An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Frederick Oscar SPEIGHT

No. 2088 Serjeant, 1/15th (County of London) Battalion,
The London Regiment
(Prince of Wales’s Own, Civil Service Rifles).

Born 2 October 1885,
Died 28 January 1916, aged 30 years.

Buried in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay,
Pas de Calais, France, Grave I. D. 26.

Serjeant Speight is one of 1,379 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. He is also commemorated on a family memorial in Redcar Cemetery, close to that of James Henry Foxton (q.v.).

Frederick Oscar Speight has an unusual entry in the school Register, being one of the few boys having his mother specified as his guardian. His mother, Fanny Henderson Speight, was widowed in 1891 when her husband David, a master draper, died, aged 36. They lived at 29, High Street, Redcar, and she took over the family business. She was 35 at the time and Frederick was their only surviving child; two others did not survive infancy. Frederick won a North Riding County Council Scholarship to attend Coatham Grammar School, starting in September 1898 when he was 12, and staying until April 1904, when he was 18. His occupation on leaving is not specified but the 1911 Census records him as a civil servant, living in Mortlake, Surrey, with his mother, by then a ‘retired milliner’, and an elderly uncle. Given the date of Frederick’s death he will have been a volunteer, and at that time his mother still lived in Mortlake, although she later moved back to Yorkshire, to Marske-by-the-Sea, where she died in 1930.