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Tom Spencer


Harrogate Herald - 7th April 1915

[Extract from a letter by Cpl George Petty]

I had a rather pleasant experience the other day. The Harrogate Herald had arrived and was being devoured as usual by your humble. I had scanned through the photos to see if any friends' faces were there, and noticed Tommy Spencer's "fiz" among others, and who should I see not five minutes after but Tommy himself. While I was talking to him Jim Heavysides popped up. You will remember him; one of the stalwarts of the old East Ward CC. It's grand to come across friends like that


Harrogate Herald - 14th February 1917

W H Breare letter

A large number of non-commissioned officers are coming from the Front on a month's leave preparatory to entering Officers' Training Corps, and receiving a commission. A number of Harrogate boys have this prospect in view. I mentioned one last week. I have another, viz., Corporal A E Garnett. He went out in March, 1915, was wounded in an advance, and reported missing, but at that time he was already in hospital. Garnett has seen Reff Laycock, who is at Brigade Headquarters using his pen to some effect. Captain Freeman, of Bilton Court, [Son of ? Walter Freeman, JP, Bilton Court, Wetherby Lane] went out at the same time as Corporal Garnett. My visitor before the war was manager for the West Riding Dairy Company in Station Parade. Tom Spencer of Spencer Brothers, fruiterers, Cambridge Street, was one of Garnett's comrades, and my visitor left his Herald with Spencer when he came away. Garnett will not need one for some time, so I am going to send it to Tom Spencer as soon as I obtain his full address. I am sure Spencer will think it much better to have a Herald all his own and directed to him rather than to inherit the one which has come in Garnett's name.


Harrogate Herald - 27th June 1917

W H Breare letter

"It did one good to see his smile!" I don't know how it is, but you can generally trust a woman to realise by instinct that which would escape a mere man. As it was getting near a meal time one day a daughter-in-law of mine looked round my office door, paused, then retired. The fact was I had one of my soldier boys with me. He turned his head to see who was coming and smiled. The opening words of this paragraph were uttered by my daughter-in-law to a lady friend outside, who she regretted had not caught sight of the soldier's happy face. The boy was my friend Lance Corporal J Houseman, of a Yorkshire battalion of Regulars. Only on Saturday he had been wed to Lizzie Malloy, of Harlow Hill. My daughter returned the smile, for she felt the man was associated with some pleasant incident. That is why I remark they somehow instinctively see and feel much that we men are blind to. She was right! Houseman has a contagious smile. He is as bright and jolly a chap as I have seen for a long while - all this after being in hospital since April 20th [maybe 26th] at Rouen where happily, strange to say, he was under the patient care of Dr H Douglas Wilson, of Ripon Road, Harrogate. Houseman is just now on leave, but will soon go to one of the home camps. He has been out two years and three months, untouched, until rheumatic fever got him. I was interested to hear that with him is Tom Spencer, the fruiterer. They are great pals. Then Reff Laycock is of the same lot. I was very disappointed to find that, though Houseman's wife was just outside, she didn't like to come in, and so I missed seeing her. Never mind, I have no doubt I shall see her on some future occasion, and I hope that will never be a sad one. Now, lads, let us all stop breathing a second or two and wish Lance Corporal Houseman and his bride every happiness, he'll do as much for you when you get home and have reached the happy marriage state.


Harrogate Herald - 27th March 1918

W H Breare letter

Sergeant Waddington called to thank me on Friday morning. There were other boys on leave with him, and the privilege was granted in consideration of their valuable services in Italy. He is a member of a gun corps. I am sorry to say that Waddington's father, who lives in St Mary's Avenue, has been ill for some time. He had a seizure lately necessitating his removal to the Infirmary for an operation, which I trust, will result in complete restoration. My visitor saw the son of Mr F Walker, of St Mary's Walk, in Italy just before he came on leave, in France. He likewise saw Tom Spencer, another of the Territorials who gallantly responded to his country's call. The latter is on leave. 


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