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Person Details
Mapperley
Samuel was born in 1895 and was the son of Edwin and Harriet Spencer nee Richardson at Mapperly, Notts. He had three sisters, Maud, Hannah and Edith and two brothers, John and Fred. The family moved from Mapperly to Woodborough around 1898 and in 1901, Samuel was working as a framework knitter and lived on Shelt Hill. In the 1911 census the family were still living at Shelt Hill, however Samuel is not with them but was employed as a farm servant, resident with John Taylor, a farm baliffe, at Calverton, Notts. His mother died on the 6th July 1912. The National Probate Register of 1919 reads:- Spencer Samuel of Shelt Hill Top, Woodborough, Nottingham, Sergeant in HM Army died 27 May 1918 at sea. Ad-ministration Nottingham 29th April to Edwin Spencer market gardener Effects £138 7s 8d
27 May 1918
23
1439119 - CWGC Website
280416
Nottingham
Sergeant
South Nottinghamshire Hussars
Samuel was a sergeant in the South Nott's Hussars. He is the only Woodborough man to have died at sea during this war. The Hussars had been fighting in the Middle East and they were returning to France where they were to be re-formed as a machine gun company. Their new title was to be the South Notts Machine Gun Battalion. They were sent to Alexandria, Egypt and had received orders to embark on a transporter ship called the "Leasowe Castle" on 23th May 1918 ¹. On 27th May, the ship was struck by a torpedo with devastating results. A very detailed account of the fateful journey may be read in the historical records of the South Notts Hussars Yeomanry by G. Fellows.Samuel went down with the ship. This account is from a local resident posted on the Woodborough village website. Samuel was born in 1895 and was the son of Edwin and Harriet Spencer. He worked as a framework knitter and like Arthur Spencer also lived on Shelt Hill, Woodborough. Samuel was a sergeant in the South Notts Hussars. He is the only Woodborough man to have died at sea during this war. The Hussars had been fighting in the Middle East and they were returning to France where they were to be re-formed as a machine gun company. Their new title was to be the South Notts Machine Gun Battalion. They were sent to Alexandria, Egypt and had received orders to embark on a transporter ship called the "Leasowe Castle" on 23th May 1918 ¹. On 27th May, the ship was struck by a torpedo with devastating results. A very detailed account of the fateful journey may be read in the historical records of the South Notts Hussars Yeomanry by G. Fellows. The "Leasowe Castle" was one of a convoy of six transporters and they were accompanied by a number of destroyers. The weather was good, the sea was calm and a brilliant moon shone in the night sky. At 1.30 am on May 27th 1918 when the ship was about 104 miles from Alexandria, the "Leasowe Castle" was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side. The engines were immediately stopped. The troops mustered to their stations, rolls were called, boats lowered and rafts flung overboard. The Japanese destroyer "R" stood by, while the remainder of the convoy continued on their journey at full speed. We are informed that perfect order was maintained on board, the men standing quietly at their stations as if on parade, while those detailed for the work assisted in lowering the boats. Lifeboats were launched in the course of forty five minutes and the rescue attempt continued smoothly. The "Leasowe Castle" remained fairly steady, though sinking a little at the stern, with a slight list to port. All of 'B' (Warwickshire Yeomanry) Company of the Battalion went over the port side and were picked up in the water. About 1.45am. HM sloop "Lily" appeared having turned back from the convoy to assist in the work of rescue. She ran her bows up to the starboard side of the "Leasowe Castle" and made fast, so that troops were able to pass quickly on board. Meanwhile the Japanese destroyer put up a smoke screen for protection. Suddenly about 3.00am a bulkhead in the aft part of the ship gave way, and with a loud noise the "Leasowe Castle" sank rapidly. The "Lily" had a narrow escape, as the hawsers connecting her with the sinking ship were cut with an axe just in time.
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