Horace Lewis was actually born Horace Spendelove on November 27th 1897. His mother was Gertrude Anne Spendelove who came from the neighbouring village of New Whittington. When Horace was baptised on 3rd January 1898 Gertrude was living at Prospect Road Old Whittington.
Gertrude married William Thomas Lewis on 16th April 1900 at Old Whittington Church. William was 23 years of age and Gertrude was 25 years old.
By the 1901 census the family were living 6 George Street Old Whittington. William is an Iron Worker and Horace is now 3 years old.
Horace started attending Websters Endowed Mixed School at Whittington on 5th March 1901 and date of last attendance was entered as 18th July 1901. We must assume he was transferred to another school but unfortunately this information wasn’t entered in the Admissions and Log book.
By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved and were living at 52 High Street Old Whittington. Horace’s surname is now listed as Lewis and there is a new family member a daughter Gertrude May born 31st May 1905. Gertrude May was baptised at Old Whittington Church on 23rd July 1905 and her father is now classed as a Forgeman.
Horace enlisted on 2nd October 1916 in Derby and his Service Number was 242277. He joined the Highland Light Infantry 9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion Territorial and fought in WW1. Many WW1 Service Records were destroyed in 1940, sadly Horace’s Record was one of those.
Cap Badge of the Highland Light Infantry
We do know that Horace arrived in France around April 1917 and by this time the Highland Light Infantry 9th Battalion had transferred to the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division. They took part in various activities on the Western Front. Most notably they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres or what became known as Passchendaele.Here is further information about Passchendaele
The 33rd Division under General Plumers Second Army was involved in The Battle of the Menin Road 20 -25 September 1917 and the Battle of Polygon Wood. This was one of the most intense 3rd Ypres efforts to push the Germans back just to the South of Polygon Wood. During this battle of 25/26 September the 9th Highland Light Infantry lost about 450 men either killed, wounded or missing. Those who died are nearly all commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial. More can be found here
Sadly Horace was killed in action on 26th September 1917 and he is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial. He was 19 years old.
Around the eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Ieper in Belgium stands the Tyne Cot Memorial. It bears the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave, nearly all of whom died between August 1917 and November 1918.
This area on the Western Front was the scene of the Third Battle of Ypres. Also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, it was one of the major battles of the First World War.
Taken from Commonwealth War Grave Commission information on Tyne Cot Cemetery.
More information on the history and location of Tyne Cot can be found here
Below is a transcript of the report of Horaces death in the Derbyshire Courier 13th October 1917.
The parents of Private Horace Lewis, Old Whittington, have received information that he has been killed in action in France. He joined the Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow) on 2nd October 1916 and had been in France for about five months. Before the war he worked at Messrs Greens Timber Merchants and was a chorister in the Old Whittington Parish Church Choir. From his Officer came a letter dated 30th September, which said –
“It is with feelings of the deepest sympathy and most sincere regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, Private Horace Lewis, on 27 September. The Battalion has just taken part in the heaviest fighting, and only four of No 10 Platoon survived to tell the sad news. I did not see your son killed, but from one of the lads who was near him at the time I gather a shell burst nearby killing a party of four, and your son unfortunately was one of them. He was very well liked by my Platoon, and joined with us enthusiastically in all our merriments. I cannot express in words my feelings at the time, and I condole with you in your sad bereavement- Yours sincerely Lance Sergeant James Sneddon”. Private Lewis was 19 years and 11 months old.
As you can see from the above entry there is confusion over the date that Horace was killed. The War Office recorded that Horace died on 26th September 1917 but his Officer recorded his death on 27th. I imagine in the heat of Battle it was very difficult to keep exact records.
The grave record for Tyne Cot Cemetery also shows the date of death as 26th September 1917.
Tyne Cot Cemetery
Horace was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
Horace is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Old Whittington War Memorial and the Scottish National War Memorial details can be found here
In 1939 Horace’s mum Gertrude and her husband William were still in Old Whittington at 24 Broomhill Lane.
Horace’s sister Gertrude May married George Wynne Edwards on May 18 1924 and continued to live in Chesterfield.