Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
corisande

Is this suicide after Bloody Sunday verifiable?

Recommended Posts

corisande

It is difficult to separate the truth from the spin with Bloody Sunday

Dwyer002-copy.jpg

This suicide is in Dwyer's book on Collins. Nelligan was one of Collins mole's within Dublin Castle

I have searched high and low to try to verify it.

The chances are, that if it were true the man was a serving soldier and should have had a CWGC grave. Or else should have appeared in the Times. But I cannot find anything that would verify it. Can anyone help cast any light?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Carmania

This is how Neligan relates it in the Griffith & O'Grady book:

'There was panic that day in the Castle. One of the secret service men who survived shot himself in the Castle that day'.

How reliable a witness was Neligan? Being based in the Castle meant that he knew what was going on. Does his book have anything to say about it?

Aled

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
How reliable a witness was Neligan?

Two questions here

1. Neligan supplied 100% (or close) accurate information to Collins

2. A different point is how information was spun to the press by both sides. Certainly the IRA have consistently overstressed the significance of Bloody Sunday in destroying the British Intelligence network in Dublin. And would be in their interests to show an even bigger success - ie a suicide.

This "suicide" may or may not be true - sounds plausible (just) but that is what spin is about.

I cannot find anything in the press, but you might say that if true, the mans family would not broadcast it.

Certainly it continues to be peddled in a number of books without verification

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

I have found that suicide now, Henry Spenle (what I have on him) shot himself in Dublin Castle and his body was treat as one of the Bloody Sunday victims

The-Irish-Times---Saturday,.jpg

I don't suppose that anyone has any of the other four

Sturgis records in his diary 1921 May 19 that there was a 5th suicide that day in Ormonde's office - "there seems to be a curse on that place"

Perhaps I should add one very odd thing

1920 Nov. Death of Henry E Spenle recorded Oct/Dec 1920 vol 2 , p 378, aged 27 indicating birth 1893

And strangely

1921 Sep 30 relinquishes his commission Lt: H. E. Spenle (Gazette recording in The Times, Monday, Nov 21, 1921)

times-rel-com.jpg

Which seems to be the right man and the right battalion, but is nearly a year after he committed suicide. One can assume a number of theories here, but his death was certainly registered in Autumn 1920 in Dublin, and H E Spenle, 12th Battalion London Regt is not something that one can mistake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnny_doyle

there is a birth record for Henry Emile Spenle in Q3 1896 in Salford.

He is in the 1901 census on Ancestry as Sperle with parents John and Elizabeth. John is from Alsace and a naturalized citizen, a mechanical engineer aged 46. Elizabeth is aged 35 from Manchester. A brother Charles Davies Spenle is on the census. There's a birth record for him in 1899. There is a marriage record for John Spenle in Chorlton, 1893.

Cadet Henry Emile Spenle etc

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29626/supplements/6049

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30022/pages/3601

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/31552/supplements/11572

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30379/supplements/11766

John Spenle's naturalization

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/26131/pages/621

Charles Spenle also appears to have served

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/32605/supplements/1178

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough
Certainly it continues to be peddled in a number of books without verification

Well done on the verification, seems like the books were accurate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

Hi,

Could this be the death of his mother?

Regards Mark

post-14045-097526200 1284510729.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
Well done on the verification, seems like the books were accurate.

Murrough, one thing one learns very quickly when researching this area is that one needs to be skeptical about information put out by either side. Both sides tended to overstate their own cases and understate the oppositions case (quite natural, but leads to my point on verification)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
He is in the 1901 census on Ancestry as Sperle with parents John and Elizabeth.

Thanks for that johnny_doyle. That was well spotted, Spenle certainly is a name that officialdom manages to mangle when they have to record it which makes him very difficult to follow.

I have not managed to find a MIC for him, nor have I found an RAF officers record for him (inquiry into his death indicates that he had a bad crash while an RAF officer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
Could this be the death of his mother?

Thanks Mark, that must be his mother, even though the 1901 census puts her as born in UK. It is possible, but unlikely that there was another John Spenle, engineer, warred to an Elizabeth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

Hi,

I don't know if you already have this reference to his service records at the National Archives

Piece reference WO 374/64463

SPENLE, 2/Lieut H E

Artists Rifles

'The Artists Rifles originated in May 1860 as a corps of rifle volunteers, formed by an art student, Edward Sterling, from members of the artistic professions. Its first HQ was at Burlington House. It provided the largest contingent for the City Imperial Volunteers in the Boer War. When the Territorial Force was created in 1908 it became the 28th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment. Shortly after the outbreak of the Great War second line and third line battalions were formed - numbered 2/28th and 3/28th, the original battalion being 1/28th. The latter arrived in France at the end of October 1914 and became an Officers Training Corps (OTC), first at Bailleul and in April 1915 at St Omer. In November 1915 it absorbed the 2/28th; the 3/28th (which remained in the UK) then became 2/28th. In the summer of 1917 cadet schools in France were closed and potential officers were sent to the UK for training, and 1/28th Battalion, freed at last from its OTC role, was sent to the front at the end of June 1917, allocated to 190th Brigade, 63rd (RN) Division where it remained to the end of the war.'

Regards Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Mark

Thank you

What I failed to find was a MIC and his RAF service record

Given I am in Spain, I thought I could short circuit the process by getting an RAF online record, but it dos not seem to be there. Mind you apart from the reference in the inquiry into his death to the plane crash, I cannot prove he was in RAF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnny_doyle

there is also a marriage record for Henry E Spenle in Brentford, Q4 1919 to a lady called Sybil Olga G Schanblin (she appears to have been born Lancashire 1895)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

Hi,

I can only find a long number for his brother.

Mark

post-14045-057522600 1284574722.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Interestingly I have not come across any reference to the widow in the post suicide information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
I can only find a long number for his brother.

I have tried all possible (well probably all possible) name permutations to try to find a MIC card. Odd really that there appears to be none. I suppose it is just possible hat he never left UK, and that his crash was a training accident in UK - hence no medals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IPT

I too have spent a happy hour trying various combinations. Seems odd that neither brother has a MIC.

Do you get the impression that Henry was a desk johnny?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

From the Army Lists

31 Oct 1916 Army List

12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers)

2nd Lieutenant

posted to 1Bn(on probation)Sperle, H E 12June16

28 Nov 1917 Army List

Commands & Staff (Graded as Staff Lieutenant 2nd Class)

Spenle 2nd Lt HE 12 Bn Lond R 11Aug17

12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers)

2nd Lieutenant

Spenle H E (Spec Appt) 12June16

28 Nov 1918 Army List

Commands & Staff (Class HH)

Spenle Lt HE 12 Bn Lond R 11Aug17

12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers)

Lieutenant

Spenle H E (Spec Appt) 1July17

27 Nov 1919 Army List

12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers)

Lieutenant

Spenle H E 1July17

29 Nov 1920 Army List

12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers)

Lieutenant

Spenle H E 1July17

The pictures are from the 1916 Army List

Regards Mark

post-14045-001667200 1284580467.jpg

post-14045-009520800 1284580475.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
Do you get the impression that Henry was a desk johnny?

Spenle-01.jpg

I suppose that it is this from the inquest that makes me think he was in the RAF. But I am not sure what you can read into it

As far as I can see there are no MICs for any "Henry Emile" and even "Emile" comes up with a manageable number of MIC but I cannot see anything suitable

His appointments in LGa re to Staff Lt positions, but they were not all desk jobs were they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Mark

Thank for highlighting the spelling - trouble is his is an easy name to get wrong, and it invariably is.

I have used the wildcard in Ancestry MIC searches to try to get all permutations of such a Sp*le, and tried as well with permutations of Spingall which the MO used as an alternative to Spenle in his inquest, and Spenleigh as in Times report.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rflory

From the Artists Rifles: Regimental Roll of Honour and War Record 1914-1919: 5422 Henry Emile Spenle enlisted in the 3rd Bn, The Artists Rifles between 12 Nov and 29 Nov 1915, He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut., 12th (County) Bn (The Rangers), London Regiment (TF) on 12 June 1916 and served on the staff. There is no mention of his death. Dick Flory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

3/28th Battalion The London Regiment T.F. and No. 15 (ARTISTS' RIFLES) O.C.B.

On the 1st January, 1915, by which date old Artists and others were beginning to arrive from the Colonies for training as Officers,

a third Battalion, "3/28th London" had been started (at first severely restricted to two Companies under a Major), in which all subsequent recruits

had to be enrolled. It was placed under the command of Lt.-Col. William Shirley, an old friend of the Corps, recently retired from the Indian Army,

who had been acting as Second-in-command of 2/28th. He brought very special qualifications to the post, having been for some years an Army

Instructor in India, at Sandhurst, and at Cambridge University, where on the outbreak of war he was holding the appointment of Director of Military

Studies. On occasions this Battalion, which was principally officered in the first instance by senior N.C.O's sent home for the purpose from l/28th in France, was over 3,000 strong and in 3 years had passed 9,352 recruits through its ranks. After a period of recruit training in London, which

included the construction at Kenwood of a series of entrenchments and dugouts on the most up-to-date Continental models, it also went into camp in

Richmond Park, whence it was moved in July, 1915, to High Beech in Epping Forest, thence to Hare Hall, Romford, and finally to Berkhampstead,

and on the absorption of the original 2nd Battalion by the 1st it was renumbered 2/28th.

In May, 1915, instructions were issued for the formation within this Battalion of a separate School of Instruction for newly gazetted Officers of

other Territorial regiments on similar lines to the School in France and during the next few months upwards of 1,500 such Officers passed through

the School courses and examinations.

In November, 1915, the Regiment was officially recognised by Army Order (No. 429 of 1915) as an Officers' Training Corps, and the Home Battalion became the 2nd Artists Rifles O.T.C In March, 1916, its separate School, then at Gidea Park, was converted into four Companies of cadets to which recruits were passed on for training as Officers after receiving a preliminary military training in the ranks of the other four Companies, the whole being under the command of Colonel Shirley and run by Artists' Officers and Sergeant Instructors. In August, 1916, by which date the organisation of Officer Cadet Battalions throughout the United Kingdom had been perfected, the four Cadet Companies were separated from Colonel Shirley's Battalion and transformed into "No. 15 (Artists Rifles), O.C.B." which was placed under the command of Lt.-Col.E. St. L. Shaw (1st East Surrey) an invalided Regular Officer, with a Staff of Artists and other Officers and Sergeant Instructors. Thenceforth recruits enrolled in 3/28th were sent, on completion of their preliminary training, indiscriminately to No. 15 or to any other O.C.B. in which there were vacancies at the moment, while No. 15 as part of the general scheme of these O.C.B. 's received Cadets from other units besides the Artists.In 1918 Colonel Shaw was succeeded by Colonel Gascoigne who retained command of this O.C.B. until the end of the War.

In July, 1918, Colonel Shirley was compelled by ill-health to relinquish the command of 3/28th, and was succeeded by Lt.-Col. Ostle (an Artists

Officer who went out in October, 1914, as a junior Captain, rose to be Second-in-command of the 2nd Border Regiment, and subsequently commanded

two different Battalions in the Field before being sent home to Hospital.

post-14045-060788100 1284598429.jpg

post-14045-070119000 1284599090.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Mark and Dick

Thank you for the information on the Artists Rifles. We seem to be making progress in tying Spenle down on his movements, but as usual some bits get a bit more confused. As I see it

1. 5422 Henry Emile Spenle enlisted in the 3rd Bn, The Artists Rifles between 12 Nov and 29 Nov 1915

2. There is a gap now from 29 Nov 1915 to 12 Jun 1916. What was he doing?

3. Shortly after the outbreak of the Great War second line and third line battalions were formed - numbered 2/28th and 3/28th, the original battalion being 1/28th. The latter arrived in France at the end of October 1914 and became an Officers Training Corps (OTC), first at Bailleul and in April 1915 at St Omer. In November 1915 it absorbed the 2/28th; the 3/28th (which remained in the UK) then became 2/28th.

On the 1st January, 1915 a third Battalion, "3/28th London" had been started (at first severely restricted to two Companies under a Major), in which all subsequent recruits had to be enrolled ...After a period of recruit training in London, which included the construction at Kenwood of a series of entrenchments and dugouts on the most up-to-date Continental models, it also went into camp in Richmond Park, whence it was moved in July, 1915, to High Beech in Epping Forest, thence to Hare Hall, Romford, and finally to Berkhampstead,

4. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut., 12th (County) Bn (The Rangers), London Regiment (TF) on 12 June 1916 and served on the staff. LG says from Artists Rifles O.T.C.

5. Posted to 1st Battalion 12th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The Rangers) 1916 Oct 31

6. He appears to have had 2 "special appointments" graded Staff Lt or HH in 1917 and 1918 before being restored to 12 London Regt establishment in 1919

6. Can any of the above infer that he was in France. The Artists Rifles OTC appears to have been in France at that time

7. Nowhere in the bits I have put together on his life is there any indication that he served in RAF, in spite of inquest witness statements (two of the witnesses there refer to his crask, and one specifially says RAF)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mhifle

Hi,

I think he was with 3/28th London Bn (Artists Rifles O.T.C.) at Hare Hall, Romford & maybe Berkhampstead from 29 Nov 1915 to 12 Jun 1916 completing some basic and officer training.

He was then commissioned into the 12th (County) Bn (The Rangers), London Regiment 12 June 1916.

The number '1' on the 1916 Army List may indicate the 1/12th (County of London) Battalion which was part of 168th Brigade in 56th (London) Division at this time, rather than the 2/12th (County of London) Battalion which was at Bromeswell Heath at this time.

Regards Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ianw

I wonder if his special appointments were in an intelligence role. Due to his parentage (Swiss mother/Alsatian father) it would seem exceedingly likely that he would have had excellent language skills - perhaps fluent in both German and French - and could concievably have been in an aircraft that crashed while inserting or removing him from behind German lines in France.

His language skills may have been discovered during training and led him being combed out of the Artists into the Londons.

Of course he would never have actually been in the RAF. His designation as a staff Lt could have been a cover - and also incidentally give increased pay to reflect his work. I think a Staff Lt was paid the same as a Captain. His regimental affiliations may well have been pretty nominal. His wife also seems to have been of foreign extraction. So maybe not a "desk johnny" but the exact opposite!

If his entire Army career had been as a "spook", it might well explain his mental state at the end of his life.

If the Germans had caught him, he might have been shot as a spy or maybe as a traitor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...