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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

Herbert George Spiller


Name: Herbert George Spiller

Rank: Private

Service Number: 766878

Regiment: London Regiment

Battalion/Unit number:28th Battalion (Artist's Rifles)

Date/year of Birth: 1881

Place of Birth: Wilton, Taunton

Place of Residence: 11 Belvedere Road West, Taunton

Date of Death: 12th May 1920

Place of Death: Taunton

Burial/Memorial: St James Cemetery, Staplegrove Road, Taunton

Herbert was born in 1881, the son of George and Emily Spiller.  In 1901, they lived in Weir Villa, an impressive detached building on the corner of Staplegrove Road and French Weir Avenue.  George was an ironmonger and part of a well known and influential family in Taunton at the time. Georgeís brother, Henry James Spiller was twice mayor of Taunton, and their grandfather, John Spiller, was the builder contracted to rebuild the St James church tower in the 1870ís (although it was Henry James who was responsible for the completion of the work after the death of his father).

Herbert studied law and by 1910 was working as a solicitor

In 1910 Herbert is listed on the electoral roll for South Perth, Australia, at an address on Suburban Road (now Mill Point Road).  With him is his wife Winifred Elva (Lewis) whom he married on 7 March 1907 in Taunton.  The first of their five children was Elizabeth Lewis Spiller, who was born on 13 Sep 1909 in Australia.

Herbert, Winifred & Elizabeth returned to England on 1 Aug 1910 on the White Star Line vessel ĎAfricí and by 1911 the family had their home at 11, Belvedere Rd, Taunton, where they remained.

Herbertís war record survives in the National Archive at Kew and shows that he enlisted on 11th Dec 1915.  A solicitor by profession, and aged 33 when war broke out, he may have joined under the ĎDerby Scheme'.  This encouraged men to voluntarily register their name on the principle that once registered they would be called up for service only when necessary.  As an added incentive married men were advised that they would only be called up once the supply of single men was exhausted.

Herbert spent just under 2 years in the Army Reserve before being attested into the 28th London Regiment (Artistís Rifles) on 2 Sep 1917.   He was posted to France, leaving from Southampton to arrive in Le Havre on 9 Apr 1918.  He saw active service in the Somme area but contracted influenza in July and was returned to England.  In Dec 1918 he was reviewed as no longer fit for active service and was discharged. 

Herbert died in May 1920, when the cause of death given was nephritis, (inflammation of the kidneys) and he is buried in the St James Cemetery off Staplegrove Road in Taunton.  Although he is listed in the CWGC records, he has a family memorial which is not maintained by the CWGC and sadly today the gravestone is overgrown and neglected.

Herbert Spiller's gravestone, in St James Cemetery, Staplegrove Road, Taunton 


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