Lord John Spencer Cavendish (1875-1914), soldier, was born on 25 March 1875, the 3rd son of Lord Edward Cavendish and Emma Elizabeth Lascelles. He was nephew of the 8th Duke of Devonshire, and the 9th Duke was his older brother. In November 1908 he was granted the rank of a Duke's younger son.
He joined the 1st Life Guards, a cavalry regiment, from the Militia in February 1897, becoming Lieutenant in April 1898. He served in the Boer War, as Divisional and Brigade Signalling Officer, from October 1899 to October 1900. He was present at the relief of Ladysmith, and at the actions at Colenso, Spion Kop and Vaal Kranz; operations on the Tugela Heights and action at Pieter's Hill; in the Orange Free State and at the action at Zand River; in the Transvaal and near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill; in the Transvaal, west of Pretoria, including actions at Elands River, and in the Orange River Colony, including actions at Bethlehem and Wittebergen. He was mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette, 1 February 1901); received the Queen's Medal with six clasps; and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (London Gazette, 19 April 1901) for services during operations in South Africa.
He was promoted to Captain in August 1902, and from June 1907 to September 1910 was with the West African Frontier Force. There are a number of unlisted letters in the Devonshire Archives from him to his mother, written between 1900 and 1908, including some from the Boer War (1900), from Aden, Mombassa and Javeta (Mozambique) (1904), and from Nigeria (1907-10).
He was promoted to Major in April 1911, served in the First World War and was killed in action, aged 39, on 20 October 1914. He is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, (Plot XX1, Row C, Grave 26).
Principal source for Lord John Cavendish's military career: O'Moore Creagh & EM Humphris, The V.C and D.S.O. Book, Distinguished Service Order, 1886-1915 (Naval and Military Press, 2001), p.134.