WW1 Fred and James Sims

Pte Fred Simms (Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19180523-42-11)

Fred and James Simms were the sons of James Simms and Elinor (Ellen) Simms (nee Gavin) of Armadale Road, Remuera.

Frederick Simms (28809)

Frederick Simms was born on 1st February 1883 in Auckland to James Simms and Elinor (Ellen) Simms (nee Gavin) of Armadale Road, Remuera.

After leaving school he was employed, at the New Zealand Herald office for about five years, then left to become a Chainman and joined a Government survey party led by his father. After his father’s retirement, Frederick was employed by Geo Purchase Surveyors, in Waihi.

Frederick enlisted 27 June 1916 at Trentham and was described as 6ft 1 ½ inches (186 cm) tall, with brown eyes and brown hair.  He embarked on the vessel ‘Tofua’ for Plymouth, England on 11 October 1916 and arriving on 28 December 1916.  He was a Private with the 18th Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

He was sent to France, where in September 1917 whilst training he was wounded, and was returned to England to recover.  A month later he was sent back to France.  Both Frederick and his brother James were fighting on the Western Front, although in different Battalions. [1, 2, 3]

The Spring Offensive of 1918 was being fought in the same area on the Somme where there had been fighting two years earlier.  This part of the 1918 offensive, known as Operation Michael, had begun and by 28 March 1918 where the fighting was near Arras. Frederick was wounded by gunshot, was taken to hospital in France, but died on 1 April 1918 aged 35. [4]

He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France, XXXIII. C. 23A.

He is remembered on the Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories.

James Eric Simms (38759)

Frederick Simms’ younger brother James Eric Simms (38759) was born on 7 October 1896 and employed in the same occupation as his brother, a Chainman but working for the Lands and Survey, Auckland.

He enlisted four months after Frederick, on 4 October 1916, was 6ft 2inches (187 cm) tall with brown eyes and brown hair. He sailed for Plymouth, England on the vessel ‘Mokoia’ on 13 February 1917, arriving on 2 May 1917.  He was a Lance Corporal, with the 22nd Reinforcements, E Company, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. [1, 2]

He was sent to the Western Front in France, where on 4 October 1917, the New Zealand Division took part in the Battle of Broodseinde, near Passchendaele, tasked with seizing part of the Broodseinde Ridge called Gravenstafel Spur. On that day the New Zealand soldiers had overwhelmed the German forward positions, captured 1100 prisoners and helped to extend the front-line eastwards. This was achieved at a cost of 1700 casualties, including 350 deaths.

James received a gunshot wound to his right forearm and left shoulder. [3]

He was invalided back to New Zealand on 12 April 1918 as no longer fit for army service.

On his return James married Ada Agness Ellinor Jagger in 1918. They had a daughter, Lyla Jean Lavinia in 1919.  He died in 1982.

James Eric Simms (38759) was awarded the British war medal and victory medal.

G Ralph
May 2020