Private Timothy Sproule


Timothy Sproule was born on 9 December 1892 at Cloonty, Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, the fourth of fourteen children of gamekeeper William John Sproule and his wife Matilda Jane (nee Porter). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living on the farm of Mary Kinloch at Aghcessy, Baronscourt, County Tyrone, and working as a farm servant.

Sproule enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 11 November and 2 December 1912 (No.760). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 21 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. A newspaper report on 22 October 1914 stated that he had been wounded and was in a hospital at Versailles.

Whether Sproule was able to rejoin his squadron at the front is not known at present, but on 17 March 1916 he was discharged, having been found no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations). Sproule was later awarded a disability pension, due to 'periostitis' attributable to his military service.

On 26 July 1916 Sproule married Mary Elizabeth Patterson at St Eugene's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Ardstraw, County Tyrone. A newspaper report in 1931 tells us that he was living in Mill Street, Newtownstewart, and working as a ganger for the county council.

Sproule was also a keen fisherman. The Belfast Telegraph of 16 September 1966 reported that:

A 75-year-old Omagh fisherman this week landed his 500th salmon. He is Mr. Timothy Sproule, of 16 Castle Place, who reeled in an eight-pounder from the River Strule near Newtownstewart. Mr. Sproule began fishing in 1917.

Sproule died on 16 October 1969 and was buried in the Ardstraw Parish Churchyard.