Friday, June 22, 2012

Sgt John Simpson D.C.M. 141288

Thanks to the improved search on the CWGC site I was able to look for John Simpsons with the DCM, this gave 3 results. 2 of these men were from Carlisle and Scotland, surprisingly it was the John Simpson in the Canadian Infantry who was from Liverpool! I also connected with another user who had John in their family tree and could confirm that I had the right man.


The baptism record for John Simpson (below) shows that he was born on 7th Aug 1883 in Liverpool, he was baptised on 16th Sept 1883 in St Thomas's Church, Toxteth Park. His parents were William and Ann Simpson of 53 Laxey Street (off Park Road in Toxteth) William was a milk dealer.

In the 1891 census, the family were still living at 53 Laxey Street with a total of 5 children and a servant.  William Simpson was a cow keeper and an employer.

In the 1901 census, John was 17 and still living with his parents, his occupation was apprentice joiner. They were at the same address but did not have a servant at the time of this census.

On 12th Jan 1907 John Simpson married Edith Mary Bretherton at St Mary theVirgin, West Derby, Liverpool.
 Source Citation: Place: West Derby, Lancashire, England; Collection: St Mary The Virgin; -; ; Film Number: 1546071.

The 1911 census has John and Edith living at July Street, Anfield with their son William Reginald Simpson and Emilie Bretherton who I presume to be Edith's sister although Ancestry have mistranscribed her as a daughter.

John and his family emigrated to Canada, ~I have more information to add about this.

Thanks to the Canadian Archives online, here is a copy of John's attestation paper. It shows that they lived at 260 Victoria Avenue, Hamilton and his occupation was cabinet maker. He was already in the 'active militia' and had served in 13 Royal Regiment 'G' Coy. He attested for the Canadian overseas expeditionary force on 28th July 1915 and was put in the 76th overseas battalion with the regimental number 141288.

John's description on enlistment shows he was 31 years and 11 months old, 6 ft tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

John was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry and distinguished service in the field. The certificate shown below (a public photo from has a photo of John Simpson and the citation for his D.C.M. (it is missing one digit from his regimental number)

close-up of the photo.

The certificate also shows that John Simpson was killed on 1st October 1918. The entry below from the Canada, CEF Burial Registers, 1914-1919   shows that  Sgt John Simpson D.C.M. was killed in action on 1/10/1918   and was buried at Sancourt Military Cemetery

click here to see the CWGC database entry for Sgt John Simpson DCM

I have a copy of the battalion diary for the day that John Simpson was killed and it gives a very clear picture of the terrible battle the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry were involved in on that day.  John Simpson wasn't listed as a casualty on that day but it is likely that he was killed then but his death wasn't confirmed until later.

(Text of the battalion diary to be added.)


Inscription from a gravestone in Toxteth Park Cemetery (sourced from the Toxteth Park Cemetery Inscriptions Database)

I 28 SIMPSON. (C.C.Rt.315)

Large upright grey marble, low pointed top, square shoulders. 

  In loving memory of
 the beloved children of
 William and Ann C. SIMPSON,
Thomas, died 10th June 1890,
 aged 1 year and 4 months.
 George, died 10th June 1893,
aged 6 weeks.
 Also the above Ann C. SIMPSON,
died 15th October 1901,
 aged 49 years.
Also Sergt. John SIMPSON, D.C.M.
 1st Canadian Infantry,
 beloved husband of Edith SIMPSON, 
 and eldest son of the above, 
 killed in action in France 1st Oct. 1918. 
 Buried at Sancourt, aged 35 years. 
 Also Edith May, 
 daughter of the above John SIMPSON, 
who died 21st April 1916, aged 3 months. 
 Interred at Hamilton, Canada. 
 *Thy will be done.* 
 Also of the above William SIMPSON, 
 who died 6th February 1925, aged 71 years. 
 *Life's work well done.*

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