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  • The obituary for Arthur Spowage published in the Newark Herald on 20th April 1918 entitled 'Our honoured dead'
Person Details
Sibthorpe, Nottinghamshire
Arthur was the son of Thomas Spowage, of Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire, and of Ann Spowage. Arthur Spowage was born at Sibthorpe in 1889 and baptised on the 12th May 1889 at St Peter’s in Sibthorpe. Arthur was the fourth child and second son of Thomas and Ann Spowage (nee Grantham). His three older siblings were Annie, Ellen and George. Arthur’s dad Thomas Spowage was born in about 1852 in Elston. Thomas’s dad Levi was born in Elston and Thomas’s mum Ellen was born in East Stoke. Arthur’s mum Anne Grantham was born in 1848 at West Keal near Spilsby in Lincolnshire. Her dad Richard Grantham was a master Tailor from Stainton Le Vale near Caistor Lincolnshire, and her mum Mary was from Thorpe (about 1 km to the east of Keal). Ann was baptised 17th Sep 1848 at St Helen in West Keal. At the time of the 1901 census his father was a farm bailiff, and Arthur (12) was the only child living at home, although there was also granddaughter, Bertha Barratt (3), in the house. In 1907 when he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards he was an agricultural labourer working for Mr H Anchor (farmer) of Swinethorpe, Lincolnshire, his parents were living in Sibthorpe, Annie at Thurlby near Melton Mowbray, Ellen at Beeston, Nottingham, and George at Higham Ferrers, Leicester. In 1911 Arthur was based with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in London and after he was discharged to the Army Reserve in April 1914 he joined Nottinghamshire Constabulary as a police officer and was stationed at Bingham.
Arthur attended Elston village school and the Wesleyan Sunday School. He was an agricultural labourer before enlisting in the Grenadier Guards in 1907. He later became a police officer with Nottinghamshire Constabulary and served at Bingham Police Station.
30 Mar 1918
1670806 - CWGC Website
  • DCM DCM Distinguished Conduct Medal
2nd Bn Grenadier Guards
Arthur's Army service record survives. He joined the Grenadier Guards on a short service engagement (3 years with the Colours, 9 years in the Reserve) on 13 April 1907 at the age of 18y 3m. He extended his service to complete 7 years with the Colours. 1911 Census (military schedule): private, 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, London. He was discharged to the Army Reserve on 13 April 1914 and was mobilized on 5 August 1914. He was promoted corporal 26 December 1914, was acting sergeant in January and December 1915, and promoted sergeant on 4 August 1916 then Acting CQSM 6 May 1917-23 May 1917. His record notes that he received a gun shot wound in his arm (undated). He won the DCM for taking command of his platoon when the officer was injured and then led the platoon forward, capturing several machine gun placements and then covering a breach in the flanks. He was killed in action on 30th March 1918; his body was never recovered or identified and he has no known grave. His name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. The Newark Herald, Saturday 20 April 1918. ‘Our Honoured Dead. Sergt. A. Spowage, DCM, Elston.’ "On Monday the parents of Sergt. A. Spowage, Grenadier Guards, received the sad news that he had been killed. The information was contained in a letter from an officer, who stated that he was in a dug-out when a shell fell and burst upon it, killing him instantly. He was a native of Elston, and attended the village school, the Wesleyan Sunday School, and the Band of Hope Later in life he entered the police force, and was stationed at Bingham. He had been in the Army some considerable time and was home as recently as last January [1918] when he was in the best of spirits, and has since written to his father and mother in an equally cheerful strain, expressing the hope that he would again see them before long. That he was one of the bravest is borne out by the fat that he had won the DCM for saving a critical situation and also carrying out excellent work in the Allied cause. The following is the official record:- "13211 Sergt. A Spowage, Grenadier Guards (Newark). For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When his platoon commander was wounded early in an attack, he took charge and led the platoon forward with great determination under heavy fire, capturing several machine guns and killing the teams. Seeing that the flank of the battalion was in the air, he led his platoon on his own initiative to fill the gap. He consolidated his position under heavy fire, and saved a critical situation by his courage and good leadership. “Mr and Mrs Spowage have had a War Office communication corroborating the fact that their son had laid down his life, and much sympathy is felt for them in the heavy and irreparable blow they have sustained.”
His captain wrote later to his father, Thomas Spowage: “You will have heard by now my bad news, and I only wish the necessities of war had allowed me the opportunity before this of writing to tell you how sad I was at the death of your son. “It is no exaggeration that I would sooner have lost anyone in the company but him. “This you will understand, for apart from my affection for him – which was shared by all the men – he was such a master of musketry and so competent in all his duties. “After all these months and years of service, it does seem hard that a shell should have pitched directly on to the small dugout in which he and three others were sitting. “There was never any chance and he only lived for a few minutes afterwards. A cross has been placed on his grave which had to be the place where he died.” The report goes on to say that Mr and Mrs Spowage had by then received a communiqué from the War Office confirming their son’s death. The Distinguished Conduct Medal was instituted by Royal Warrant on 4 December 1854 during the Crimean War, as an award to Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men for "distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field". For all ranks below commissioned officers, it was the second highest award for gallantry in action after the Victoria Cross, and the other ranks' equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order, which was awarded to commissioned officers for bravery. Prior to the institution of this medal there had been no medal awarded by the British government in recognition of individual acts of gallantry in the Army Listed in Nottinghamshire County Council register of employees who served (Nottinghamshire Archives ref CC CL 2/12/1/1). Information courtesy of Rachel Farrand and additional information courtesy of Richard Hallam
Remembered on


  • The obituary for Arthur Spowage published in the Newark Herald on 20th April 1918 entitled 'Our honoured dead'
    Arthur Spowage - The obituary for Arthur Spowage published in the Newark Herald on 20th April 1918 entitled 'Our honoured dead'
  • Has no known grave, his name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Photo courtesy of CWGC
    Arthur Spowage - Has no known grave, his name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Photo courtesy of CWGC