John Lewis (Jack) SPAVIN MM

SPAVIN, John Lewis

Service Number: SX7272
Enlisted: 29 June 1940, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Jamestown, South Australia, 16 January 1915
Home Town: Yongala, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Egypt, 10 July 1942, aged 27 years
Cemetery: El Alamein War Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mannanarie Hall Memorial Plaque, Mannanarie Roll of Honor WW2, Yongala Roll of Honour, Yongala War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

29 Jun 1940: Enlisted Private, SX7272, Adelaide, South Australia
29 Jun 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Private, SX7272, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
30 Jun 1940: Involvement Private, SX7272, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
22 Apr 1941: Honoured Military Medal, Siege of Tobruk
10 Jul 1942: Involvement Private, SX7272, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion, El Alamein

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Awarded the Military Medal for "Dash and Determination at Carrier Hill on 22 Apr 1941"

"A Tribute to Pte Jack Spavin, M.M. By Mr and Mrs Len Batty of Pinnaroo.

Dear Mr and Mrs Spavin — I was very sorry to read of Jack's death. He was my carrier driver in Tobruk until I was invalided home. He was with me from the time we were in Wayville, all the time we were in Palestine and, when we moved into Libya. He was driving my carrier the day Ron Daniels and I were wounded. Jack looked after us that day, after we were hit, and came back with us to the first aid post. That was the last time I saw him — 22nd April, 1941. We were both very grateful for the way he took care of us. He was a fine boy and was very well liked by all of our platoon. No words I can write can bring him back to you, but he gave his life fighting for his family and his country and for what he knew was right. He very richly deserved his decoration, I know because I was with him when he earned it. And he was among the first in this State to be decorated for bravery. In that you have reason to be very very proud of him, as I know you are. I am proud to have known him, prouder still to be able to claim him as one of my mates. I know this is poor consolation for the loss of your boy, but you will always be able to feel proud of him for what he did. Just as every mother who has a boy in the service feels proud, because he felt it his duty to go, and went of his own free will. —Yours sincerely, Len Batty.

Mrs Batty writes:— Although I did not know your son personally, I felt that I, as the wife of one of his pals and "comrades-in-arms," would like to pen you a few lines. From what my husband has told me of Jack I know he must have been a very fine soldier and a great pal to those boys who knew him and fought with him. My husband has often spoken of Jack's cool courage and bravery on the day he was wounded. Jack richly deserved his decoration and I am sure, in the midst of your sorrow, you will still feel very very proud of him. For what your son did for my husband I shall be eternally grateful and I know Len will never forget him, as he thought so much of Jack. As my husband has written, all these words cannot bring Jack back to you, but we do want you to know that we sympathise with you and I hope you gain a little comfort from our letter. - Yours sincerely, Joyce Batty." - from the Peterborough Times and Northern Advertiser 14 Aug 1942 (

"Sgt. L. Batty, first S.A. to win the D.C.M.

Sgt. L. Batty, A.I.F. of Mt. Gambier, who returned home recently, has the unique distinction of being the first S.A. man to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He is also the first to return home, although the three men of Sgt. Batty's carrier crew were awarded Military Medals, one being wounded. Here is the story as given by the C.O. of the Battalion. Leonard William Charles Batty has been awarded the D.C.M. for his great bravery and dash when he took his Bren-gun carrier directly up to an enemy battery under heavy fire from anti-tank and machine guns and engaged it at a distance of 50 yards. His audacious determination and bravery in face of fire impressed and encouraged the other troops engaged. It was a big factor in maintaining the vigor of the attack and in the success of the operations. The successful raid was led by Sgt. Batty's section of carriers of which he was the commander. His gunner, Pte. Daniels, was awarded the Military Medal for courage and determination, and his driver Pte. Spavin also received this medal for the dash and determination he showed when, under instructions from Sgt. Batty he drove the carrier directly towards the enemy position, without consideration of the risk. The carrier was driven within 50 yards of the enemy battery and, was under constant heavy fire at point blank range. The carrier received a direct hit and was put out of action. Sgt. Batty and his three men left the machine and took up posi-tions behind it, engaging the enemy from there, and it was then he and his gunner were wounded. Pte. Spavin continued to engage the enemy with his rifle, preventing their approach, until the arrival of our infantry 20 minutes later. Sgt- Batty, who was wounded in the right arm, is now a convalescent at "Kapara," Glenelg, and is hoping to soon visit in the Rosedale district before returning to his home at Mt. Gambier." - from the Gawler Bunyip 04 Jul 1941 (


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Alexander and Augusta Spavin, of Yongala, South Australia.