Sapper Herbert SIMPSON

Royal Engineers
(Formerly: North Staffs. Regiment)
57th Field Company
Service Number:
(Formerly: 45243 North Staffs. Regiment)
Date of Death:
20 January 1917 - Died of wounds
Cemetery / Memorial:
Cemetery Reference:
IV. F. 9.

Personal History:

Joseph was born at  5 South Street, Buxton on 27th June 1888, the second son of Joseph (Joiner) and Hannah (née Gemison) Simpson. He had four older siblings, James Francis, Martha, Ellen and Elizabeth, and a younger sister, Louise. (1891 Census RG 12/2779).
In 1901 another younger sister had been born, Ann, but all the children were living with their widowed aunt, Elizabeth Hardy, at Bulls Head Cottages, Fairfield, Buxton. (Census RG 13/3269) Father, Joseph, died in the December quarter 1895 and mother, Hannah, in the September quarter 1899.

Ten years later, the 1911 Census (RG 14/21234) showed Herbert living at 51 Kings Road, Fairfield, at the home of his brother James, his wife, Mary, and their two children. He was employed as a "Plumber".

At the time of his enlistment Herbert was living at 4 Brooklands, Fairfield, Buxton and was 5'5" (1.65 m) tall and weighed 117 lbs. (8 st. 5 lbs.) He gave his trade as 'Plumber' and religion as 'Church of England'.

When reporting his death on the 3rd February 1917, "The Buxton Advertiser" said that 'Bert'  was " … formerly of "Brooklands", Lightwood Road, where his brother, Mr James Simpson, resides." It went on: "Sapper Simpson was a singer of no mean ability, and was ever ready to assist in aid of any charitable cause."

Military History:
Herbert enlisted at Derby on the 5th February1916. His Service papers show that after a period on the Army Reserve he was posted to the North Staffs. Regiment on the 8th May 1916, but just three days later was transferred to The Royal Engineers.

Herbert (known as 'Bert') was posted to France from the Training Camp at Deganwy to join the 57th Field Company and embarked on 13th December 1916, joining his Company on the 5th January 1917. By the time he joined them the 57th Field Company were part of the 49th (West Riding) Division and there is no obvious record of any active engagement around the time of his death, nor were anymore of his Company shown to have been killed in action in the week prior.

On the 3rd February 1917, "The Buxton Advertiser" reported a letter received by "Mrs Simpson", Bert's mother (? see above) from a fellow Sapper, S.P. Martine, giving further details of Bert's death: "Your son, three sappers and myself were detailed to carry material up to the trenches. While crossing a ridge leading to where we were to work, the enemy opened with shell fire. Your son and several men of the working party were hit."

Bert had lasted just two weeks before dying of gunshot wounds to the buttocks and chest,
on the 20th January 1917, at the 43rd Casualty Clearing Station, which was located at
Warlincourt between November 1916 and November 1917. He was buried at Warlincourt
Halte Cemetery where he still lies.

· "The Buxton Advertiser" - 3rd February 1917

Link to CWGC Record
Herbert Simpson's Grave
Inscription on Herbert's grave
Inscription on Herbert's grave, chosen by his wife and parents.