Gunner Spivey

Samuel Webster SPIVEY and Annie Elizabeth HOGGARTH were not natives of Filey but they married at St Oswald’s Church in May 1887 and all eleven of their children were born in the town. When the census was taken in 1911 the family was complete and living together at 1, Queen Street.

Only two of the children were girls, which meant that five or six of the boys could go for soldiers.

Samuel, born in 1897, died a hundred years ago today. At the time of his death, he was with “C” Battery, 317th Brigade of the Royal Artillery. This was a Second Line Territorial Force serving with 63rd (Royal Naval) Divisional Artillery, so I have no idea how long Samuel had been involved in the fighting on the Western Front. If he had been sent over as a replacement in 1917 he may have seen action at Arras and Third Ypres, and perhaps the Second Battle of Passchendaele in October/November. Had he lived a couple of months more he would have experienced the German Spring Offensive and then helped to drive the enemy back into Germany. January seems to have been a relatively quiet time. I haven’t been able to find an account of the action that took his life. Driver John Renton PARKINSON, “C” Bty., and Gunner Thomas George SMITH, “B” Bty. 317th Bde. died with Samuel on this day.

“C” Battery was a small unit with just six 18 pounders and you don’t need any imagination to figure what Samuel was called upon to do.

Positioning18pdrBattleOfArrasApril1917
A British 18 pounder field gun being moved into a new position, Battle of Arras, April 1917. Photographer: John Warwick Brooke, public domain

Samuel is buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. Coming as he did from a large and cohesive family unit, it is sad that there are no relatives mentioned in the grave registration and headstone documents.

Samuel wasn’t on the FamilySearch Tree until this afternoon. I have spent a few hours building on a fragment created by, I think, one of his grandnephews. FG&C has Samuel and all his siblings.

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