time being was done with. It could hardly be called warfare in open country, for the attack would, in places, have to go through thick forests and, as will be read later, the troops, in moving up to their assembly positions, tramped through almost impenetrable woods, in which the enemy lurked, making strenuous efforts to hold up the advance of the Yorkshiremen. Guerilla warfare would aptly describe much of the fighting which subsequently took place.

The valley of the Ardre varied from 2,000 to 3,000 yards in width. Much of it was gently undulating corn land, with the crops ripe for cutting, and of sufficient height to act as excellent cover for attacking or defending troops. The villages of Marfaux, Chaumuzy, and Bligny lay on the slopes to the river, bordered by steep ridges and spurs, heavily wooded on the crests, whilst Cuitron, Espilly and Nappes were perched high up on the steep sides of the hills.

At 8 p.m. on the evening of 19th July the 187th Infantry Brigade received orders to attack the enemy’s positions in Courmas and Bois du Petit Champ at 8 a.m. on the following morning. The situation of the Brigade was then:–187th Infantry Brigade Headquarters (Brig.-General A. O. Reddie)–Chamery; 2/4th (Hallamshires) York and Lancs. Regt. (Lieut.-Colonel L. H. P. Hart)–Nogent; 5th K.O.Y.L.I. (Lieut.-Colonel F. H. Peter)–Bois de Pourcy; 2/4th K.O.Y.L.I. (Lieut.-Colonel C. A. Chaytor)–Sermiers. Half-an-hour later the troops had begun to advance, the 2/4th K.O.Y.L.I. being the first to move, followed by the Hallamshires and the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. The 2/4th York and Lancs. Regt. was to be on the right of the attack, the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. on the left, and the 2/4th K.O.Y.L.I. in support.

Some little confusion occurred at the beginning of the move owing to the guides being Italian, and lack of interpreters, but eventually the battalions were well on the way, and by 4-30 a.m. on the morning of the 20th, were in their assembly positions; 187th Infantry Brigade Headquarters had moved up to Ecueil Farm.

Headquarters, 185th Infantry Brigade (Brig.-General Viscount Hampden) from Tours and the units of the Brigade from Plivot had set out at 5 a.m. on the morning of the 19th to march to St. Imoges. The dusty roads, crowded with transport and traffic, mostly French, tried the troops to the utmost, and tired, thirsty and hungry when they reached their destination, they sank, almost exhausted, to the ground. They were to bivouack for the night in the thick woods about St. Imoges.

The three Battalions had hardly made themselves comfortable and the officers’ cooks were engaged in providing the best possible meal, when all C.O.s. were called to Brigade Headquarters in the woods east of St. Imoges. Here the situation, as far as known to the Brigadier, was explained, and orders for the attack on the following morning given out. Battalion commanders were told to march off as soon as possible to reach Courtagnon by 12 midnight, where guides provided by the French, then holding the line, would meet them and conduct them to their assembly positions. The frontage allotted to the Brigade was from the Bois de Rheims, on the right, to the River Ardre, on the left; the 8th West Yorks Regt. (Lieut.-Colonel England) on the right; 2/5th West Yorks. (Major R. Stewart), on the left, and the 1/5th Devon Regt. (Lieut.-Colonel H. V. Bastow), in support. The positions of assembly were:–8th West Yorks Regt. Bois de Pourcy; 2/5th West Yorks Regt. and 1/5th Devons, round Pourcy.

No details exist in the Battalion Diaries of the difficulties of that terrible march by night, through almost pitch-black forests, to the positions of assembly. Only one report–by the C.O., 1/5th Devons–gives any impression of the hard task set to troops already tired out by the day’s march:–“My battalion,” he said, “marched at 10 p.m. from St. Imoges. Guides were met at the Farm Courtagnon; these led the Battalion by woodland tracks to positions of assembly near French Regimental Headquarters. Tracks very steep and rough; heavy shell fire experienced en route. Casualties, one officer and twenty-three other ranks wounded, and two other ranks killed. The Battalion formed up at the point of assembly on the 20th July at 5-30 a.m. Men very tired by hard climb and rough road.”

But the following account from the private diary of an officer, serving with the 8th West Yorks, gives a very vivid impression of that exceedingly difficult march. “By 10 p.m. we were well on our way with platoons at intervals of 100 yards. It was a march which will long be remembered, for the bright moonlight made the long straight road into a shining white ribbon, dividing the eerie blackness of the Forest of Rheims.

“Leaving the main road we plunged into the darkness of the wood along a country lane, which soon became only a track. ‘They have halted in front, Sir,’ shouted the connecting file just ahead. . . . . However, it was a genuine halt and the column disappeared into the hedge-rows, except for the limbers and the small unfortunate crowd of Lewis gunners, who were now getting their guns, spares and panniers of ammunition, as it had been decided to send back the limbers from this point.

“We now reached one of the worst stages of the journey. The track, hitherto quite respectable, now became a mere narrow space between trees, and later on, into a mere nothingness. Thick blackness was everywhere excepting a faint illumination showing where the tops of the trees were. On and on we stumbled in single file, colliding with trees and with our neighbours and plunging into deep holes full of sticky mud. At one place we passed some French poilus, but could only recognize them by their words of welcome. After despairing of ever getting out of this maze of blackness we began to discern some faint light ahead, and in time we dragged ourselves out into the clean and wholesome moonlight. A rest just outside a gas-shelled, ruined village and again this long single file tried to rejoin its forces.

“Once through the village we again left the road and having climbed up a steep path found ourselves once more in the woods. By this time each Company was moving independently with its own French guide. It was not long before we were on the hard road, disentangling ourselves from Italians, French, another unit of our Division, motor lorries, French transport, ammunition wagons, guns, limbers and mules; countless mules–mules carrying rations, mules carrying water, mules carrying ammunition and more (spare) mules. We sat down by the wayside and waited . . . and then resumed our journey under the guidance of our very impatient guide. (I discovered later that his impatience was justified, seeing that he had no idea as to our destination!)

“The unfortunate Battalion then became mixed up at some cross-roads with a crowd of units from different Divisions and of seemingly different nationalities.

“The scene was awesome. French guides, interpreters, company commanders, vied with each other in apt description of the situation, and present and future fate of the responsible authors. The men were feeling too done to comment much beyond an occasional muttered curse.

“Again and again a kind of a raid had to be organized in order to rescue one of our men who had been whirled into the running stream of humanity and mules. . . Our guide implored us to double, but this was just a little beyond us, as we could scarcely limp along. But the fears of our guide were justified for the road began to be heavily shelled. . . Once more we plunged into the horrors of those forest depths and, in the early hours of the morning these dark woods, with their muddy paths and their foul stenches of gas and decaying bodies of horses, began to tell on the energy and spirits of the men. I walked, or rather stumbled along in a kind of mental haze. . . .in a pestilential blackness with a hazy moonlight above the trees, we stumbled on and on and on, through trees, over trees, into trees. When I could think, it was about our attack at dawn. . . There is no energy left for grim jokes or curses, and the only sounds are the sobs of some youngster who found his load of rifle, ammunition, pack, rations, bombs, equipment, one or two panniers and other impedimenta almost too much for his boyish strength. . . It was some time before I could realize that my guide was informing me that we had finished the journey.”

A halt was called and whilst the Company Commander went forward to interview the French Company Commander, whose position the former was supposed to take over, the men dropped exhausted and fell fast asleep immediately. Eventually, it transpired that this Company (D) of the 8th West Yorks. was to be in the third wave of the attack; and so it had to be hurried out into a place secure from observation.

From the edge of the Bois de Pourcy, the battered village of Marfaux could be seen away on the left flank; Cuitron lay opposite the centre, and Bois de Petit Champ on the high ground, whose southern slope was to form the right flank of the 8th West Yorks. In front of the Battalion stretched a golden panorama of cornfields–a wonderful sight in the early morning light.

Just before 8 a.m. the attacking troops were in position: 187th Infantry Brigade (Right) with the 2/4th York and Lancs. on the right, the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. on the left and the 2/4th K.O.Y.L.I. in reserve; the 185th infantry Brigade (Left) with the 8th West Yorks. on the right, the 2/5th West Yorks. on the left and the 5th Devons in reserve. Each attacking Battalion was to move forward on a two-company front.

The 186th Infantry Brigade (Brig.-General J. G. Burnett), which had been ordered to pass through the 187th and 185th Infantry Brigades (when the latter had attained their first objectives) and capture the second and final objectives, had received its final orders at 2.30 a.m. on the morning of the 19th July to concentrate in the woods immediately south of Germaine. Having dumped their packs and surplus baggage at Athis, the Battalions set out to march via Tours-sur-Marne and Avenay to their given destinations.

The Brigade was more fortunate in that General Burnett received preliminary orders for the attack on the following day, at 12 noon, his Brigade having reached the woods south of Germaine at 11.30 a.m. It was possible, therefore, for his C.O.’s and Company Commanders to reconnoitre the road between Germaine and Courtagnon; the position of assembly for the Brigade was in the wood east of Courtagnon.

The 186th Brigade was to attack with all three battalions in line; 5th Duke of Wellington’s Regt. (Lieut.-Colonel J. Walker) on the right, 2/4th Hants. Regt (Lieut.-Colonel F. Brook) in the centre and the 2/4th Duke of Wellington’s Regt. (Lieut.-Colonel P. P. Wilson) on the left.

At midnight 19th/20th July the Brigade set out from Germaine. Traffic on the roads was very congested and the assembly positions were not reached until about 5 a.m. The three battalions do not appear to have experienced the same formidable difficulties in reaching their assembly positions as confronted the 187th and 185th Infantry Brigades. . . .

Thus disposed, the 62nd Division awaited “Zero” hour. . . .

At 8 a.m., punctually, the two assaulting Brigades moved forward to the attack. It was a brilliant morning, full of sunshine which flooded the cornfields, over which part of the attack was moving forward. “Surely,” said an officer, “there was no war in this pleasant country.” But the standing crops in the undulating valley, the vineyards on the slopes leading up to the heights and the dense woods along the ridges, concealed from view hostile positions of great strength, and death lurked in the shimmering haze covering those peaceful fields and quiet uplands. . . .

The 186th Infantry Brigade should now have passed through the 187th, but as the former did not appear, a further attempt to advance was not thought advisable, for there does not seem to have been much information as to what was happening on the front of the 185th Infantry Brigade. . . .

The 186th Infantry Brigade had set out from Germaine at midnight, to march to its position of assembly in the north-east corner of Bois de Courtagnon, some 4,000 yards from the front line. At “Zero” hour the three infantry battalions were formed up:–5th Duke of Wellington’s on the right, 2/4th Hants. in the centre and 2/4th Duke of Wellington’s on the left, the left flank of the latter being on the northern bank of the River Ardre.

As the Brigade moved forward, the Marfaux–Pourcy Valley and the Bois de Rheims were under heavy fire from hostile artillery. A little later, as the battalions drew near the firing line, the whole country over which the advance had to be made was swept by heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. The deadly machine-gun nests, hidden in the standing corn or admirably concealed in bushy banks, covered the whole of the approaches to Marfaux and Cuitron.

The 5th Duke of Wellington’s, accompanied by Lewis guns, limbers, S.A.A., and bomb carts, after advancing in rear of the 187th and 185th Infantry Brigades, soon found that things had not gone as well had been hoped for with the assaulting Brigades, B, C and Headquarters Companies, therefore, struck off in a north-west direction, through the Bois de Courtagnon to Ecueil Farm, thence through the Bois D’Ecueil to the village of Courmas. Here they found the position still obscure and nothing definite was known of the situation of the 187th Infantry Brigade’s attack, though reports were in circulation that Bouilly had been captured. Courmas and the Bois D’Ecueil were, at this period, under such heavy shell fire that a more sheltered position, was taken up in the southern edges of the Bois D’Ecueil, overlooking the village and the valley. A and D Companies had meanwhile advanced behind the 185th Infantry Brigade along the Courtagnon–Pourcy Road, thence in a north-westerly direction through the Bois de Pourcy. Heavy hostile artillery fire caught these two Companies at the northern edge of the Bois de Pourcy and 25 per cent. casualties were suffered in a very little while. The position in front of them was obscure, and it was evident that the 185th Brigade was held up in front of Marfaux and Cuitron and could make no headway. The West Yorks. Battalions had established a few posts on the forward slopes west of the Bois de Pourcy, but the main line remained in the wood. The two Companies, therefore, taking advantage of whatever cover offered itself, remained during the morning in the shelter of the western edge of Bois de Pourcy, north of the Marfaux–Pourcy Road. Thus, throughout the whole day the 5th Duke of Wellington’s was split up, B and C Companies not gaining touch with A and D Companies until the 21st.

The 2/4th Hants., the centre Battalion of the 186th Infantry Brigade, in coming up with the 185th Infantry Brigade and finding the latter at a standstill, gallantly endeavoured to continue the advance. B and D Companies, with A Company in support, made strenuous efforts to force their way through to Marfaux and Cuitron, but the enemy’s machine-gun fire decimated their ranks. Major Molyneux, who led the attack, was wounded early in the fight. Despite the bravery of all ranks, it was impossible to reach Marfaux. Small bodies did, indeed, manage to reach the outskirts of the village, but this position, without strong support (which was not forthcoming) was untenable and the Hampshiremen dug in at about 500 yards east of the village. This position was maintained throughout the day.

The 2/4th Duke of Wellington’s also met with serious opposition on the left flank of the attack. The Battalion, on clearing the Ferme de Courtagnon, broke into company artillery formation–two Companies in the front line and two in support. On approaching Pourcy, machine-gun bullets from the direction of Cuitron, swept the advance, and the Companies opened out in extended order. Nothing could be seen of the 51st Division on the left and, on the right, of the 2/4th Hants who, owing to the nature of the ground had been forced for a time to follow in rear of the 2/4th Duke of Wellington’s, had not yet come up on the right flank; both flanks were thus “in the air.”

Eventually, however, the right of the Battalion came up with the 185th Infantry Brigade, then about 600 yards from Marfaux. At this point the two waves on the right, i.e., the two right Companies, seem to have merged into one and joined up with units of the 185th Brigade, with which they made another attempt to go forward in the direction of Marfaux.

But the two waves on the left, i.e., the two left Companies, did not gain touch with the 186th Brigade and, though advancing slowly, pressed on along the northern bank of the Ardre River. Several strong points and a farm–Min.d’Ardre–gave considerable trouble. The platoons on the left flank stormed and took the farm; another platoon rushed a strong point north of the farm and, killing the occupants, captured two machine-guns. A platoon on the right, close to the road, attacked a second enemy point, taking fourteen prisoners and two machine-guns.

The two right companies, with the 185th Infantry Brigade, continued to work their way through the southern edge of the Bois de Pourcy, though meeting with heavy opposition from machine-gun fire.

The records state that:–“Nearly fifty per cent. of the Battalions by this time had become casualties, but with splendid spirit they gradually worked their way forward.”

The two left Companies had, by now, become split up into small parties. Isolated units, eager to capture Marfaux, had pressed forward to within 70 yards of the village. One platoon on the northern edge of Marfaux actually succeeded in entering the village, but the enemy was too strong and, in turn, the gallant Duke’s were forced to retire to the line held about 200 yards east of the village.

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the whole attack had practically ceased. Dead-tired–but unbeaten–the Yorkshiremen set to work to reorganize and keep a firm hold on their gains. Heavy casualties had been suffered, but the enemy had been forced to give ground, and the knowledge that British troops were pitted against him, as well as French and Italians, had shaken his defence. The bravest men in the German Army, during the latter half of 1918, were the machine-gunners; they alone held up the allied attacks and once they gave way the German line gave also.

No material change took place in the Divisional line until the evening, when the 185th Infantry Brigade was ordered to withdraw behind the line of the 186th Infantry Brigade. The Pioneers (9th Durham Light Infantry) were also assembled behind the 187th Infantry Brigade, in support, available for operations on the next day.

Quite unlike anything the Division had hitherto experienced in France, was the desperate fighting which took place on the 20th July. The enemy clung tenaciously to all his positions. Everything was in his favour–his machine-guns were skilfully concealed and well handled, and his snipers were everywhere where vantage ground could be made use of. The barrage which, had it come down on the right positions, must have shaken him, was wide of the mark. And yet, the Yorkshiremen, fighting under extraordinary disadvantages and difficulties, clung equally tenaciously to every foot of ground gained. Their pluck and endurance were inspiring. Prisoners (three officers and fifty other ranks) had been taken from four German Divisions, i.e., 103rd, 123rd, 50th and 86th, which showed that the enemy was as strong, if not stronger, than the two British Divisions opposed to him.1

On the night of the 20th the British line ran roughly east of Espilly, Marfaux and Cuitron, thence through the Bois de Rheims, west of Courmas, southwards to the cross roads between Bouilly and Onrezy.

About 10 p.m., orders were received from Corps Headquarters to continue the attack on the following day. . . .

1 The estimated casualties of the 62nd Division on 20th July (less three battalions) were forty-six officers and 775 other ranks.

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Additional Photo(s) For Soldier Records

Loos Memorial: small circular court containing Panels 67 to 73

Loos Memorial: small circular court containing Panels 67 to 73

John was mistakenly commemorated on the Loos Memorial; his name will eventually be removed

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

Loos Memorial: Panel 68

Loos Memorial: Panel 68

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

Soissons Memorial

Soissons Memorial

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

Soissons Memorial Addenda

Soissons Memorial Addenda

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

Soissons Memorial Addenda - detail

Soissons Memorial Addenda - detail

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

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16 August 1918

Sergeant John William Spencer, of Earby

Sergeant John William Spencer, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, news of whose death was received on Saturday, was killed in action near Rheims on July 20th. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Spencer, 5 Shuttleworth Street, Earby, he joined the Colours in January 1915, and had spent about 18 months on the Western Front, having been previously wounded. Sergeant Spencer was 25 years of age, and leaves a widow and one child living at 8 Albion Street, Earby.

Prior to enlisting he worked for Messrs. C. Shuttleworth and Co., at Victoria Shed. His brother, Second-Lieutenant Walter Spencer, is at present in a London hospital undergoing treatment for shell shock, while another brother, Private Hr. Spencer, lost a foot in the early stages of the war.

In a letter received by Mrs. Spencer, dated the 8th inst., Lieut. J. Copeland, states:– “Although your husband had only been with the Company a very short time, he quickly proved his capability as a most excellent N.C.O. and we feel we have been robbed of a very good man; in fact his Company Commander declared his intention of recommending your husband for commission. I beg to offer my deepest sympathy to you in your great loss.”

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16 August 1918

Earby Soldier Killed

Sergt. John Wm. Spencer, Duke of Wellington’s, news of whose death was received on Saturday, was killed in action near Rheims on July 20th. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Spencer, 5, Shuttleworth Street, Earby, he joined the colours in January, 1915, and had spent abort 18 months on the Western front, having been previously wounded. Sergt. Spencer was 25 years of age, and leaves a widow and one child living at 8, Albion, Street, Earby. Prior to enlisting he worked for Messrs. C. Shuttleworth and Co. at Victoria Shed. His brother, Sec. Lieut. Walter Spencer, is at present in a London hospital under treatment for shell shock, while another brother, Pte. H. Spencer, lost a foot in the early stages of the war.

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