1. Grave:Cabaret-Rouge British CemeteryXXI. C. 26. Souchez
2. Website:Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614.
3. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.118
4. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour42A GQS

Awards & Titles:

Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches
Queen's South Africa Medal 6 x Clasps
1914 (Mons) Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Family :

Son of Lord and Lady Edward Cavendish.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 1st Life Guards 

1st Life Guards Up to August 1914, the Life Guards were stationed at barracks in Hyde Park, handily placed for the many royal guard and ceremonial duties that they were called upon to perform in London. However, despite the finery, this prestigious regiment ? formed in 1788 as the principal mounted guard of the monarch ? the Life Guards were always an active service unit whenever required. It was, of course, a regiment of the regular army. Soon after the declaration of war, one of the squadrons was detached to help form the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment, which moved to France with 4th Cavalry Brigade and saw action at Mons and in the subsequent withdrawal to and beyond the Marne, the decisive battle of the Marne, and later at Ypres. The Composite Regiment was broken up on 11 November 1914, and the squadron rejoined the regiment, which was by now itself on the Western Front. The main body crossed to Belgium, landing on 8 October 1914. Other than in the first two weeks when it was used in the traditional cavalry, for mobile reconnaissance, it fought most of the war as a dismounted force. The regiment was heavily involved at the First Battle of Ypres (October ? November 1914); Second Ypres (April-May 1915); Loos (September-October 1915) and Arras (April 1917). At other times, it took its turn in holding various sections of the front line trenches, and at other times prepared to exploit breakthroughs in battle, but opportunities rarely presented themselves. On 10 March 1918, it was detached from 7th Cavalry Brigade, with which it had served from August 1914. It was formally dismounted, and converted into the No 1 (1st Life Guards) Battalion of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. It was while this unit was being trained at the great base camp at Etaples that it was hit by an enemy air raid ? a very frequent occurrence in the densely populated coastal area behind the front ? on 19 May 1918. The raid lasted from 10.30pm to 1am on 20 May. Shortly before midnight, two bombs fell on the Life Guards camp. No fewer than 42 men were killed, and 83 wounded, in this incident.

Action : The Battles of Ypres 1914 (First Ypres) 

19 October - 22 November 1914. Following the failure of the German Schlieffen Plan in August and September 1914, both sides engaged in a series of linked battles as they sought to outflank each other. The climax of these manouvres was at Ypres in November 1914 when the might of the German Army attempted to break the much outnumbered British Expeditionary Force. The political importance of Ypres, being the last town of any size in Belgium that remained in allied hands, established its importance for both sides and ensured a series of battles over four years.

The First Battle of Ypres in 1914 is characterised by a series of linked heroic stands by outnumbered British soldiers in conditions of confusion and weary endurance. The Germans never knew how close they had come to winning - at one point just the clerks and cooks were the last line of defence for the BEF. By the end of the battle the magnificent original BEF, composed of professional regular soldiers, had been all but destroyed and already the Territorial battalions were called into battle. From the end of 1914 a 'Regular' battalion was in terms of its compostion little different to a Teritorial or later Service Battalion. The professional soldiers had all but vanished.

de Ruvigny's Volume 1 LORD John Spencer CAVENDISH, D.S.O. was a Major in the 1st Life Guards, and was brother to Victor, 9th Duke of Devonshire, P.C., G.C.V.O. John was the 3rd son of the late Lord Edward Cavendish, M.P., by his wife, Emma Elizabeth. He was born on 25th March, 1875; and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. After serving in the Militia he was given a commission in the 1st Life Guards, 3 Feb. 1897, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 April, 1898, and Captain on 23 Aug. 1902, and Major on 12 April, 1911. He served with distinction on the Staff in the South African War 1899-1902, being divisional Signalling Officer to the 2nd Infantry Division from 9 Oct. 1899 to 18 June, 1900, and Brigade Signalling Officer, 19 June to 12 Oct. 1900. He took part in the relief of Ladysmith, including action at Colenso; operations of 17 to 24 Jan. 1900; and action at Spion Kop; the operations of 5 to 7 Feb. 1900, and action at Vaal Kranz; the operations on Tugela Heights (14 to 27 Feb.); the engagement at Pieter's Hill; and the subsequent march from Bloemfontein to Pretoria; Including actions at Zand River, near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill (11 to 12 June), also in the Transvaal west of Pretoria; actions at Eland's River (4 to 16 Aug.) and in the Orange Free State, actions at Bethlehem (7 July) and Wittebergen (15 to 29 July). His services were mentioned in Despatches London Gazette, 1 Feb 1901 and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Queen's medal with six clasps. He was employed with the West African Frontier Force, 29 June, 1907, to 6 Sept. 1910. After his brother's succession to the title he was granted precedence as son of a Duke of Royal Warrant, Nov. 1908. On the outbreak of the European War he went to France with the Expeditionary Force and was killed in action 20 Oct. 1914.

Detail :

The medal index reveals that he was disembarked in France on 16th August, 1914.

The 'Register of Soldiers Effects' shows that he was an officer of the 1st Life Guards at the time of his death (killed-in-action) and shows date of death as 20th October, 1914.

For his service in the Great War he was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star, Victory Medal and the British War Medal. There is an annotation of a Clasp to the Victory Medal, which could mean a separate "Mention in Despatches" to that earned in South Africa. His medals were sent following the war to Lady Edward Cavendish.

Probate "CAVENDISH the right honourable Lord Cavendish John Spencer of 6 Carlos Place Middlesex D.S.O. died 20 October 1914 in France on active service Probate London 1 March to the most noble Victor Christian William Duke of Devonshire. Effects £45432 4s 3d." The executor of John's estate was listed as His Grace, the Duke of Devonshire.

John Spencer Cavendish, according to the Souchez Historic Committee, is buried in the Caberet Rouge Cemetery at Souchez and that he was first interred in the German extension of the cemetery of Quesnoy-sur-Deule. Their researches suggest that he died at First Ypres and not, as originally recorded on this record, at La Bassee. The 1st Life Guards 3rd Cavalry Division, 7th Cavalry Brigade was in Belgium in Ypres on 19th October, 19149, in Zonnebeke to be precise. With grateful thanks to Yves Durin Gecebas.

See also: Researching WW1 which gives an account of the 1st Life Guards via their war diary.

However, a note on the website of the Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614 suggests the following:
“An account of John’s death by an unknown soldier, dated 24 October 1914, who served alongside him recalls that ‘Lord John’ was killed instantly by German Maxim Machine Gun fire whilst leading a regiment trying to hold the line in the village.”

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Isaac Newton University No. 859 E.C.Cambridgeshire
Joined : Household Brigade No. 2614 E.C. London
Joined : Northern Nigeria No. 3325 E.C. Nigeria

5th March 1895
24th February 1896
28th April 1896

Initiated into Isaac Newton University Lodge No. 859 at Cambridge. Joined Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614 on 14th February 1902. Further joined Northern Nigeria Lodge No. 3325 on August 7th, 1909 where he is listed as a Captain of the Life Guards.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-10-11 08:22:39