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George Archibald Douglas Spence

Presentation of Military Cross to Rev G A C Spence by General Freyberg at NZ Armoured Brigade parade at Maadi, 27 February 1943. Photograph taken by Captain R J Abbott, 20th New Zealand Armoured Regiment. Image kindly provided by Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, Ref: DA-02931-F

Presentation of Military Cross to Rev G A C Spence by General Freyberg at NZ Armoured Brigade parade …

Copyright undetermined - untraced rights owner AWMM


  • Title
  • Forenames
    George Archibald Douglas AWMM
  • Surname
    Spence AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 3422 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    8 February 1901 AWMM
  • Date of birth
    8 February 1901 Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Birth Records
  • Place of birth
    Feilding, New Zealand Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Birth Records
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM 11 Taketai Street, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs J.M. Spence (wife) 11 Taketai Street, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Married AWMM
    Janet May Spence nee Geddes AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Military Cross (MC) AWMM
      9 September 1942 AWMM
      The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Spence, George Archibald Douglas. (Ref. WO 373/20/245). Military Cross."This Officer gave an inspiring example of indifference to danger and fatigue, and of devotion of duty throughout operations in Greece, Crete, and Libya. In his capacity as padre, he at no time spared himself in assisting with wounded and burying dead, and in visiting and bringing comforts to troops in the line. He was always to be found where the men of his Battalion were engaged in action." Beattie and Pomeroy, p. 286 AWMM
    • Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military) AWMM
      London Gazette 13th December 1945 "For consistently good service over a period of five and a half years. Rev. Spence came overseas with the first body of New Zealand troops in 1940 and has had unbroken service since. He very early distinguished himself as an outstanding regimental chaplain with all the requirements of personality that made his influence most marked. He was appointed Senior Chaplain 2NZEF in April 1944, and in a somewhat different sphere has shown exceptional ability in administration and in controlling chaplains of all denominations." Beattie and Pomeroy, p. 285 AWMM
    • Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - Military Division (OBE mil)

      Military Cross

      Mention in Despatches

      Efficiency Decoration Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Military files

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Rev. G. A. D. Spence, OBE, MC, m.i.d.; born Feilding, 8 Feb 1901; Presbyterian Minister, Wellington; SCF 2 NZEF, Apr 1944-Oct 1945; wounded 17 Jul 1942. (Source: McKinney, J.B. Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy. p.37.)

    'Padre Spence: Padre G. A. D. Spence followed Padre McKenzie as Senior Chaplain in Italy. He had served with the 20th Battalion in Greece, Crete, Libya, and Egypt, had proved himself one of the most successful and respected unit chaplains, and had won the Military Cross for bravery and devotion to duty in these campaigns. In his new position he found the Chaplains' Department well established and enjoying the very best co-operation from the Army authorities. He was not called upon to pioneer in Departmental organisation but to keep a well-designed machine functioning smoothly, and this he did very well. He visited the Division regularly and also found time to see something of the many scattered outposts in Italy, besides making a short trip to Base Camp at Maadi. His humility and mild appearance belied his conscientious pursuit of duty and his high administrative talents.' (Source: Waters, Sydney D.; Ross, Squadron Leader J. M. S.; Underhill, Rev. M. L.; Winhall, Rev. N. E. Chaplains. p. 41.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
    10 January 1974 Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Death Records
  • Age at death
    72 Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Death Records
  • Place of death
    Lower Hutt, New Zealand Public - Mike - Researcher - 10 September 2015 - Death Records
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 1: WW2 170 AWMM
    • Pringle, D., & Glue, W. (1957). 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.10, 41–2, 47–8, 91, 100, 120, 141, 166, 179, 194, 212– 14, 250, 281, 299, 301, 305, 420, 602. AWMM
    • McKinney, J. (1952). Medical units of 2NZEF in Middle East and Italy. Wellington, N.Z.: Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.37. AWMM
    • Rev. M. L. Underhill ... [et al.] (1950). New Zealand chaplains in the Second World War. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.41. AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. and Pomeroy, M.J. (2016). Gallant Acts and Noble Deeds: New Zealand army honours and awards for the Second World War. Auckland, N.Z.: Fair Dinkum Publications.; P.J. Beattie and M.J. Pomeroy, 2016. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
10 September 2015Mike600Researcher
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