The AIF Project

Ernest William SPREADBOROUGH

Date of birth12 December 1874
Place of birthWarwick, Queensland
SchoolBoys' School, Warwick, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSchool teacher
Addressc/o Mrs Brundrit, Christian Street, Clayfield, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation40
Height5' 8.5"
Weight120 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Edith Margaret Spreadborough, c/o Mrs Brundrit, Christian Street, Clayfield, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceCertified Instructor, Junior Cadets
Enlistment date15 June 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit name31st Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 9 November 1915
Two ships left from Melbourne carrying the 31st Battalion Headquarters and Companies A, B, C and D: HMAT A62, 'Wandilla', on 9 November 1915 and HMAT A41, 'Bakara', on 5 November 1915. It is not possible from the Embarkation Roll to determine on which ship an individual embarked.
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A41 Bakara on 5 November 1915
Two ships left from Melbourne carrying the 31st Battalion Headquarters and Companies A, B, C and D: HMAT A62, 'Wandilla', on 9 November 1915 and HMAT A41, 'Bakara', on 5 November 1915. It is not possible from the Embarkation Roll to determine on which ship an individual embarked.
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularHead Teacher, Mt Beppo State School, Queensland
FateKilled in Action 19-20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France (Battle of Fromelles)
Age at death42
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C. Corner (Panel No 3), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
119
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Elizabeth SPREADBOROUGH; husband of Edith Margaret SPREADBOROUGH, Cooroy, Queensland. Native of Warwick, Queensland
Family/military connectionsBrother-in-law: Captain Thomas Joseph BRUNDRIT, 5th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 8 November 1915.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, HMAT 'Wandilla', 9 November 1915; disembarked Suez, 7 December 1915.

Promoted Lieutenant, 21 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 June 1916.

Reported wounded and missing; 20 July 1916; subsequently reported missing, 20 July 1916; reported KILLED IN ACTION, 19-20 July 1916.

Note on file, Adjutant for CO: 'Lieut. SPREADBOROUGH ... Killed instantaneously by a machine gun bullet in attack at FROMELLES on 19/20.7.16. Identity disc was removed from body lying in N.M.L. on 9.9.16, but no record is available where body was buried.'

Note on file, J. HAIRUS for CO: 'As far as is known the body was not buried owing to its badly decomposed state. Disc, photos and leather case were forwarded to A.I.F. Kit Store ... '

Note, 208 Pte J. GODDARD, and 465 Pte S. LECKIE, 31st Bn (patients, Kent Nursing Institution, Tunbridge Wells, England), 19 August 1916: 'Informants state that on July 19th 1916 at Fleurbaix near Armentieres, Lieut, Spreadborough was killed. They were in a bayonet charge on German trenches, and he was killed by shell shot instantaneously. Leckie says he was just behind him and saw him fall. Goddard says he saw him after he was killed, but being in charge could not stop and does not know if he was buried. It was on No Man's Land.'

Note, Red Cross File No 2590908: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10-10-19.'

Statement, 492 Pte F.W. SCHILT, 31st Bn, 4 August 1916: 'I was carrying ammunition on the night of July 19th at Fleurbaix during the advance. Just before I left our trenches with the first box I spoke to Lt. Spreadborough, who told me that Capt. Sharpe of B Coy was wounded and he was now in charge of the Coy. I made the remark that I wished him luck and went off to the Dump for the ammunition. I took the box and started across. He had preceded me and on the way over I saw him fall. He dropped, apparently killed outright by M/G fire from the extreme right. I passed close to where he lay and he did not move. He was only about 30 yards from our front line when he went down.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, SPREADBOROUGH Ernest William
Red Cross file 2590908

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