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.
Leader, 11 October 1920, p. 3.
James Caleb Spicer