Randolph was born in 1886. He was the son of “Jim” Spencer and Mary Hannah. “Jim” is in inverted commas because, as we can see from the baptismal register of Holy Trinity Church in Messingham he appears to have been named Jem.
Jem married Mary Hannah Roe at Bottesford on the 29th of July 1884 and again we are fortunate enough to have a copy of the parish register of marriages and here we can see that the name entered is “Jim”. We can also see that the groom was unable to read or write since he “signed” the register by making his mark next to his name.
Our next record of the family finds them living, in 1901, in West End Terrace in Ashby. Obviously that street name has long since been changed but it is fairly safe to assume that it was somewhere up the High Street towards Belmont Street or Lindley Street.
By 1911 we find the family living at number 30 Victoria Road.
Jim and his two elder sons are working in the ironstone mines and Randolph is bricklayer’s labourer.
Jim died in 1918 and so Randolph’s mother is named as his next of kin on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificates and roll of honour.
As we can see from Randolph’s medal record card he either enlisted or completed his basic training on the 1st of March 1915. He served in the 1st/5th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. The history of the Battalion has been thoroughly recorded in Chris Bailey and Steve Bramley’s excellent book and there are many other sources of information available to those who wish to learn more.
Randolph would have lived through periods of intense fighting in the battle of Loos, the Hohenzollern Redoubt and the famous battle of Hill 60.
He would have spent time in Egypt guarding the Suez canal before being sent back to France in January of 1916.
He survived the battle of the Somme and all its horrors and massive losses but towards the end of June find himself with the Battalion engaged in the battle of Arras. His Company, D, was deployed in the northern sector known as Souchez which we can see from the map opposite was north east of Vimy Ridge close to the town of Lens. The men from D Company found themselves in forward trenches on the front line and occupied several dugouts in Ahead Trench. Randolph along with four other men, three of them from Scunthorpe, was killed by a sudden and unexpected explosion in one of these dugouts.
Randolph has no known grave but he commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at Arras.