Alexander enlisted in the Citizen Military Force (Reserve) on Jun 1939 and served with 2/26th Battalion A.I.F. He was promoted to Captain and transferred to the A.I.F. on 28 Nov 1940. He was then transferred to Australian Guerrilla Warfare Centre at Foster on 22 Mar 1941. He was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Major, Commanding Officer of the unit.
He was awarded a Distinguish Service Order for Courage and Distinguished Service, London Gazette, 25 May 1943 and in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 119-3 Jun 1943. These are the two Gazettes for the Timor Campaign.
Alexander took over the Command of Sparrow Force on 24 May 1942 as a Major Temporary Lieutenant Colonel and embarked at “BETANO” for Australia aboard “KURU” on 16 Nov 1942.
He was awarded a Commander in Chief Commendation Card for service in Timor, Authority, Army Order 69/43 on 10 Nov 1942.
Transferred as Commanding Officer (CO) of 1st Commando Training Squadron on 1 Mar 1943. He relinquished Temporary rank of Lt Colonel and was appointed Major, Commanding Officer of 2/9th Commando Squadron on 10 Apr 1944 and then Commanding Officer of 2/12th Commando Squadron on 10 Jun 1944.
He was discharged on 28 Feb 1945.
London Gazette, 25 May 1943.
“Distinguish Service Order”
For Courage and Distinguished Service in the Timor area.
“Major A Spence throughout operations in rear of DILLI in Portuguese Timor, from March 19/20 until May 25th 1942, has shown marked leadership in commanding the 2nd Independent Coy, and his example acted as an inspiration to the officers and men of the Company.
The Company has inflicted relatively heavy casualties on the enemy as guerrilla troops, and has carried out many very daring and successful exploits.
Major Spence planned some of these operations. By his cool logical demeanour and steadiness under all circumstances he has greatly stimulated the members of his Company.”
He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45, pictured below.
Edited by Peter Epps