Pte. Arthur Spence 

NX23703

 

Arthur Spence was born in Manly on the 4 October 1914, and was educated in and around this area.

 

He enlisted in the AIF on 31 May 1940 and was attached to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital. In April 1941, when the Unit was captured in Greece, he was among those who volunteered to remain with the wounded who were too ill to be evacuated. The hospital was closed down by the Germans in December 1941, and it was not until February 1942 that Arthur was then transported to Stalag V111, a Prisoner Of War camp at Lansdorf. Later on he was to join Captain Norman Rose, also a POW at Cosel. Here was an 800 bed Hospital, of which 100 were kept apart for Russian POWs.

 

The nursing personnel consisted of six Army Doctors -- 2 English -- 1 New Zealander -- 1 French -- 1 Serbian -- 1 Australian, (Dr. Norman Rose) and 18 Medical Orderlies, consisting of nine British -- 7 New Zealanders -- and 2 Australians (Pte. Doug Heyhoe from Subiaco, W.A. and Pte Arthur Spence, 2/5 AGH). This hospital mainly treated infectous diseases and Arthur remained in and around this area until the beginning of 1944. He was then transferred to Haid-Traun POW camp a few miles west of Linz. Then in February 1945, he was transferred yet again to Grunse, to a POW camp on the shores of Lake Almsee.

 

On the 6 May 1945 American tanks arrived and liberated the camp -- By this time Arthur had developed double pnuemonia and on the 17 May 1945 was shipped to White Lodge Hospital at Newark,UK. He weighed in 5 stone (approx 16 kg) under his enlistment weight.

 

Arthur Spence was finally discharged from active duty on the 25 October 1945.

© 2/5 Australian General Hospital