Monday, April 28, 2008

Private Edwin William Simpson

This blog relates to research being conducted by CTNana from England, assisted by the Matrix from Canada.

Private Simpson attested to the 151st Canadian Infantry Battalion in Strathcona, Alberta. The 151st never fought as a unit but like many other regional battalions was absorbed by one of the Reserve Battalions, in this case the 11th Reserve Battalion, to provide for reinforcements in the field (see Matrix Reserve Battalion Utility). Edwin left Halifax on October 4, 1916 on the California and arrived in Liverpool England on October 13, 1916 with the rest of the 151st Battalion (see Matrix Transport Ships Utility). It would appear that he was immediately transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion in Shorncliffe, probably receiving training during the rest of October 1916 after which he was transferred to the 78th Infantry Battalion on November 14, 1916 and was in the field the following day.

The story of Edwin picks up again in April 1917 at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, probably the most historic and most written about military action in Canadian History. It corresponds to the British version know as the First Battle of the Scarpe. The war diary for the 78th Battalion does not contain specific details other than they had been in Vincent Tunnel at Vimy Ridge. The report of the action at Vimy Ridge, as it relates to the 78th Infantry Battalion of the 12th Infantry Brigade, is detailed on pages 260 and 261 of Chapter VIII in the Official History of the Canadian Army - Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919. The unit was south of Givenchy-en-Gohelle near Hill 145 "The Pimple" (see Map 7). That was the main objective of the 4th Canadian Division.

Edwin's grave stone suggests that he was wounded at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 and was admitted to the 13th General Hospital in Boulogne France on April 13, 1917. It is likely he would have progressed through an Aid Station and then to the Casualty Clearing Station, as reported on April 11, 1917, prior to be transported to Boulogne.

The 13th British General Hospital at Boulogne is noted at this web site. Subsequent records show he went from the 13th General Hospital in Boulogne to the Stationary Hospital at Wimereux on April 24, 1917. The records show that he was seriously wounded by gunshot wounds to both legs (details suggest the knees) and was transferred to St. Lukes War Hospital in Halifax on April 25, 1917. Please note that this was not Halifax CANADA from where he started, but rather to St. Lukes in Halifax, County of Yorkshire.

Private Simpson died at St. Lukes of Sepsis (Septic Shock - failure of internal organs due to massive bacterial infection and blood poisoning - a deadly situation to say the least) on May 30, 1917 after what appears to been a slow deterioration of his health.

The records of the Commonweath War Graves Commission show that he is buried at the Pytchley (All Saints) Churchyard at grave site in grave #229 of the new site.