Simms, John Sibbald

Simms, John Sibbald (Jack)

Captain

12th Battalion, London Regiment (The Rangers)

Killed in action on Friday 26 October 1917 (aged 23)

Buried:

Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium (Grave III. A. 2)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Strean Presbyterian Church Newtownards

Campbell College Belfast

BIOGRAPHY

John Sibbald Simms was born on 15 July 1894 in High Street, Newtownards and he was the only son of Samuel Hugh and Mary Frances Sibbald Simms (nee Johnston) who were married by special licence on 22 February 1893 in Glen House, Newtownards, the residence of the bride’s father, according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Hugh Simms, a merchant from 57 High Street, Newtownards was a son of John Simms, a merchant.  Mary Frances Sibbald Johnston was a daughter of William Sibbald Johnston, a bleacher.

The Simms family lived in Woodgarth, High Street, Newtownards.

Samuel Simms was a draper and he and Mary had three children, all of whom were baptised in Strean Presbyterian Church Newtownards:

John Sibbald (born 15 July 1894 in High Street, Newtownards)

Eileen Mary (born 16 February 1897 in High Street, Newtownards)

Kathleen Johnston (born 20 September 1902 in High Street, Newtownards)

John Sibbald Simms was the only nephew of Major-General Rev Dr John Morrow Simms CMG, Principal Chaplain to the British Armies in France.  In 1922 Dr Simms served as the Member of Parliament for North Down.

Jack Simms was educated at Campbell College in Belfast and prior to the Great War he was serving his time with his uncle John Blow.  John Blow was a principal in the firm of Messrs Blow & McKeag, Linen Merchants and they had premises in Clarence Place and Donegall Square North, Belfast.

Jack Simms was a keen golfer and he played at the Scrabo Club in Newtownards where his handicap was eight.  He won several Club competitions, including the President’s Cup.  He had success too in billiards competitions held in Newtownards.

In October 1914 Jack Simms enlisted as a Private in the Sportsmen’s Battalion and in June 1915 was promoted to a commission in the 2nd/12th London Rangers.  He went to the Front in February 1917 and was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Captain John Sibbald Simms was 23 when he was killed in action on 26 October 1917 and he was buried in Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium.

Captain John Sibbald Simms is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Strean Presbyterian Church Newtownards and in Campbell College.

Jack’s father, Samuel Hugh Simms, died on 13 January 1940 and his mother, Mary Frances Sibbald Simms, died on 19 December 1940.