The 1901 census on Ancestry.co.uk tells us that the Spicer family was living at 4 Mill Street, St Asaph. The household consisted of Head, Frank Spicer 42 (born in Wolverhampton) who was a Coachman. His wife was Sarah Ann 30 (born in Staffordshire). The listed children were Robert Aston 7, Alice May 5, John 3 and Frederick William 3 months old, all born in St Asaph in Flintshire.
Ten years on, the 1911 census finds the family at Bryn Celyn Lodge, St Asaph. It appears that the family had a change of circumstances as the Head of the household is shown to be Sarah Ann Spicer, 40 years of age, Widow. She was a Launderess by trade. The children were John, 13, William F,10 and Margaret Naomie, 6 were all at school. Robert Aston was not living with the family and I have been unsuccessful in tracing him on the 1911 Welsh or U.K. census.
The England & Wales Death Index 1837-1915 reveals that Frank Spicer (John’s father) died in 1909 at 50 years of age.
On www.ancestry.co.uk under the heading Soldiers who Died in the Great War we learn that John Spicer enlisted in St Asaph into The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Reg no 11829 then transferred to 8th Battalion Welsh Regiment. He was “Killed in Action” at Gallipoli.
John’s Flintshire Roll of Honour card in the Archives Office in Hawarden gives his period of service as 1 year it also says that John was “Killed in Action” – Dardenelles Aug 8th 1915. Next of kin W Spicer Bryn Celyn Lodge, Glascoed, St Asaph.
John’s W.W.1 Medal Card states that he was awarded The Victory Medal, The British War Medal and The 1915 Star Medal. The first Theatre of War was shown as the Balkans which he entered on 4th July 1915.
John and his brother Robert were members of All Saint’s Church, Sinan. (All Saint’s Church, Sinan was opened in 1873 and was built for an original cost of £215).
Robert Spicer, John’s brother also lost his life in the war. He has his own page on this website
On 16th August 1915, eight days after John’s death, William, John’s brother enlisted at Kinmel Camp as a Boy Soldier, age 14 years and 6 months. His regimental noumber was 31734 in the 12th Battalion of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was reported after being “Absent off Parade” and eventually discharged on 27th January 1916 for Irregularity of Enlistment.
Having lost two brothers in such a short time it perhaps young William was trying to help his Mother to provide for the family.
John is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
John Spicer is also commemorated on the Saint Asaph War Memorial.
The Helles Memorial Information from CWGC
The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.
The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. From the end of August, no further serious action was fought and the lines remained unchanged. The peninsula was successfully evacuated in December and early January 1916.
The Helles Memorial serves the dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave.
The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters. The memorial bears more than 21,000 names.