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Person Details
18 Feb 1885
William Lewis was the son of Edwin Thomas Lewis and Mary Elizabeth Spencer (née Hurt or Hunt). His father Edwin Thomas was born in Loughborough, Leicestershire, in 1862 (A/M/J Loughborough) and his mother Mary Elizabeth Hurt in Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, in about 1860. They were married in 1882 (O/N/D Nottingham) and went on to have 5 children, all of whom were born in Nottingham: Edwin Thomas b 18 December 1883 (1884 J/F/M Nottingham) bap. 20 March 1896 Nottingham St Patrick (Anglican), William Lewis b 18 February 1885 (J/F/M Nottingham) bap. 22 March 1896 St Patrick, Edith May b 17 March 1891 (A/M/J Nottingham) bap. 13 July 1891 Nottingham St Ann address 12 Rushworth Terrace, Jack b 1895 (O/N/D Nottingham) and Harold b 18 July 1901 (J/A/S Nottingham) bap. 1 September 1901 St Patrick. Three of the baptismal records give their father's first name as 'Edward'. There is a baptismal record for a Jack Spencer at Nottingham St John on 16 October 1895 parents Edmund (sic) Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Spencer of 3 Albert Place; this is within the period of the registration of birth (1895 O/N/D). However, there is also a record of the baptism of a John Spencer b. 13 August 1895, bap. 20 March 1896 St Patrick, parents Edward (sic) Thomas and Mary Elizabeth nee Hunt. There is, though, no corresponding birth registration for a John Spencer in 1895 (J/A/S). In 1891 his parents were living at Rushworth Terrace, Nottingham, with their three children Edwin (7), William (6) and Edith (u/1yr). Edwin snr. was a framework knitter. By 1901 they were living at 17 Lewis Square, Nottingham. Edwin (38) was now a lace maker. Edwin (17) was a lace clipper, William (16) a box maker while Edith (10) and Jack (5) were at school. In the 1911 census the family are living at 13 Sailsbury Square, Beck Street, Nottingham, and are shown as Mary Elizabeth 50 yrs married but head of household and working as a charwoman . She is living with 4 of her children, Edwin Thomas 27 yrs an iron founder, Edith May 20 yrs a lace ripper, Jack 18 yrs an apprentice printer and Harold 9 yrs of age a scholar. Edwin snr. has not yet been traced on the 1911 census but was included in notices of his sons' deaths in 1916 and 1917. In the same 1911 census we find that William Lewis has left the family home; he married his wife Edith Maltby (b1890 Nottingham) in Nottingham in 1910 (J/A/S Nottingham) and they are living at 3 Richmond Street, Sneinton, Nottingham. William is 26 years a mineral water bottler, Edith is 21 yrs and a lace hand. Also at the address is a lodger, Nellie Back 16 yrs also a lace hand. William and Edith had a son Lewis Spencer born 30th August 1912 in Nottingham. Lewis may have married Florence Caunt in 1934 (A/M/J Nottingham); he died in 1992 (Sep. Hampshire). A notice of William's death in the local paper in 1916 gave his address as 4 Jackson Terrace, Simkins Street, Nottingham. William's brother Jack served with the 16th Bn Sherwood Foresters (26968 Private) and was killed on 21 June 1916 (Le Touret Military Cemetery Richebourg-L'Avoue). (See record on this ROH.) His father, Edwin Thomas, died in 1934 (A/M/J Nottingham).
In 1911 he was a water bottler
04 Oct 1916
1553689 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Nottingham
The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)
William Lewis Spencer enlisted in Nottingham and served with the 11th battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Princes of Wales's Own). He landed in France on 26th August 1915 and joined the British Expeditionary Force . William was killed in action on 4th October 1916. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal
A letter written by William Lewis Spencer was published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 29nd June 1916 (prior to his death) it reads : - “SOLDIER AND THE SLACKERS. “Sir, — Being home on leave from the firing line I have made it my business to see round Nottingham, and I find that heaps of men have not joined the army. I should like to make an appeal to all single men to join at once and help crush the vilest enemy that has ever stepped on God's earth. It does seem hard to come home and see so many shirkers walking about not caring what becomes of those who are trying their best to crush the enemy. It would do the shirkers good to see the Tommies and hear them singing under terrible conditions. The weather is getting better and all the boys are looking forward for the young men of England to come in thousands and help them to finish this war. Now young men of Nottingham don't disgrace the name of the city you were born in. Come at once and do your duty cheerfully and we shall win. Without your help it will be a hard struggle. I hope this letter will help to swell the ranks of the boys in khaki. — I am, sir, &c., William L. Spencer, West Yorkshires.” Article courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 1 November 1916: ‘Spencer. Killed in action, October 4th, 1916, Private Lewis Spencer, West Yorkshires, of 4 Jackson-terrace, Simkins-street, aged 32. Nobly lived. Hero he died. Too dearly loved to (-). Sorrowing wife and little son Lewis.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 1 November 1916: ‘Spencer. Killed in action, October 4th, 1916, Private William Lewis Spencer, second son of Ted and Lizzie Spencer, aged 32. We have sacrificed our second son; it’s hard to say Thy will be done. From his sorrowing mother, dad, brothers and only sister Edith.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 4 October 1917: ‘Spencer. In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. William Lewis Spencer, killed in action October 4th, 1916. Memory, like ivy, clings. Wife and son.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 4 October 1917: ‘Spencer. In loving memory of our dear son, WL Spencer, killed in action October 4th, 1916, aged 32. Memory keeps our loved one near to us. Loving mother, father, brothers, only sister.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: His widow, Edith, was his legatee and received payments for herself and her child (Lewis). Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 18 April 1934: ‘Spencer. On April 16th, Edwin Thomas, passed away at the City Infirmary. At rest. Son and daughter, Harold and Edith. Funeral Carlton, Thursday, 1.45pm.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on