Spencer, George Johnston: Lieutenant

Digitized Service Record

Source: Search at the Canadian War Museum for 18th Battalion.


1917 Diary of Lt. G.J. Spencer. Selected diary pages. 19780095-001. Publisher / Date 22 Mar. 1917 – 31 Dec. 1917. Description diary. Canadian War Museum. Opens in PDF format.

1918 Diary of Lt. G.J. Spencer. Selected diary pages.19780095-002. Publisher / Date 1 Jan. 1918 – 31 Dec. 1918. Description diary. Canadian War Museum. Opens in PDF format.

Letter German Gas Projector by Major Norman Charlton
Item is a letter written by Major Norman Charlton Qua of the Canadian Corps to the 2nd Canadian Division regarding the German gas projector that was captured at N.14.D.8.1 Sheet 57B. He says it was a most valuable find and the report on it furnished by Lieutenant Spencer was very thorough. He thinks this is the first time that a projector has been captured and it could prove very important. Source: Canadian War Museum Digital Archive.


2nd Can. Div.

Ref. your 135/2 dated 31-8-18

The enemy projector emplacement at N.14.d.8.1 Sh. 57B was a most valuable find of the report on it furnished by Lt. Spencer was very thorough.

Can you please state what was done with the complete gun, charge, fuse, drum, and electrical firing device discovered in the area.

I believe it is the first time that such a thing has been found and the specimen [and] information concerning it would therefore be most interesting.

sd. N.C. Qua
Majorf. C.A. Cdn. Corps

Cdn. Corps

Biographical Note from CWM:

Spencer, George Johnston, Lieutenant, enlisted in the 186th Canadian Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 29 May 1916. He left for overseas duties 25 March 1917. He was assigned to the 9th Reserve Battalion on 7 April 1917 and eventually posted to the 18th Battalion in France on 27 June 1917. Also as of 12 May 1917 he was attached to the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters as Gas Officer. He returned to Canada on the SS Celtic on 26 Aug. 1919 and was struck off strength7 Sept. 1919. He was with the 18th Battalion CEF when it captured a German gas projector used to launch poison gas attacks. As he was also the “Gas Officer” for the 5th [4th] Canadian Infantry Brigade, he prepared a “very thorough” report on the apparatus for HQ. This may be the reason for the Mention in Despatches, as it was also the first time a complete apparatus of this type had been captured. Spencer was born in South India 16 Jan 1888.


The Canadian Entomologist / Volume 99 / Issue 01 / January 1967, pp 110-112Copyright © Entomological Society of Canada 1967 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4039/Ent99110-1 (About DOI), Published online: 31 May 2012.

Biographical Transcription

George Johnston Spencer, 1888-1966

Professor Emeritus George Johnston Spencer was born of missionary parents in Yercaud, S. India, 18 January 1888, and died at his home in Vancouver, Canada, 24 July 1966. Professor Spencer was renowned as a teacher and internationally known for his contribution of insects of western Canada. He attended Bishop Cotton’s High School in Bangalore and undertook work at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London and the University of Manchester. His undergraduate work was also continued at the Ontario Agricultural College (now University of Guelph) and in 1914 was awarded the B.S.A. degree at the University of Toronto. He took graduate work at Cornell University, University of Illinois, and the University of Toronto, and in 1924 was awarded the M.S. degree at the University of Illinois for a thesis on the life history and control of Thermobia demestica.

In World War 1 he served with Canadian battalions in France, Belgium, and Germany, attaining the rank of Lieutenant and being mentioned in desptaches.

Between 1914 and 1928, in addition to military service, Professor Spencer turned to a number of tasks among which were Assistant to the Provincial Entomologist of Ontario, in charge of the Ontario laboratory working on the control of the European corn borer, a study of the biology of the commercial crab in Vancouver Island, and field studies on the Trichogramma. Later he studied the bionomics of grasshoppers in the Interior of British Columbia and the vectors of witches broom on potatoes, as well as collecting vigorously for the Canadian National Collection.

In 1924 Professor Spencer was appointed as Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and in 1945 Professor at the same institution. Retiring in 1953, he was elected Professor Emeritus, Special Lecturer, and Curator of the Entomological Museum.


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