Robert Spoors GC MM (AM exchanger)

b. 11/07/1910 Newcastle upon Tyne. d. 28/02/1984 Norwich, Norfolk.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 31/05/1935 Quetta, India.

Robert Spoors (1910-1984) was born on 11th July 1910 in Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the son of Robert and Agnes Spoors (nee Blackwood). His father was a coal miner. Nothing is known about his early life prior to enlisting with the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1926 at the age of 16. He would serve with them until 1942 when he was medically discharged as a Sergeant. He married Jane Clements, and they had a son and a daughter.

Robert Spoors GC MM

On the morning of 31st May 1935, shortly after the Quetta Earthquake struck, Spoors entered Major O’Hanlon’s house. It was in a very dangerous condition, but he cleared a path for Mrs O’Hanlon and was responsible for saving her life. He then re-entered the house to save the nurse and baby, but he himself was trapped by the debris and was later rescued by two men.

He then volunteered to help out at the British Military Hospital and worked very long hours helping the victims of the quake. He was awarded the Albert Medal, and it was announced on the same day as Florence Allen’s on 19th November 1935. Spoors was then posted to Palestine prior to the Second World War and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery (LG, 22nd December 1939).

After leaving the Army, he became a foreman engineer, a job he held from 1943 to his retirement in 1972. Spoors chose to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross in 1971, and donated his AM to the West Yorkshire Regimental Museum in York. In later life, he moved to Norwich, Norfolk, where he passed away, aged 73, on 28th February 1984. He was cremated at St Faiths Crematorium, but there is no plaque to him. His medals including his GC, MM, General Service Medal 1918-1962 with clasp “Palestine”, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, and QEII Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 are privately held.