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Tom Spencer (1893-1917)

Yorkshire man served with 18th DLI commemorated on Arras Memorial

Tom Spencer was born in 1893, the son of James Henry Spencer and Keyia Spencer. He grew up in Keighley, West Yorkshire as part of a large family. James Henry and Keyia married in 1882 and had a total of 12 children, ten of whom survived childhood. Tom’s father was a farm bailiff but Tom did not join his father on the farm, instead became a spinning overseer. Quite a few of his siblings were also involved in the textile industry, either as weavers or as bobbin makers.

At the time of his enlistment on 1 December 1915, Tom was living with his family on Low Close farm in Keighley. He was posted to the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI) on his arrival in France on 6 November 1916. He joined the unit in the field a few days later to serve as a private with the service number 36808. Tom was killed in action during the battle of Arras on 16 May 1917.

Tom was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service which were sent to his father. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and remembered both in Durham Cathedral, as part of the DLI, and on a war memorial in his home town of Eastburn.

Tom’s younger brother John also served during the First World War as part of the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment. John survived the war.

Birth date: 1893

Death date: 16-May-1917

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Low Close Farm, Eastburn, Keighley (1901, 1911 Census, Service Record)

Employment: Spinning overseer (1911 Census, Service Record)

Family: Parents: James Henry Spencer (b.1863) and Keyia Spencer, nee. Hughes (b.1860)
Siblings: Robert Henry Spencer (b.1884), Willie Spencer (b.1888), Sarah Jane Spencer (b.1890), Harry Spencer (b.1892), Mary Spencer (b. 1894), John Spencer (b.1899), Maggie Spencer (b.1902), Hartley Spencer (b.1903)

Military service:

18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Service Number: 36808

Medal(s): Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Arras Memorial, France
Book of Remembrance 1914-18 DLI, Durham Cathedral
War Memorial, Steeton and Eastburn

Gender: Male

Contributed by Durham at War Intern

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