Alfred Benjamin Spencer
Serial No. 3508
45th Battalion & 4th Machine Gun Battalion
Alfred Benjamin Spencer - Information
The Spencers lived on a property called Hopelands in Wedderburn. Alfred's father, Joseph Higgson Spencer, owned part of a colour printery, called 'Deaton & Spencer Publishers and Show Cards Manufacturers.' Alfred was born in Sydney, and grew up in the Campbelltown area with his brothers and sisters. When he was older, Alfred began working as a farmer. He then watched his older brother, Joseph, enlist in the AIF at the beginning of January 1917. Almost two weeks later, Alfred left home to join his brother, signing up in Sydney on the 15th of January. During training, Alfred was made a Private with the 9th Reinforcements, 45th Battalion. He departed Sydney with Joseph, sailing on the HMAT Anchises on the 24th of January 1917 bound for England.
Alfred and Joseph disembarked at Devonport in late March, however, they were split up for training, Alfred taken to the 12th Training Battalion. Becoming adept in new Western Front fighting tactics, he was sent to France in June. By July, he was taken on strength to the 45th Battalion. A day after Joseph was listed as wounded and missing in action in Ypres in Belgium, he himself was wounded. On the 13th of October, Alfred received gun shot wounds to his face and left leg. He was evacuated to England and admitted to hospital. Recovering from his ghastly wounds, he was transferred to the Machine Gun Details at Grantham on the 7th of January 1918. He returned to France in April, assigned to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion. In June, Alfred and his family received some terrible news. A Court on Inquiry concluded that Alfred's brother, Joseph, was killed in action in October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. After hearing this news, Alfred's health began to decline. In late July, he was admitted to hospital with a severe middle ear infection. He then returned to his unit to only end up back in hospital in August with dysentery. Alfred survived the final months of the war and continued to serve with his unit into 1919. On the 19th of August 1919, he was sent home. He shortly returned to his family, where they could mourn Joseph together.