Walter Tom Spencer

KOYLIPrivate, 26513, 2/5th Battalion (previously 7th (Service) Battalion and 2nd Battalion), King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, killed in action, 27th March 1918, aged 25.

Born at Crowle in 1893, Walter Tom was one of six(?) children of Walter Snr & Elizabeth Spencer. His father was from Walkeringham and mother from Heckdyke, West Stockwith.

In 1881 his father was a general carrier in Walkeringham. However in 1891, whilst the family are living in Love Lane, Crowle, he is a farm horseman for Joseph Temperton at West Butterwick.

In 1901, Walter and his mother were living with elder brother George and his family in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. In 1906, his mother remarried to Edwin Burton and in 1911 Walter was living with them in Hatfield whilst working as a railway carriage painter. Presumably at Doncaster Plant Works,

Walter enlisted in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Doncaster in 1916. Originally joining the 7th (Service) Battalion, by February 1918 he was with the 2/5th Battalion as they merged with the 1/5th Battalion, in 187th Brigade, 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division to become the 5th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

During the German Operation Michael Spring Offensive in March 1918, the 5th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry had formed a defensive position at Rossignol Wood, near Bucquoy and Hebuterne. On 28th March a German attack had captured part of their position and they organised a counter-attack to win it back. A further German attack breaking through and  isolating the 5th KIng’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry front positions, the support troops counter-attacked again to assist them.

Eventually forced to withdrawn the 5th KIng’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry lost a heavy number of casualties at Rossignol Wood, including Private Walter Spencer. Walter has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial.