Robert Spencer MARA

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MARA, Robert Spencer

Service Number: 553
Enlisted: 27 August 1914, Kensington, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Canowie Station, South Australia, 27 September 1883
Home Town: Jamestown, Northern Areas, South Australia
Schooling: Jamestown Primary School, South Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Broncho-pneumonia, Flers/ Guedecourt France, 30 December 1916, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Heilly Station Cemetery
No.1 Heilly Sur Somme Cemetery Plot 6 Row 7, Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Jamestown Soldier's Memorial Park Arch, Jamestown St James Anglican Church Stained Glass Windows and Turner Brothers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

27 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Kensington, New South Wales
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 553, 3rd Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Robert Spencer Mara's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Gallipoli, 1915

Pte. (Robert) Spencer Mara, 3rd Battalion Australian Infantry, wrote to his mother, Sarah, on 24th September 1915. One of five brothers to serve, one, Walter Mara, [1] had been killed at Gallipoli in June.

Dear Mother, — Received your loving letter yesterday, and was pleased to hear from you. You say Earn [2] has gone into camp. I know it is hard for you, dear, all your sons leaving you, but still, mother, you ought to be glad that you can send three more sons to help me avenge Walter's death. You still have four of us alive, and some poor mothers have lost their only son. Look on the bright side of things, mother, and think what a noble part you have played in the war. You have done what many a woman would be proud to have done, that is to send five boys to fight for their King and country. You will often see photos in the papers of a mother and three sons, but seldom five. I shall try and get one taken, and if you have photos of the others you can have yours and the others put in the papers. Well mother, dear, we are having a rest, and I can tell you we need it. I was in the firing line for five months and a day before I got relieved, so you can imagine the close shaves I've had. I'm in the best of health, and have been right up till now. I feel sure that God will spare some of us to come back to you; and just think what a grand meeting it will be to come back after the war is over. You, I'm sure, will feel quite proud in the noble part you have played. This is a very good place here, plenty of eggs, butter, milk and preserved fruits, so I think I'm getting fatter than ever. It's a long way ahead of underground life. Poor old Wall, I can't help thinking of him, but one thing he had a quick death. He was not like some of our poor comrades lingering for hours before they died... I will now draw to a close, hoping you are still in good health, and trusting God will bring me back safely to you.” [3]

Promoted Sergeant, Spencer Mara died of bronco-pneumonia in France on 30th December 1916. Buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe, he was the son of Sarah Mara, of Jamestown, South Australia.

[1] Pte. Walter Henry Mara, 12th Battalion Australian Infantry, was killed in action on 9th June 1915. He is buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery.
[2] Pte. Ernest Clifton Mara, 10th Battalion Australian Infantry, enlisted on 10th August 1915. He was taken prisoner at Pozieres on 22nd August 1916; repatriated 28th November 1918.
[3] 'Barrier Miner' (Broken Hill, New South Wales), 12th December 1915.
Image: “Holding their rifles, three unidentified members of the 3rd Battalion occupy a position in a trench on the front line.” AWM C01786.

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Biography

MARA Robert Spencer : Service Number - 553 : Place of Birth - Jamestown SA : Place of Enlistment - Kensington NSW : Next of Kin - (Mother) MARA S

Embarked 20 October 1914 HMAT Euripides. 3rd Infantry Battalion. Machine gunner. Fought at Gallipoli and then France.  Spencer was promoted to Sergeant on 25th March 1916.

Memorials on Jamestown Memorial Arch and Jamestown 06 WW1 Window

He is not listed on the SA National War Memorial becasue he did not enlist in South Australia
No.1 Heilly Sur Somme Cemetery Plot 6 Row

"THE LATE SERGEANT R. S. MARA

Mrs. S. Mara, of Jamestown, has been informed that her son, Sergeant R. S. Mara, who was 33 years of age, died on December 30 from broncho-penumonia. Sergeant Mara left Australia on September 7, and had been on duty continuosly until his illness occurred. He was in the machine-gun section." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 10 Feb 1917 (nla.gov.au)

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