Updated:  22 May 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sproules and Fletchers in Egypt - 1935-1944

 

PLUS EXPEDITIONS TO ST CATHERINE'S MONASTERY, PETRA AND JERUSALEM

 

PLUS HOME LEAVES

 

El Alamein

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY - MARCH 1937 - CLARE'S HAND COLOURED PHOTOS FROM HER EXPEDITION TO PETRA

 

 

 

Just look at the meticulous detail of Clare's hand colouring

 

 

JERUSALEM - 1940

 

 

 

 

There are more light filled studies from Jerusalem in Clare's albums if we have time ....

 

 

 

Cairo

 

 

 

 

Off to work in Cairo c1937

 

 

 

British military technology on display at the Coronation Day Parade in Cairo, 12 May 1937, watched by Clare, Jimmy and Peggy Sproule.

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clare took some stunning river photos in Egypt - full of reflected drama

 

 

c1938 - Clare, Peggy & Brian visit a Pyramid

 

 

1938 - Clare surveys the world from the top of the Great Pyramid

 

 

 

 

Jimmy poses in the desert - c1940

 

1941 - 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.

 

 

 

 

HOME LEAVES

 

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 early 1940s

 

 

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 Royal Signals, 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.

 

 

 

Early 1940s - Fletchers in Cairo

 

 

 

 

1942 - el Alamein

 

 

 

The Second 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.

 

 

 

Around the middle of Colonel F's medals, the Africa Star carries the bar of the 8th Army Clasp.

The 8th Army was created in October 1941, but the clasp was restricted to service in the "good times" - after 23 October 1942.

 

CITATION FOR CAPTAIN FLETCHER'S WARTIME MBE

 

 

 

Back in 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)

at Hurworth Grange, nr Darlington.

 

 

 

 

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