I get many people contacting me via email or message as a result of Googling a name that takes them to one of my Blogs. I love that so many people are kind enough to share with me their family stories and often precious family photos. Even better when it leads to an old photo that I’ve found being returned to their family. Occasionally I get archives or museums that have contacted me and also fellow researchers, this is about just one lovely chap Donald who contacted me, he said ‘I am researching some photos that I purchased for our Regimental archives! One of them is of Alfred David John Spence-Colby. Which I Googled and it led me to your wonderful web site. I have a photograph of him, born 1919 died 1933. He served with the 16th/5th Lancers and the photograph of him is in his Lancers uniform‘
Doesn’t Alfred look absolutely splendid! Donald very kindly gave me permission to share this quick photo he took of the image with you all. I am so pleased that I also was able to help him in piecing together some more information about Alfred. Don had been unable to find out why he died so young as it wasn’t in battle.
As so often happens the British Newspaper Archives came up trumps! Looking on his burial details that I had on my Ancestry Tree for the family it says that he was resident at Donnington Hall, so combining that with the surname Colby brought up several results, here are two with some lots of information that Donald will be able to use in writing about Alfred.
I also found this account in the archives of the actual accident reported in the Gloucester Citizen on Thursday 30 March 1933, reporting on the accident and Alfred’s death just the day before: DEATH OF LT. DAVID SPENCE-COLBY FATAL SEQUEL TO RACING ACCIDENT BRILLIANT HORSEMAN We deeply regret report the death which took place yesterday of Lieut. David Spence-Colby. of the 16th/5th Lancers, the only son of Colonel and Mrs. Spence-Colby, of Donnington Hall, Ledbury. Lieut. Spence-Colby, who would have been 24 in few day* time, met with accident while riding at the Sparkford Vale Harriers point- to-point meeting Babcary, Somerset, on Saturday. He was riding a horse named Patron Minet, and lying well about six fences from home when his horse pitched at a fence.
Lieut. Spence-Colby was thrown off, and another horse struck him on the head. His skull was fractured, and was immediately taken to Wincanton Hospital. A specialist was summoned from London, and it was hoped that despite his serious injury Lieut. Spence-Colby would recover. Yesterday morning, however, he took a turn “for the worse, and died at 6.45. The horse which he was riding, Patron Minet, has won several times the same meeting before. Spence-Colby was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. He joined the 16th/5th Lancers Tidworth in 1929. For two years he was stationed in Edinburgh, and later returned to Tidworth. He was devoted to horses, and riding both to hound: and at point-to-point meetings was his great delight. An exceptionally bold and brilliant horseman he had ridden with his father’s pack since he was a child. In point-to-point races he had been very successful, particularly with his own horse Bog Rat. He won his regimental race two years running and the Subalterns’ Cup. Racing Career Cut Short By his skill and judgment in the saddle he had also won several important other point-to-point races. His death, in the prime of his youth, has cut short most promising career soldier and horseman. Hunting people in many parts of the country will feel his loss keenly, but to none will the blow be great as to those in the Ledbury country, where he was loved and respected by countless friends and his parents, Colonel and Mrs. Spence-Colby, it the greatest tragedy they have known, and the sympathy of all Gloucestershire people will be extended to them ill their loss‘.
I originally wrote a short bit about Alfred in my first Blog about the family back in October 2019. But as there was so much to write about his parents Cecil John Herbert Spence-Jones and Aline Margaret Colby (I had found a super photo of them on their Wedding Day…See below) I didn’t explore his life at all at the time, just saying that the couples daughter Louise Aline had had two sons, and her brother Alfred died at a fairly young age in March 1933. Such a terrible tragedy for the family. Here’s the link to that Blog if you haven’t read it yet: https://lynnswaffles.com/2019/10/07/cecil-j-h-spence-jones%e2%9d%a4%ef%b8%8faline-m-colby/
If you are interested in reading more about the Colby family by sheer coincidence I found another photo relating to the family and wrote another Blog in May 2020, this one was about John Colby who’s wife’s photo I found. This tale also led me connections with the wonderful Ffynone, Pembrokeshire and also Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire: https://www.culture4pembrokeshire.co.uk/content.asp?nav=8 I am so looking forward to visiting Scolton when I am able.
This is the direct link to the family tree I compiled back in 2019 on Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/164149030/family?cfpid=322137483637
If by chance you do have any more information about Alfred or anyone else in the 16/5th Lancers please get in touch via my email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass the information all on to Don and the team at the Regimental Archives of the 16/5 Lancers.
Happy New Year!
Till next time then………..