Private Herbert Spence


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known for certain, but it seems probable that he was one of the following:

The Herbert Spence born 13 October 1895 at 7 Cairo Street, Belfast, one of six children of book-binder Andrew Spence and his wife Christina (née Higgison). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 84 Dunluce Avenue, Belfast, with his parents and three surviving siblings. The family later lived at 21 Hatfield Street.

The Herbert Spence born on 24 April 1898 at 50 Limestone Road, Belfast, the ninth of eleven children of missionary Samuel Spence and his wife Lizzie (née Busby). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 150 Alexandra Park Avenue, Belfast, with his parents and six of his seven surviving siblings.

Spence enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 10 June and 6 July 1915 (No.1693 – later Corps of Hussars No.71503). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron came together with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. It then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

During 1918 Spence applied for a commission. He embarked for the UK for officer cadet training, arriving at No.1 Reception Battalion for Candidates for Commissions around September 1918. The war ended, however, before his training was completed, and on 19 February 1919 Spence was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.