John Spencer Payne’s life is a bit of a challenge to piece together, as there is little documentation available. He was born in 1894 in the village of Overton-on-Dee, near Wrexham and was one of two children to Charles and Elizabeth Payne. John was christened in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, at which point, his father’s trade was ‘gentleman’.
The next available document for John is the 1911 census. This records him as living in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, where he was working as a bank clerk. He was living in Severn Road, to the south of the town centre, with his now-widowed mother, his older sister and his maternal aunt.
War came to Europe in 1914, and, while there is limited information about John’s service, it is clear that he had enlisted by September 1915. He joined the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars as a Private and was assigned to the 2nd/1st Battalion.
The battalion was a second-line unit, that remained in England until late in the war, when it transferred to Ireland. By the spring of 1916, it had become a cyclist unit although, with no other documentation for Private Payne, it is impossible to determine how or when he served.
Sadly, too, the only other document about Private Payne’s life is the confirmation of his death. He passed away at home on 10th February 1916, although the cause of his death is not recorded. He was just 22 years old.
John Spencer Payne was laid to rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare.