Friday, 18 March 2016

Arthur Spencer 1891-1916

Arthur Spencer
Barnsley Chronicle 26th August 1916
with thanks to Barnsley Archives
11th May 1891  

Military Service:
Enlisted: 1911
Regiment and Battalion: York and Lancaster Regiment  9th Battalion
Rank2nd Lieutenant
Awards: Victory Medal and British War Medal

Death: 1st July 1916 age 25
Buried at: Blighty Valley Cemetery Authuille Wood
Grave Reference: V. B. 30

Information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Son of Squire Radcliffe ( Coal Factor) and Kate Spencer of 54 Gawber Road Barnsley.
Links & Notes:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lives of the First World War

From De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour (on
Prior to the outbreak of war he trained for four years with the Yorkshire Dragoons (Queen's Own). He obtained his commission on the 25th February 26th 1915. Serving with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 11th May 1916: was reported missing 1st July following after the great offensive at Ovillers, near Albert and three months later was reported killed in action on that date. He is buried in Authille Wood near Albert.
WAR DIARY of the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment
1st and 2nd July 1916  (Transcribed from

Being the leading Bttn. on the left of the Yo'Bde, in the attack near OVILLERS the Battn. assaulted as per APPENDIX I (attached the June Diary).  The attack was timed for 7.30 and for an hour previous to that hour the guns delivered an internal bombardment to which the enemy replied. At the time the assault commenced our front line trenches in the NAB were heavily shelled but the casualties were very few. No smoke was liberated on our front as the wind was unfavourable.  The first wave left our trenches in perfect order time were at once met by an exceptionally heavy fire from the front & both flanks. Most of the men were killed or wounded, but the remainder continued the advance. In spite of the heavy fire the remaining waves advance the attack but before getting halfway to the enemy trenches were mowen down by the machine guns.  About seventy men reached the enemy trenches & some of these eventually reached the enemy's third lines of his front system of trenches. Here they remained fighting for some time until all were killed or taken prisoner - one returned.  The remainder were held up in the enemy front line & considerable fighting took place here until almost all were killed only 3 returned.  Many of the enemy were killed by our men both in his trenches & when he marched across the open counter attack.  

The supporting Battn (9th York and Lancs) was also caught in the machine guns as they advanced to the the attack 7 suffered so many casualties that only an odd man or two reached the German line where our men so badly needed support. 

The same happened to the Reserve Bttn. (11th Sherwood Foresters)  The Battn. as it went over the parapet numbered 680 NCOs men & 28 officers.  Of these only 68 returned.  All the officers were casualties, 18 being killed & missing & 5 wounded.  The C.O. Adjutant were among the killed. In the evening the Bde was withdrawn upon being relieved by the S.W.B.  

The survivors of the action came into camp in small parties and rested all day.  In the afternoon enquiries of the missing were made, all the survivors being paraded for this purpose & COY Rolls were checked.

The Btn marched to DERNANCOURT for entertainment.

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