Desert Rat, Desert Fox


This satellite view of a small square of Libya, where rock and sand meet the Mediterranean Sea, is in the vicinity of El Agheila (Al Uqaylah). After Operation Compass routed the Italians in North Africa, the Allied Forces rested in this area – until Erwin Rommel’s infant Afrika Korps arrived to send them packing on this day 1941.

Cecil SIMPSON was born at Cayton and baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey, on 6th March 1918. He was, therefore, 21 years old when the Second World War began.  I don’t know how soon he joined the army but he was with the 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers when a force commanded by The Desert Fox ended his life.

Cecil is remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt (located about 1,000 kilometers from where he died), on the Gristhorpe Memorial in Filey Parish, and on his parents’ headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.


The pedigree of this branch of the Simpsons is not extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections – and I have struggled today to find forebears on FST to whom he can be readily linked.


And the Bride Wore…

…a charming gown of cream satin charmeuse, with paniers arranged with beautiful old lace and pearl embroidery, and real orange blossom. She also wore a soft tulle veil over a wreath of heather and orange blossoms, and carried a bouquet of white heather, lilies of the valley, and white carnations. Her only ornament was a rope of pearls. The bridesmaids were attired in gowns of saxe-blue crepe-de-chine, with bodice and paniers in chiffon to match. The bodices were prettily trimmed with pointed cream lace and bows of black tulle. Their hats were of black velvet with blue Lancer plumes, and they carried bouquets of blue love-in-the-mist, and wore brooches of peridots and pearls, the gifts of the bridegroom.

Yorkshire Post and Itelligencer, 11 September 1912

It is a long time since I read a “County Magazine” but I’d be surprised if this sort of reporting is no longer offered to a certain class of readership.

During the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Rowe left in a motor car for York en route for Devonshire, where the honeymoon is to be spent. They were the recipients of numerous and valuable presents.

Almost three years after this happy day, Claude the bridegroom had become Captain Rowe, serving with 14 and 17 RFC squadrons in Abbassia, Egypt. He survived the First World War and died about six months before the Second began.

He is now hitched to Marjorie on FST. She outlived her husband by almost 40 years.