Page 140 - The Chapka 2016
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 RSM David Spence VC – 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers
 RSM David Spence VC
“We shall remember them!” Normally this refers to the act of remembering ‘comrades in arms’ that have fallen on the battlefield, but on the 14th March 2017, we remembered a comrade (and for me, my Great Great Grandfather) that had not fallen, but triumphed on the battlefield 160 years ago, dur- ing the Indian Mutiny. This tri- umph and act of bravery in 1858 by Troop Sergeant Major David Spence of the 9th Lancers re- sulted in him being awarded the highly-coveted Victoria Cross, his citation read:
The assembled crowd stood at David Spence’s grave a 140 years later to remember this brave man and to watch proudly as his new grave marker was unveiled. In attendance were many de- scendants of his family who came from all over the world to be there and stand shoulder to shoulder with the Colonel of the Regiment, members of the Old Comrades Association and an ‘honour guard’ of two 9th Lancer Lancers provided by the serv- ing regiment and the short service was conducted by the padre, Major Graham Collingwood. The family were extremely grate- ful for the support from the regiment and the Victoria Cross Trust in ensuring that this brave Lancer was no longer lying in an unmarked grave. From a family’s point of view, the fact he survived the war also secured their own very existence.
“It’s daunting to think that this man must have been close to be- ing killed on many many occasions during the many battles he took part in and none of us would be here today had fate taken a different turn. We are his legacy that lives on. Towards the end of the service when the last post was played we found ourselves wiping a tear away for a man that we had never met, and yet holds such a presence in our lives due to his unswerving bravery so long ago. We shall remember him, and his comrades who never returned and we shall remember David Spence, a brave soldier and our Great Great grandfather who did return”
Mr Greg Spence (from Australia) unveiled TSM Spence’s VC grave stone
‘For conspicuous gallantry on the 17th of January, 1858, at Shumsabad, in going to the assistance of Private Kidd, who had been wounded, and his horse disabled, and bringing him out from a large number of rebels. Dispatch from Major General Sir James Hope Grant, KCB, dated 8th April 1858’
David Spence was born in 1818 in Inverkiething Scotland, he was married in in 1835 to Elspet and joined the 9th Lancers in 1838. In 1842 David accompanied by his wife had moved with the regiment to India initially fighting in the Gwalior campaign. When they went to India they have left their young son Robert back in Scotland being cared by his Grandmother. Elspet was to spend sixteen years in India with David while his was away fighting. During this sixteen-year posting to India, David and Elspet had seven children but by the time they returned home only one child had survived to accompany them home as the other six children had succumbed to various fevers and illnesses.
David eventually left the regiment after 24 years’ service in 1862 at his own request. On leaving the Army he joined the mounted Coast Guard Service where he patrolled Cornish coast. In 1864 his wife Elspet sadly died of typhoid fever in Falmouth, and within one year he re-married, an innkeeper’s daughter named Mary Pascoe. David Spence had a total of 21 children by two marriages but tragically he lost twelve of them in their infan- cy. After he left the Coast Guard Service, he moved to London to run a tavern in Camberwell, and during this period he also served as a as Yeoman Warder until his death in 1877, and was buried in Lambeth Cemetery.
   Medals awarded to RSM Spence
Message from the Colonel of the Regiment

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