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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

2/Lt. G. T. Spendlove, 2nd South Lancs.

Stephen Nulty

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Paraphrased from "Bond of Sacrifice"

Gervase Thorpe Spendlove was born at Beeston on 29th December 1896.

On the outbreak of the war he and three others rode through France with a letter to Sir John French, and they were attached to the RE as Despatch Riders with the rank of Corporal. Spendlove was given a commission to the 2nd Bn., South Lancs Regt. and was killed on 17th November 1914, aged 17, by shellfire.

He rests in Ypres Town cemetery.

"Bond of Sacrifice" says that he may well have been the youngest officer to fall in the war, although as it is Vol. 1 and only covers officer deaths up until the end of 1914, there was still a long way to go!

The regimental history has no mention of him, but for the period in question it says that thy were in trenches in the vicinity of Zwarteleen, near Hooge. "Up to 22nd November the battle ebbed and flowed all along the line, punctuated on 11th and 13th by violent German attacks, preceded by artillery bombardments of unparalleled fury, and carried out by picked troops in overwhelming numbers".

CWGC states that he was 18, but as Bond of Sacrifice actually states his date of birth (as above), there is clearly some doubt. There is also a web site, recording gravestones in Beeston, which states that he was born in 1895 and was aged 19!

I'm having trouble getting in to Ancestry to check any of these dates, so would appreciate it if anybody can confirm his date or birth and also, does anybody know if he was indeed the youngest army officer to be killed in the war?

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Actually, I've just come across this from The Times of 2nd December 1914, which suggests that he was 18 after all. Wonder where the Date of Birth in "Bond of Sacrifice" came from?


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His Birth Registration was March Quarter 1896 so I'd suggest Bond of Sacrifice date is wrong by a year.

Gervase Thorpe Spendlove

Year of Registration: 1896

Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar

District: Nottingham

County: Nottinghamshire

Volume: 7b

Page: 284



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I remember seeing at Belgian Battery Corner cemetery a reference on an officer's grave to his brother who was killed at Neuve Chapelle, an officer, who, the stone says, was 17. However, this is dependent on my unreliable memory of something that I saw at least seven or eight years ago and will therefore need to be checked - not least for the name of the individual involved!

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Thanks, Steve & Nigel.

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PM me if you want a photo of his grave Stephen. From the Bond Of sacrifice he does look remarkably baby faced.

His age is given as 18 on the stone


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