Oswald Speed was born on 28th February 1890 in the Runcorn registration district. He was the son of Thomas Speed (born Preston Brook) and his wife Alice (nee Taylor) who was born in Hatton. The parents were married in Liverpool in 1885.
The 1891 census recorded the Speed family, who had four children by that time, as living on Chester Road in Preston Brook. The father was a waterman on a barge and the children were John Dakin (5), Peter James (3), Lois (2) and Oswald (1). They were all born in Preston Brook.
A decade later they were living in the same place and there were now eight children: Nora (9), Nellie (7), Fred (5) and Harriet (1) completed the family. Thomas Speed was now a coal dealer and the two eldest were working. Two years later Nora died.
By 1911 there were five children left at home and Harriet was the only one still at school. Oswald was employed as a waggoner for a coal dealer, possibly his father.
Sadly their mother died in August 1916 and was buried at Daresbury on the 31st of that month. She was 54 years old.
Oswald attested for the Great War on 5th August 1915 and was given the rank of Private in the 3/1st Cheshire Yeomanry which was a training unit and a territorial force. He had the service number 1794. His records showed that he was 5’10’’ tall and medical category A. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in July 1916, but reverted to Private in the September. Oswald transferred to the South Lancashire Regiment in September 1916 and was posted to France. He spent some time in a field hospital in late 1916 with rheumatism and myalgia. Oswald was transferred to the 774th Area Employment Company of the Labour Corps in October 1917 and given a new regimental number: 380271. He was made a Lance Corporal a month later. He was transferred temporarily to the Military Foot Police as a Private in July 1918, then promoted to Lance Corporal and sent to France. He had yet another service number of 16077. He appeared on the absent voters’ list for 1918 and 1919 for Preston Brook. Oswald would be finally demobilized in September 1919 at Aldershot. He received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
In 1920 Oswald married Margaret Armstrong. She was born 7th August 1886 in Alnwick in Northumberland. They were married at Alnwick and a year later a daughter Nora was born.
The 1939 register showed that Oswald and his wife and child had moved to the north- east, to live in Wallsend, at 24, Lauderdale Avenue. Oswald was employed as a shipyard labourer.
His father Thomas died in 1942, aged 80 years.
When Oswald died on 22nd June 1955, he was living at 43, Balfour Street in Runcorn, the same address as his daughter Nora. His occupation was given as retired police sergeant. His wife Margaret died 17 years later in Widnes at the age of 86 years.
Oswald was 65 years old when he passed away.