4th Battalion, Shropshire Light Infantry, 30th September 1918
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Harry Spain was born in the 2nd quarter of 1899 at Hornsey, London to George John and Rosina Mary Spain. His father had been a Brewers Clerk.
Very little is known about the life and army service of Harry Spain, however, it is known that he enlisted at Tottenham, London and initially entered service into the Rifle Brigade as Private, 36139, the same unit as that of his deceased brother Frank, this was probably as a base training unit. He did have the service number 9/25547 prior to that so it is likely that he was a member of the Territorial Reserve prior to enlisting as a regular soldier.
His Medal Roll shows that following the Rifle Brigade, he was to become a member of the 7th Shropshire Light Infantry as Private, number 27669 and at some point he moved to the 4th battalion of the same regiment with the same number.
Harry would have moved with his unit to France / Flanders sometime from 1916 onwards and on the 30th September 1918 when his regiment was involved in a successful attack, he was killed in action.
His body was either never recovered or remained unidentified as he is honoured and remembered on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
Following his death, his mother and father were shown as the recipients of his belongings and pension.
His brothers, George, Edward and Frank were all in the military serving with the British Expeditionary Force, Frank was killed on 22 January 1915 while serving with the 1st Rifle Brigade and is buried at Rifle House Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.
Diary for the 4th Battalion, Shropshire Light Infantry
30th September 1918
Extract from the above War Diary, the day of Harry’s death :-
The 1/4th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry-Front lines at Mauquissart, in the left sub-sector, with Batt. H.Q. at map ref. M.28.d.9.2.:-
1.30 a.m. – “C” & “D” Companies move to jumping off spots. “A” & “B” move to support positions.
4.30 a.m. – All companies in position ready to go forward.
7.30 a.m. – Attacked LES LAIES DITCH and patrols pushed out either site of ditch. All objectives gained 7.45 a.m., 2nd Lieutenants HARTY and LEACH killed, 2nd Lieutenant MARRINDEN dangerously wounded.
6 p.m. – NOTION TRENCH successful(sic) attacked and posts established at junction of NOTION and DORA TRENCH.
10.30 p.m. – The Battalion was relieved by the 8/North Staffordshires and proceed to trenches in front of La Coutre.
Harry Spain was born in the 2nd quarter of 1899 at Hornsey, London.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father: George John Spain, born c.1862 at Dover, Kent. (Brewers Clerk)(d:1933)
- Mother: Rosina Mary Goldfinch or Spain, born c.1864 at Dover, Kent.(d:1940)
- Brother: Cecil Earle, born c.1888 at St Pancras, London.
- Sister: Ethel May, born c.1889 at St Pancras, London.
- Brother: Frank Coram, born c.1891 at St Pancras, London.
- Sister: Rosina May, born c.1892 at St Pancras, London.
- Brother: George Harold, born c.1893 at St Pancras, London.(d:1973)
- Brother: Edward Walker, born c.1895 at St Pancras, London.(d:1928)
In several documents, George Harold Spain appears as Harold G. (e.g. the Census), it is likely that he was known by his middle name which was not uncommon at the time.
From information found in the 1891 and 1901 Census and Pension card, the following addresses have been ascertained for Harry Spain.
- 1901: Residing at the family home at 70 Warham Road, Hornsey, Harrningay, London.
- 1911: Residing at the family home at 8 Belmont Street, West Green, London N15.
- 1919: 8 Belmont Street, West Green, London N15.
There is no trace of Harry Spain being remembered on any particular memorial other than the Loos Memorial.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Harry Spain
- Lives of the First World War – Harry Spain
- A Street Near You website – Harry Spain
- Find a Grave – Harry Spain – Loos Memorial
- WW1 Lives – Frank Coram Spain
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Medal Index Card.
- Medal Roll – Shropshire Light Infantry – Victory and British War Medal.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- The National Archive – 4th Shropshire Light Infantry War Diary.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- Pension Card.
- 1901 Census.
- 1911 Census.
- Vincent Stuart