Corporal William Alfred Spurling
by Max Slee
No.4275, C Company, 50th Battalion, WWI.
Will was the eldest son in a farming family at Copeville, SA, but his ambition was to become a school teacher. Adding to his parent's anguish of seeing their eldest child go off to war, his father was of English ancestry, while his mother was of German ancestry. A single man, after enlistment at Adelaide he was shipped to Egypt and then on to France, where he served in the trenches for 18 months, being promoted to corporal in charge of a machine gun platoon.
Wounded in action at Noreuil near Bullecourt, during the advance on the Hindenburg Line, he was sent to a convalescent hospital in England. Will was on the brink of being repatriated home to Australia when he died of septicaemia, aged 24, on 16 August 1917.
Photo to the right is Corporal William Alfred Spurling on last leave home, at Sunnyside Farm, Copeville, SA 1915.
Photos below from left to right:
Bill & Lottie Spurling & Family - Left to right: Sidney, Elsie, William (father), Ivy, Will, Gus, Amy, Irene (Rene), Charlotte (mother), Frank. Taken at Balaklava Show, 1909
Left to right: Will Spurling, Fred Liersch (rear), Gus Dohse (front) and Cecil Bartlett, at Balaklava, SA, ca.1910
Will Spurling, ca 1909, at Clare, SA
Will Spurling (right) at Morphettville training camp, SA, Oct 1915
Will Spurling (far left) with other recruits for 10th Batt reinforcements, at Mitcham Training Camp, SA, 1915
HMAT Borda, 11136 tons, 14 knots, P&O SN Co. London
Some of Will's Cairo souvenirs
Cpl Will Spurling, 50th Batt AIF, age 22, Died of wounds, England, 16 August 1917
Clipping Will sent home, endorsed by him, "This is the transport I came from Egypt to France in. Lucky, wasn't I"
A church in the Somme region
Lewis Gun Crew
Dugouts of on an old trench in Delville Wood
Australian artillery firing into the Noreuil valley on 2 April 1917
Postcard that Will sent home of 1st London General Hospital
Will's girlfriend in England, Daisy, standing with rifle
Will Spurling's grave at Weymouth, Dorset, England
Will's personal kit, which included his razors, strop, letters, as well as his diary
Spurling Memorial Hall, Copeville (Hd of Bandon), SA, 2002
Spurling Memorial Hall was erected in 1920 in memory of Corporal William Alfred Spurling of Copeville. Killed in action, 1917
Will Spurling's Memorial Card
Will Spurling's Grave (centre foreground -- white stone) at Melcombe Regis Cemetery, Weymouth, Dorset, England