Private Clifford Spedding, H/38321, 13th Hussars
Clifford Spedding was born in Ossett on the 12th December 1888, and baptised at Methley Parish Church on the 13th January 1889, the only son of Albert Spedding and his wife, Annie Elizabeth (nee Limbert), who married at Ossett Holy Trinity Church on the 20th August 1886. The couple had two children, Florrie, born in Methley, in 1887 and Clifford.
In 1891, Albert Spedding, a joiner, his wife, Ryther-born Annie, and their two children lived on Wakefield Road, Ossett, but by 1901 they had moved across town to Healey and Albert was working as a joiner for the Corporation. The family remained at Healey in 1911 when Albert was a working joiner for a shoddy manufacturer and Clifford, now aged 22, was working as an oil extractor, probably for the same company.
On the 30th May 1914, Clifford Spedding, aged 25 years, married 25 year-old spinster, Beatrice Hoult, of 'Glenholme', Runtlings Lane, Ossett at South Ossett Christ Church. The couple appear not to have had children. At some stage the Speddings moved to 41, The Green, Ossett.
Clifford Spedding’s army service record has not survived the blitz of WW2, but it is known that he enlisted at Scarborough, and joined the 13th Hussars Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line with the service number 38321. He died of enteric fever in India on the 15th April 1918 and was posthumously awarded the British and Victory medals, but not the 1914/15 Star, indicating that he did not serve overseas prior to the 31st December 1915.
At the start of WW1 in August 1914, the 13th Hussars were based at Meerut in India, as a part of the Meerut Cavalry Brigade. They moved with Brigade to France as part of 2nd Indian Cavalry Division, and landed Marseilles in December 1914. On the 15th September 1915, they transferred with brigade to 2nd Indian Cavalry Division and in July 1916, they moved with Brigade to Mesopotamia and came under orders of 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade. Some men of the 13th Hussars like Private Clifford Spedding were in India in April and May 1918, rather than being in Mesopotamia, where the 13th Hussars fought the Turks of the Ottoman Empire with distinction.
This snippet of information from the "The Thirteenth Hussars in the Great War" by Sir H. Mortimer Durand, printed in 1921, tells us that several men of the 13th Hussars left Mesopotamia for India on the 10th April 1918:
"On April 9th some Divisional Races were held on the race-course near our camp, and in these several of our horses proved successful. On the following day we received the welcome news that leave to India was granted, and a party consisting of 2 officers and 12 men left the same day en route for India to enjoy a well-earned 28 days' furlough."
Private Clifford Spedding must have been one of the twelve men granted a month's leave in India, which turned out to be fatal after he contracted typhoid.
The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this short obituary for Clifford Spedding:
"Ossett Man's Death In India - On Thursday, the sad news was received that Private C. Spedding (29), 13th Hussars, a married man whose home is at 41, the Green, Ossett, had died of of enteric fever while serving his country in India, where he had been for six months. He used to work at Messrs. E. Townend's mill at Healey."
Private Clifford Spedding, aged 29 years, son of Albert and Annie Spedding; husband of Beatrice Spedding, of 41, The Green, Ossett, died on the 15th April 1918. He is buried at Plot 4, Grave 98 at the Meerut Cantonment Cemetery,2 India. Meerut is located about 85 kilometres north-east of New Delhi. There are 153 CWGC graves located in different plots of the cemetery. All the CWGC graves have a steel tag marked ‘CWGC’ behind the grave marker.
1. "Ossett Observer", 4th May 1918