David Spence was born in Fifeshire, Scotland. He joined the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers in 1842. At the age of 40 years old, and as a Troop Sergeant Major with the 9th Lancers, during the Indian Mutiny he was awarded the Victoria Cross. “For conspicuous gallantry on the 17th of January, 1858, at Shumsabad, in going to the assistance of Private Kidd, who had been wounded, and his horse disabled, and bringing him out from a large number of rebels”. David Spence served 24 years with the Regiment and finished his service as RSM. On 17th April 1877 David Spence VC, the retired Lancer and Yeoman Warder suffered a stroke in a London street, at 59 years of age.
After over a decade (by the family) of searching for the location of his grave, it was finally located in Lambeth Cemetery in an unmarked plot. The Regiment, the Victoria Cross Trust and the family have spent the last five years raising the money to have a headstone placed on the grave, ensuring the final resting pace of this gallant soldier was appropriately commemorated. It is fitting that the site of Spence’s grave is only 150 yards from the grave of Robert Kells VC another 9th Lancer and Yeoman Warder who won his VC during the Indian Mutiny. Both VCs can be seen at the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum in Derby.
On Tuesday 14th March 2017, the gravestone was unveiled by the Regiment and members of the Spence family (some who had travelled from as far away as Australia) for the event. The service was conducted by the Regimental Padre, Major Graham Collingwood, and the serving Regiment was represented by Brigadier Andrew Hughes CBE, the Colonel of the Regiment.