Harrogate Herald - 13th January 1915
W H Breare letter
You remember David Simpson, twice Mayor of
Harrogate and the builder of the beautiful Duchy estate. he had a
singular experience not long ago at Lowestoft, where Mr and Mrs
David Simpson were staying. One day he was studying a map on a
wall of the sea front when a silly fellow accused him of being a
spy. David's indignation was so unfettered and volcanic that he
leaped into good broad Yorkshire. His accuser saw in the vocabulary
fresh evidence, he thought, of foreign extraction. The foolish
fellow did not wait for evidence of David's nationality, but
vanished and was no more seen. Just as though a real spy would
publicly study a map on the sea front at Lowestoft! Mr Simpson's
friends are still laughing over the incident. He is about as full of
patriotism as an egg is of meat. For years he was in the Yorkshire
Hussars, a fine shot, and he became one of the promoters of the
Harrogate Civilian Rifle Club. His eldest son, "Jim"
Simpson, is a sergeant in Kitchener's Army, and his second son, George
Simpson, was one of the first to enlist in Australia for the
Expeditionary Force. His third boy would have enlisted, but could
not fulfil every requirement.
Harrogate Herald - 7th April 1915
Mena Camp, Cairo, Egypt
March 15th, 1915
Dear Mr Day, I was delighted to get your letter and
papers the other day. Harrogate must be very different now with
soldiers everywhere. As you will know, I am in the Australian Army
Service Corps, and find the work very interesting. We have four
horses to each wagon, and ride one and lead the off horse. Of
course, our job is to keep the grub, etc, up to the infantry. We had
a great surprise when we disembarked in Egypt, after being told we
were going to England. It would have been very nice to have come
home for the winter, except for the weather - you see here we have
an ideal winter climate and everything was very strange and new when
we came here at first, but I am afraid every one is getting tired of
the desert now and wanting to get on the move. We had a very
interesting time down at Ismalia on the Suez Canal a few weeks ago,
when the Turks were "invading" Egypt. We were sent down
with a couple of battalions infantry and found things quite busy for
the first few days. We were not actually under fire, but were well
within range and could hear the guns going all the time and saw the
wounded and hundreds of Turkish prisoners coming in to the railway
to be taken to Cairo. The Indians did most of the work, aided by the
New Zealanders and Australians. There were also some English
Yeomanry down there, so you see we have a pretty mixed force in
Egypt. Hoping yourself and family are well, I am.
Yours sincerely, George Simpson.
The writer is a son of Mr and Mrs David Simpson -
Harrogate Herald - 7th April 1915
Mena Camp, Cairo, Egypt,
February 25th, 1915
Dear Father and Mother, I have no doubt that you
have been rather worried lately at not having received any letters
from me, but I hope you get the p.c's we have been down at a place
called Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. We were hurried away at a
moment's notice and were not allowed to write any letters. I have no
doubts you have read in the papers that the Turkish advanced on to
the canal, but did not get any further. Two battalions of Australian
Infantry and our own company of Army Service Corps went down. Of
course, the Indian troops bore the brunt of the attack. We had a
fine time; although we were not actually under fire, we could hear
all the guns going and saw all the prisoners and wounded coming in.
the whole thing was very interesting. We had bomb-proof shelters,
and special guns fixed up for aeroplanes. We also had a flying corps
with us. We had some great trenches and barbed wire entanglements. I
had a look over the Turk's trenches, which did not amount to much.
As you will see by the address, we are back at Mena, but expecting
to get away to an unknown destination very soon, so don't be
surprised if my letters suddenly stop or anything like that. I
picked up bits of shells, old belts, etc. at one part of the attack
our fellows let the enemy launch 14 boats, which they had brought
with them, on the canal, and waited until they were in mid-stream,
and then blew the whole lot up, killing every man. One night I saw
about 150 prisoners of war on their way to Cairo. They were a
half-dead looking lot, and I am sure that sort of men will never
capture Egypt. The canal defence force, as it is called, is made up
of Indians, Territorials, New Zealanders, and Australians. I have
just had a letter from Jim, the first since I left Australia. He
tells me that most of the HOB's are serving in some way. Well, I
will stop now. I hope you have received the chocolate box, also the
picture of the Mildura men taken near the Sphinx.
With great love to all, George.
Harrogate Herald - 18th April 1917
W H Breare letter
My young friend George Simpson, of the
Australians, son of Mr and Mrs Simpson, has been given a
commission. He and another Colonial soldier were selected out of 500
for this mark of distinction. George had charge of horses, of
which he is very fond. He has the gift of being able to do anything
with the most spirited of them. I fancy he will part with his dumb
friends with regret. George, however, has the keenest sense of duty,
and would be likely to do any mortal honourable thing demanded by
the interests of the Motherland. He is a white man through and
Harrogate Herald - 23rd May 1917
W H Breare letter
A letter informed me that George Simpson, son
of Mr and Mrs David Simpson, of Harrogate, was at an
officers' school there. As luck would have it, he was billeted at
Emmanuel College, just opposite the hotel "Ye Old Castle"
where we were stopping. I did not learn that he was there until the
Friday. that day he was out on shooting practice, but we met him at
about five o'clock and arranged that he should spend part of the
evening with us, which he did. He is very well and delighted with
Cambridge. He says he is having the time of his life.
Harrogate Herald – 16th June 1920
Sir, I am not surprised that some good citizens have
made a move in regard to the above object. Unfortunately I am one
who lost two dear sons in the war, and therefore can understand the
feelings of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, at the
apparent neglect to arrange some definite scheme to erect a
permanent memorial of good design and character with the names of
the fallen inscribed. I have before me two scrolls given by the
King, the one for my son Jim Simpson, another for George
Simpson. The wording is as follows :
"He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered
amongst those who at the call of King and Country left all that was
dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out
of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving
up their own lives that others might live in freedom".
"Let those who come after see to it that his
name be not forgotten".
The existing conditions look very much as if the
above words were being disregarded. The obvious duty of the
committee who had this matter in hand was, firstly, to provide money
for a memorial worthy of the town, all other schemes being
subservient to that object.
To purchase a palatial building as a playground for
the living (many of whom did not fight in the war), and to
participate in its benefits at the expense of the dead is, I feel,
unpatriotic and repugnant to an Englishman. It is time we had some
definite statement on this subject.
I beg to thank Major Plackett, and Mr H A Day, also
yourself, for your leader, in bringing the matter before the public.
I have sufficient confidence in Harrogate people and their sense of
justice to feel sure that they wish to see homage paid to the dead.
Yours faithfully, David Simpson.
"Hartwood", Kent Road, Harrogate
Harrogate Herald – 25th August 1920
In memory of Lieutenant George Simpson,
killed in action August 23rd, 1918, the ever-loved son of Mr and
Mrs David Simpson, Hartwood, Kent Road.
[From Australian Archives - Aug 2001]
[Australian War Memorial registry file:] D.
Simpson, Esq. J.P. Harrogate, England [Request for donation of
private records of Lieutenant G. Simpson]
AWM93 Control symbol
12/11/455 Contents date range
1927 - 1928
Australian War Memorial Barcode no