James Caleb Spicer

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James Caleb Spicer. Image courtesy Lyn Hudson-Williamson.

SPICER, James Caleb

Service no: 5119 [1]

Place of birth: Orange, 13 August 1888

Address: Lewis Ponds, via Orange

Occupation: Miner

Next of kin: James Spicer (father), Lewis Ponds, via Orange

Date of enlistment: 6 January 1916

Place of enlistment: Orange

Age at enlistment: 27

Fate: Proceeded to Lithgow Depot Camp from 10 January 1916. Proceeded to Bathurst Depot Camp from 18 January 1916. Assigned to 17th Battalion, 13th Reinforcements 10 March 1916. Assigned to 18th Battalion, 13th Reinforcements 19 April 1916. Embarked HMAT Kyarra A55, Sydney, 5 June 1916. Proceeded to France 21 October 1916. Sustained gunshot wound to the right forearm 3 May 1917. Transferred to Northampton War Hospital in England 19 May 1917. Returned to France 9 April 1918. Transferred to 5th Machine Gun Battalion 17 April 1918. Hospitalised Weymouth, England, 25 May 1919. Embarked Themistocles, England, for return to Australia 12 June 1919. Admitted to ship’s hospital suffering from tuberculosis July 1919. Returned to Australia 10 August 1919.

Date of death: 9 October 1920, Woodville Red Cross Convalescent Home, Randwick

Buried: Byng Cemetery

James Caleb Spicer was the first of eight children born to James Spicer and his wife Margaret (nee MacElligott). James was 27 years old, single, and working as a miner when he enlisted in WWI in January 1916.

James attended camp in Lithgow for a week before being relocated to Bathurst. He was assigned to the 17th Battalion in March, but re-assigned to the 14th Battalion the following month. In late April James returned to Orange to farewell friends and family before he embarked for overseas service. The Lewis Ponds community held a celebration in his honour and presented him with a watch as a keepsake.

On 5 June 1916 Private Spicer embarked HMAT Kyarra in Sydney. He trained in England for a further three months, proceeding to France in October, where he served for over two years. In May 1917 Thomas sustained a gunshot wound to his right forearm, which saw him transferred to Northampton War Hospital in England, followed by a lengthy convalescence. He did not return to the Western front until April 1918, as part of the 5th Machine Gun Battalion.

Private Spicer was hospitalised a second time, in May 1919, as he was preparing to return to Australia. Indeed, he spent much of his return journey interned in the ship’s hospital suffering from tuberculosis. James disembarked in Sydney in August 1919 and spent much of the following year in Red Cross Convalescent Homes, firstly in Turramurra, and then in Randwick.

James passed away at the Woodville Red Cross Convalescent Home in Randwick in October 1920, aged 32. He is buried in Byng Cemetery and is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll.

James had two brothers who also served in WWI: Samuel and William. A cousin, Thomas Samuel Spicer, also enlisted in WWI.

Leader, 11 October 1920, p. 3.

James Caleb Spicer [2]

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