Quick promotion - yes, but WAR !
See one more quick promotion in my collection
The qualifications for the MC included substantive ranks constituting Warrant officers 2, 1 up to Captain. A Regimental Sergeant Major is equivalent to a WO 1, so if that was his rank at the time of the action, the award is appropriate. it would not have been awarded to a mere sergeant. I think this is where the confusions rests.
RSM is a position, not a rank-normally filled by a WO1, but war, as we know, offers many sudden 'opportunities' for advancement.
Not exactly, in WW I it was a substantive rank and was held by a WO, they have their own badges of rank etc. RSM is commonly found as the rank on issued medals, so not a position at all, in the sense of it being a duty officer or staff appointment. heavily in between a rank and an appointment as such. in any event, this is why he had the MC as his substantive rank is WO, but would have held the position of RSM, but I am pretty sure RSM is the rank on his named medals.
This excellent write up will explain it:
Regimental Sergeants Major of The Royal Canadian Regiment (1914-1919)
Private 10004, later Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC
Frederick Thomas Spicer was born in Essendon near Hatfield, Hertfordshire in 1894, the eldest of eleven children. His father, Thomas Spicer, was born in Stevenage in 1890 and his mother Annie was from Walkern, near Stevenage.
Frederick was a farm labourer before the 18 year old enlisted into the army late spring to early summer 1912. He became Private 10004 of the Bedfordshire Regiment and was posted to the 1st Battalion on completion of his training, which was when the first photograph would have been taken.
Following his deployment with the battalion in Ireland, war was declared in 1914 and Frederick was one of the 1st battalion's 'Old Contemptibles' who landed in France on the 16th August. In 1914 alone, he was engaged in the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the retreat to Paris, the Marne, the Aisne, La Bassee and the First Battle of Ypres. 1915 saw him involved in the Second Battle of Ypres and in the desperate defence of Hill 60 in April and May, after which time he had won promotion to Sergeant. In 1916 he was engaged during the Battle of the Somme when, as a Company Sergeant Major, he won a Military Cross and was commissioned in the field. His MC citation, dated 14/11/1916, reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his men in the attack with great courage .and determination, himself killing a number of the enemy. He has on many previous occasions done fine work."
Once officer training had been completed, Second Lieutenant Spicer, MC joined the 4th battalion in the field on the 20th May 1917 and appears throughout their diary until struck off the battalion strength in July 1918. He was present for the group photograph in September 1917 (shown below) and fought in the Third Battle of Ypres as well as being heavily engaged during the German Spring Offensives of 1918.
During the war he was wounded twice and gassed twice. He was also mentioned in despatches twice and was awarded the Russian St. George Cross over and above his Military Cross, 1914 Star with clasp and roses, Victory Medal and British War Medal.
His absolutely fascinating personal war diary can be seen at the Bedford County Records Office, covering his time in the 4th battalion in 1917 and 1918.
After the war Frederick's only child was born in 1919, being Barbara.
He then served in Ireland, where he was awarded a parchment for distinguished service as well as in the Shanghai Defence Force in the 1st battalion, India and Palestine. He was then moved into the 2nd battalion and appears whilst they were based in Colchester in the 1930s.
In February 1936 went to Egypt in the 2nd battalion and was recorded as being in command of D Company, 2nd battalion when they arrived at Jerusalem to help police the Arab rebellion. December 1936 saw him return to England and during the regiment's 250th anniversary celebrations in 1938, he was photographed escorting a dignitary who was inspecting his Company whilst on parade at St. Albans (below).
Major Spicer also served in France from 1939, throughout the 'Phoney War', until he was invalided home. He then served as a Brigade Major once recovered but unexpectedly died of a brain haemorrhage on the 28th November 1941, aged 47 whilst in command of the 6th battalion who were training at Bury St. Edmunds. Having served 29 years with the regiment and risen from Private to Lieutenant Colonel, he was given military funeral with full honours. The Regimental Sergeant Major and seven senior Warrant Officers who had served with him carried his coffin and he was buried in the Bury St. Edmunds cemetery, where he lies today.
Information and pictures from;
4th Bn Photos and Bios
Whatever its just an opinion.
Thank You !
May be anybody have picture of Lieutenant Colonel SPICER ?
Thank you !!!!
I'll chip in here. Its possible that he was in the position of acting Company Sergeant Major (as a Sergeant) when he won his MC hence his substantive rank is sergeant on the citation. Just a guess on my part.
Thank you !