Robert Henry SPURRITT


SPURRITT, Robert Henry

Service Numbers: 3612, 3612B
Enlisted: 18 August 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Pirie, South Australia, July 1896
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Sturt Street School
Occupation: Clicker (boot manufacture)
Died: Died of wounds, Polygon Wood, Belgium, 2 October 1917
Cemetery: Menin Road South Military Cemetery
II. I. 29.
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3612, Adelaide, South Australia
12 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3612, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3612, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Adelaide
2 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 3612B, 10th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood, Severely wounded in both legs by shell explosion behind the lines. Died of wounds the same day.

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Robert Henry Spurritt

Before he enlists/early life

Robert Henry Spurritt was born in July in the year 1896. He was born in Port Pirie, South Australia to his parents Edward and Annie Edith Spurritt of 50 Leicester Street, Parkside, South Australia. Spurritt’s education involved him attending Sturt Street School. As a single man, Spurritt worked in the boot manufacturing industry, specifically as a clicker, the person who cuts off the top of boots. Spurritt belonged to the Church of England and lived at 10 Compton Street, Adelaide, South Australia.


When he enlists/training/getting to the war

On the 18th of August 1915, Spurritt enlisted into the war as a private. His first unit was the 27th Battalion, then later in the war, he became part of the 10th Battalion. Spurritt with his first regimental number of 3612, left Adelaide on the 12th of January 1916 on board the HMAT A30 Borda. 


War service

After arriving in Egypt in February 1916, Spurritt was allotted to the 10th Battalion. He and his unit then moved to the Western Front (France). He served on the front line on his first battle at Pozieres in July. After this battle not much happened until the Battle of Ypres, Belgium. Before this Spurritt had made his way up the ranks and became a Sergeant, under the new regimental number of 3612B. Spurritt was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.


Where he ended up/death

In Polygon Wood at the Battle of Ypres in Belgium, Spurritt was hit in the leg by a few pieces of shell. He and a number of other soldiers were waiting to be sent up to the front line when the incident happened. A man under B.Coy. took him to the first dressing station for help. During this time Spurritt was described as conscious and cheerful. He died later the same day on the 2nd of October 1917 at the young age of 21. B.Coy. writes that Spurritt was one of the wisest men. A letter was sent out to his brother in Australia about what had happened and where he was buried. Spurritt’s grave lays in Menin Road, South Military Cemetery (Plot II, Row I, Grave No. 29).


Anzac Spirit 

Robert Henry Spurritt showed the Anzac Spirit. This is first evident when he enlisted. No one forced him to, he made the decision to risk his young, valuable life for his country. He trained and fought for Australia. Later, he died for his country. The Anzac Spirit was with Spurritt as he laid down his life for Australia, he fought hard through battles and became a Sergeant. The role of Sergeant is important as were the lives of the many people he was responsible for. He was known by B.Coy. to be the wisest man he ever knew. Spurritt’s knowledge is shown through his efforts in the war. During his death Spurritt was remembered to be cheerful, he kept calm and did not cause a panic. He made the other soldiers’ time enjoyable and decreased the amount of depression in the trenches by staying positive. This all affected the soldiers around him. The Anzac Spirit is about teamwork and leadership, two qualities that Spurritt had demonstrated throughout his service in World War 1.




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