Topic: William Simpson (1878-1916)
William Simpson was employed as a bushman by Gamman's Mill at Omanawa Falls in Tauranga before he enlisted in World War I. He was killed in action in Somme, France on 15 September 1916.
William Simpson was born in Jamberoo, NSW, Australia on 23 February 1878. His parents were Joseph and Amelia Simpson who married on 16 July 1875 in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia.
William served with the Australian forces during the South African Conflict (Boer War 1899-1902).
It is not yet known when William arrived in New Zealand, but he enlisted in World War I (1914-1918) from Tauranga on 18 October 1915. His enlistment address was Omanawa Falls in Tauranga. He was working as a bushman for Gamman's Mill.
On 8 January 1916 William departed New Zealand with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade [3rd Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion, F Company]. They arrived in Suez, Egypt a month later, between the 7th and 9th of February.
William was a Private with the Otago Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
On 27 February 1916 he was reported absent without leave. The following month, on 11 March 1916 he was ill and sent to hospital, rejoining his unit on 25 March. He embarked for France on 9 April 1916.
Three months later, on 22 July 1916, he was sent to hospital suffering from diarrhoea. He rejoining his unit on 19 August, and on that same day he was charged with 'striking his superior officer' and using 'insulting language to his superior officer'. For those actions he was sentenced to two years imprisonment on 28 August 1916. However, his sentence was suspended on 4 September, and he was sent to the front.
William was killed in action in France during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916 at the age of 38. He was buried in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery in Somme, France.