Sergeant Thomas Nesbit Simpson, MM, was born in Northfield (present day Nanaimo), British Columbia, on August 16, 1890, son of William and Elizabeth (neé Good) Simpson. He enlisted with the 31st Regiment British Columbia Horse on August 13, 1914, followed by a transfer that September to the 5th Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, and three weeks later shipped for England.
The following February of 1915 he arrived in France where he continued to serve with the 5th Battalion. Simpson was awarded the Military Medal “for bravery in the field” one month prior to his being killed in action while taking part in the Somme offensive at Courcelette. The date of his death is anomalously recorded throughout official records as September 26/27, 1916. He was buried at the Courcelette British Cemetery, Courcelette, France.
Simpson’s name is listed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph along with forty other soldiers who were born, lived, or worked in Ladysmith, B.C., and who died during the First World War. Seven of these soldiers, including Simpson, had wartime letters published by The Ladysmith Chronicle newspaper (see links below).
The complete list of soldiers in the can be found in the Ladysmith and District Historical Society collection.
Sgt. Simpson’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 13306) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring him can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Simpson’s name is inscribed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph, Rotary Memorial Peace Garden, Ladysmith, B.C.
The awarding of Simpson’s Military Medal was published in The London Gazette on August 23, 1916 (# 29719, p. 8365).
A collection of WWI soldiers' letters published in The Ladysmith Chronicle was undertaken by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society through their work with the Ladysmith Archives.