Fletchers in Egypt - 1935-1944
PLUS EXPEDITIONS TO ST
CATHERINE'S MONASTERY, PETRA AND JERUSALEM
PLUS HOME LEAVES
Jimmmy Sproule served
as a senior RAMC / General Staff Officer in Cairo, Egypt
from November 1935 to January 1942, with a home
leave in August / September 1937 and a more
curtailed leave in summer 1939 (WWII
was declared on 3rd September 1939).
He was joined for all this time by his wife
Clare, and for much of it by daughter Peggy.
Son Brian came out for some school holidays.
Clare and Peggy took all the opportunities
available to travel widely and take photographs,
and we will be taking the opportunity to run
some of them in Ciaofamiglia.
Off to work in
military technology on display at the Coronation Day
Parade in Cairo, 12 May 1937, watched by Clare, Jimmy
and Peggy Sproule.
took some stunning river photos in Egypt - full of
Clare, Peggy & Brian visit a Pyramid
Clare surveys the world from the top of the Great
Jimmy poses in the
desert - c1940
Colonel J C Sproule awarded the CBE - link to the Citation
Jimmy & Clare's
Cairo farewell November 1941 - Clare took the photos,
Peggy wrote the captions !
There are several
other photo albums of explorations, picnics etc, and
just as many of army social life and the Gaziera Club,
but our time ran out!
1941 December - Jimmy & Clare leave Cairo for UK via South Africa, though Clare may
have ended up diverting via the USA after a swim in South Africa.
There are lots of
evocative photos of
1930s holiday visits to Cornwall &
Devon, and N Ireland, not to mention some award winning
photos like this one of Kyrenia, from a Cyprus stop off
and a hand
coloured photo of a pre-war harvest in Ireland
Here is the family
Sproule on UK leave in the late '30s, or on second
thoughts more likely after they all came home in the
and Clare gets in
some war preparation
Michael Fletcher came
to Egypt in early 1939 as a Sandhurst trained subaltern in the
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, and later moved
to the role of a cipher officer with the
for which he was awarded the MBE. Michael and Peggy were married
on 21 May
1941 in All Saints Cathedral, Cairo.
To add to the
family gathering, Michael's dad - Dr (wartime Colonel)
Jimmy Fletcher spent 1940-42 as OIC Medical Division, No
12 General Hospital, Cairo. Jimmy's brother Jack was
also there as a Lt-Commander in the Royal Navy.
Michael was an only child, and Jimmy's wife Ethel
Fletcher had to endure being grounded in England,
missing the wedding and not meeting her daughter-in-law
(with grandson Adrian) until 1944.
1940s - Fletchers in Cairo
1942 - el
Battle of el-Alamein (23 October to 4 November 1942) was
the first major allied victory of WWII. Adrian's Dad
Captain Michael Fletcher was the 8th Army's Chief Cipher
Officer. Earlier in June 1942 Capt Fletcher had
flown in to the besieged City of Tobruk to sort a major
cipher snafu. This done, he bumped into a navy
acquaintance and was offered a submarine lift back to
Alexandria. As it turned out this was the last
warship to get out before the City was overrun by German
forces and its 35,000 strong garrison became prisoners
of war on 21 June 1942. So without this kind act
by the Senior Service, Adrian would not have joined the
world in December 1943 ! In the months
before the battle of el Alamein General Montgomery was
particularly concerned about bolstering the severely
bruised morale of his army by bringing "welfare
amenities" such as ENSA concerts and cinema right up to
front line areas.
the middle of Colonel F's medals, the Africa Star
carries the bar of the 8th Army Clasp.
8th Army was created in October 1941, but the clasp was
restricted to service in the "good times" - after 23
CITATION FOR CAPTAIN FLETCHER'S
England - mid 1940s
Clare and Jimmy Sproule
returned to England via Cape Town in November 1941.
Adrian was born
in the Anglo American Hospital, Cairo, in December 1943,
and by the Spring of '44 everyone except Jimmy Fletcher
was back at Hurworth Grange (nr Darlington, Co Durham)
where the southerners had been evacuated to.
Clare & Jimmy Sproule, Brian Sproule (Peggy's
brother), Michael Peggy & Adrian Fletcher, Ethel
Fletcher (Michael's mum)
Hurworth Grange, nr Darlington.
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