Our Boys

There was young Jim and Samuel Spicer
Who went away to war
I remember what a great big dance
There was to wish them aurio

To serve their king and country
Because they were very fit
They said it was their duty
To do their little bit

They were a long time in battle
I think about three years
Our many thoughts were with them
Also many tears

Some times the fighting was real hard
They were sleeping in the wet
And had their meals at any time
These things one don’t forget

They both came to us again
But their health it had to fail
Sam did not look at all real well
But Jim looked so very pale

Then Jim grew so very weak
He had no more to give
He struggled on for many months
And done his best to live

But for his king and country
His young life he did deny
So he closed his weary tired eyes
Too weak to say good-bye

Sam lived for two or three years
I really do not know how long
But I always knew he suffered
Not complaining right or wrong

Yes I knew he always suffered
And I am sure that God knows best
And one morning after sunrise
God called Sam home to rest

They really were two fine young men
It broke their loved ones heart
To see them slowly fade away
And from their families part

Will Spicer also enlisted
And got so far away
They found that he was unfit
And sent him home to stay.

From The golden days of Lewis Ponds; Poems by Mary Spicer

Mary Spicer was born in Lewis Ponds and wrote many poems about the settlement and its people.  “Our Boys” tells the experience of the three Spicer brothers – Jim, Samuel and Will – during World War I.

Jim – James Caleb Spicer – was born in 1888.  The eldest brother, he enlisted at Orange on 6 January 1916 and left for France in June 1916 aboard the vessel Kyarra.  Fighting in the 18th Infantry Battalion, James suffered a gunshot wound to the right forearm on 3 May 1917.  He was subsequently transferred to England, where he was hospitalised and spent almost a year recuperating.  James returned to France in April 1918, but was hospitalised in England again in May the following year.  In June 1919 he boarded the vessel Themistocles to return to Australia, but was on board for barely a week before he was admitted to the ship’s hospital suffering from tuberculosis.  Jim passed away at Randwick on 9 October 1920 from pulmonary tuberculosis.  He is buried in Byng Cemetery.

Sam – Samuel Archibald Spicer, born in 1890, was two years younger than Jim.  He enlisted at Liverpool on 20 July 1915 and left for France aboard the vessel Ulysses in February 1916.  Samuel was a sapper with the Mining Corps 1 until he was hospitalised in England in June 1917, suffering from pleurisy.  He boarded the Benalla in October that year to return to Australia.  Samuel was declared medically unfit for service and discharged in March 1918.

Will – William John Spicer – was the youngest brother, born in 1893.  He enlisted at Victoria Barracks on 20 July 1915, but was subsequently discharged in November that year as unfit due to chronic sciatica and lumbago.

 

 

 

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