John Alexander Spilsbury

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John Alexander Spilsbury
Personal Information
Date of Birth 16 Mar 1885
Place of Birth Mount Victoria, Lithgow, New South Wales
Death 1960
Place of Death Norseman, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 29 years, 6 months
Description 5'4" (1.63m) tall ; 128 lbs
58.06 kg
; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair
Occupation Beam squarer
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Brother , Mr John H. Spilsbury
Military Information
Reg Number 1071
Date of Enlistment 7 Sep 1914
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, G Company transferred to 1st Machine Gun Battalion / 1st Division
Date of Embarkation 2 Nov 1914 ‒ 5 Dec 1914
Ship Embarked On HMAT A11 Ascanius
Date of Return 23 Oct 1918 ‒ 12 Dec 1918
Ship Returned On SS Port Lyttleton
Fate Wounded in Action 15 Apr 1915
Wounded in Action 28 May 1916
Returned to Australia
Monument none as yet
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry - Hoffman Mill, timber hewer;

War Service

Actual embarkation date onboard HMAT A11 Ascanius was 26 Oct 1914. Records of his service prior to departing for Gallipoli are missing. on 2 Mar 1915 he boarded HMAT A23 Suffolk for Lemnos Island, arriving on 5 Mar 1915 where they remained, largely confined aboard ship for seven weeks until they were transhipped on 24 Apr 1915 to destroyers for the landing.

As a member of the 11th Battalion, he was one of the first of the Australians to land at Gallipoli. Wounded on the day of the landing, On 30 Apr 1915 John was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis with a gun shot wound to his knee. Following treatment he was released to the Helouan Convalescent Depot on 15 Jun 1915. Subsequent synovitis required him to be readmitted for further treatment from 26 - 30 Jun 1915, and then the convalescent depot again from 30 Jun 1916. However, despite his wound, on 21 Jul 1915 he boarded HMT Kingstonian in Alexandria en-route to rejoin his unit at Gallipoli on 30 Jul 1915.

On 5 Sep 1915 he was admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station before boarding HMHS Salta off Gallipoli, suffering with diarrhoea, and was transported to Mudros, before being sent on to the Greek Hospital in Alexandria from 9 - 18 Sep 1915. Well again, he returned to duty on 18 Sep 1915 with the Overseas Base at Mustapha. A cut to his head meant another trip to hospital on 11 - 13 Oct 1915, this time the 15th General Hospital, before returning to Mudros harbour on the HMAT A30 Borda, leaving Alexandria on 18 Oct 1915. While on Lemnos Island he was admitted to the 3rd Australian General Hospital on 14 Nov 1915 with jaundice and so did not rejoin his unit on Gallipoli. Discharged from hospital on 2 Jan 1916, he returned to Alexandria, arriving on 21 Jan 1916 aboard HMT Empress of Britain.

Arriving in Egypt, John was seen by the 2nd Field Ambulance on 25 Jan 1916 before being passed through the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station to the 3rd Field Ambulance where he remained under treatment until he was released on 27 Jan 1916. John rejoined the 11th Battalion at Serapeum on 5 Mar 1916 and travelled to France with his battalion on HMT Corsican leaving Alexandria on 29 Mar 1916, and arriving in Marseilles on 5 Apr 1916.

On 28 May 1916 John was wounded in action with a bomb wound to his abdomen. Seen on 31 May 1916 by first the 3rd Field Ambulance, and then the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station he was admitted to the 11th General Hospital in Camiers on 2 Jun 1916. On 11 Jun 1916 John was evacuated to England aboard HMHS Brighton. Admitted to the St John's War Hospital for treatment, during his recovery he spent time in the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield before being admitted to the Australian Convalescent Depot on 7 Jul 1916. On 13 Sep 1916 he was again in hospital, this time the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital in Bulford with Venereal Disease (46 days ineffective service), before being sent to the 3rd Training Battalion on 30 Oct 1916 to prepare for a return to France. At Perham Downs on 8 Nov 1916 he was absent from the 8:00am to 2:00pm parades and was awarded a weeks extra duties along with the loss of a day's pay. Before he did so, he was AWOL from midnight 12 Jan 1917 until midnight 14 Jan 1917 for which he was awarded 48 hours detention and forfeiture of 4 day's pay.

On 16 Jan 1917 he was placed aboard HMT Princesse Clementine at Folkestone for France. On 20 Jan 1917 he rejoined his battalion who at the time were in Bresle retraining and building strength. However, nine days later he was again in hospital, this time with bronchitis. Seen first by the 13th Field Ambulance, he was admitted to the 2nd General Hospital in Le Havre on 1 Feb 1917. John was released to the 4th Convalescent Depot on 12 Feb 1917, before returning to duty on 28 Feb 1917. By 18 Mar 1917 he was back in France, and he rejoined the 11th Battalion on 17 Apr 1917. On 3 Jun 1917 he was charged with disobeying a lawful command given by a superior officer and for quitting the ranks without permission. His award was 7 days Field Punishment No. 2. On 7 Jul 1917 he was seen by the 3rd Field Ambulance who treated him for Venereal Disease and then passed him to the 9th Casualty Clearing Station. On 10 Jul 1917 he was admitted to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital who transferred him to the 39th General Hospital on 12 Jul 1917. Released to duty on 22 Jul 1917 he rejoined the battalion on 8 Aug 1917.

In trouble again on 26 Aug 1917, he was charged with Drunkenness and Insubordination in that he used obscene language towards an officer. For this he was awarded 10 day's Field punishment No 2, and forfeited 11 day's pay. John was wounded in action a third time on 20 Sep 1917 at Polygon Wood, and seen first by the 139th Field Ambulance who treated for a gun shot wound to the hand, before passing him to the 32nd Casualty Clearing Station. They in turn placed him on Ambulance Train No.36 for the 22nd General Hospital at Dannes where he was admitted on 21 Sep 1917. John returned to England on 27 Sep 1917 aboard HMHS Newhaven, where he was admitted to the 2nd Military Hospital at Old Park, Canterbury with a gunshot wound to his right leg (buttocks)?. From 3 - 8 Oct 1917 he was cared for by the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital before being sent to the Command Depots in Weymouth. Passing through a series of convalescent and base units, he was transferred to No. 4 Command Depot in Hurdcott where he spent six months. Another short AWOL stint in May 1918 earned him the loss of a day's pay before he was transferred to the Machine Gun Details Base in Grantham on 31 May 1918.

AWOL from midnight 3 Sep 1918 until 8:00pm on 4 Sep 1918, his punishment was 10 days Confined to Barracks, and the loss of a day's pay. On 12 Sep 1918 he proceeded overseas once more via Folkestone, and on arrival was sent to the Machine Gun Base Depot in Camiers, arriving on 14 Sep 1918. Identified as one of the longest serving, he was a member of the 'A' Draft for return home, and so on 13 Oct 1918 he returned to England through Southampton to prepare for his return for 'Special 1914 Leave'. On arrival in Australia he was in line to be discharged by the 5th Military District on 17 Feb 1919.

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 & 1926 at 894-Mile, Trans Line, fettler; 1936 Carbine, prospector; 1943 Railway Coffee Palace, Burt street, Boulder, miner; 1958 Blue Bird Lease, Norseman, miner


Sister was Dora May Hodges, Midland Junction.

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