Correctly named 5317 Pte J Spencer Glouc Regt
James was born in 1878 in Bibury, Gloucester and papers show he lived at 20 High Street Northleach are of Gloucester. He worked as a Farm labourer prior to him enlisting in May 1898. He went overseas with the 1st Bn Gloucesters in September 1899 and remained in country until August 1900. He took part in the Defence of Ladysmith. The Defence Of Ladysmith (3 November 1899 – 28 February 1900). Awarded to the garrison of Ladysmith, Natal, during the siege. Clasp confirmed on roll.
The 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment sailed from Calcutta on 25th September 1899 and arrived in Durban on 13th October. By the time they arrived in South Africa, British negotiations with the Boer states of Transvaal and the Orange Free State had irretrievably broken down and the Second Boer War was two days old. The British forces in South Africa or, more particularly in Natal, were heavily outnumbered, and the rapid strategic movement of troops from India to Durban, thence north by rail through the Province to Ladysmith saved Natal from being overrun by the Boers. Sir George White prepared Ladysmith for a siege, and the Gloucesters were digging in and sandbagging with the rest. The Boers were closing in on the town, and bringing up heavy artillery and on 29th October the British attacked them at several points. Ladysmith settled down to prepare for a siege, which was to last almost four months, with the remaining Gloucesters of 1st Battalion forming part of the defending force. The progress of the siege was dominated by the Boer’s modern artillery, especially the Creusot 155mm gun christened “Long Tom” by the British. There was only one attempt to assault the British position, an attack by the Boers on 6th January which ended in failure.
While in South Africa, on the 20th November 1899, James was convicted and sentenced to 1 years harder labour for falling asleep at his post. This was later commuted to 84 days Field Punishment No1.
James was sent to Ceylon in August 1900 then onto India in January 1901 where he stayed until October 1910. He was then shipped home on the termination of his first engagement.
In 1910, James re-enlists into the Gloucesters for 5 years and keeps his service number. He is sent overseas to France in November 1914 earning himself a 1914 Trio. He would have been present at the First Battle of Ypres 19 Oct 1914 – 30 Nov 1914. He remains in France until 1915 when he returned to the UK to an Infantry Base Depot. He later transfers to the Army Service Corps with the service number 280881 and earns promotion to sergeant.
Upon his release, his address is given as 19 Conway Street in Hove.
The medal has the arm and wreath of Britannia arm in the lower position pointing to the R in Africa. Although this is normally the case for the first two types, no dates or ghost dates are visible.