Spencer Bassett WW1

Born Blackheath. Joined Exeter City from Woolwich Arsenal in 1910. Made 81 Southern League appearances before signing for Swansea Town in 1913 and Southend United in 1914.    

Royal Garrison Artillery, service number 70384; 140th Siege Battery. Enlisted at Woolwich on 10 December 1915, 

Killed in action near the village of Bullecourt in France on Wednesday 11 April 1917 aged 32. He is remembered at Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-Le Boisselle on the Cemetery Memorial. (Memorial Ref II.J35.). 

He left Southampton with his unit on 1 August 1916 and disembarked at the French port of Le Havre the next day. The Battery then joined 15th Heavy Artillery Group (HAG) on 7 August 1916 before moving to 36th HAG on 10 September 1916.  On 27 December 1916, Bassett was appointed acting-bombardier. By April 1917, the battery had been transferred to 14 HAG and was attached to I ANZAC Corps, Fifth Army. Having advanced towards the Hindenburg Line, 14 HAG were then to provide heavy artillery support for the attack on the village of Bullecourt on 11 April 1917. It was during this action that Bassett was wounded by German counter-battery fire. After being evacuated to the rear, the 32-year-old would succumb to his injuries (information courtesy of his entry on the Football and the First World War website).

An tribute from former teammate Tom Griffiths was published in the Western Times on 8 June 1917:

It was shock to learn about poor Spencer. The Huns had been shelling a village, where he was billeted, all day and night. It happened about one in the morning. A shell dropped into Spencer's billet, and you may guess he was not the only one hit. A few of our lot were called out to give a helping hand, and when I got there Spencer had been taken away. His last words were, 'Tell Griffo' [the nick-name Griffiths was always known at Exeter] 'that I have been hit.' Just to think I missed seeing my old pal only a few minutes. . . was loved by all the boys, and was one of the finest fellows that ever stepped in two shoes." 

For more about Spencer Bassett’s playing career see his entry in the A to Z of Exeter City players section of the Archive





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