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Lieutenant George Simpson


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 - Editor


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 through!


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]

Series number

AWM93 Control symbol

12/11/455 Contents date range

1927 - 1928

Access status

Open Location

Australian War Memorial Barcode no



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