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Edward Simpson

Edward Walker Simpson

Gunner Edward Walker Simpson  of the Royal Garrison Artillery, 229th Anti-Aircraft Section, Service No. 59468, died of pneumonia at 24, Atherton Street, Durham on February 18th, 1919, aged 36.

He is buried at Embleton Cemetery , Spitalford, in the family grave.

Edward was born late in 1883. He was the son of William and  Elizabeth Simpson. Edward had three older brothers Mathew, born in 1871, Thomas, 1876 and William, 1880 and a younger brother George, born in 1885. His father died on Christmas Eve 1902. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry says Elizabeth lived at 24, Hill House, Craster. This address was in the 'Square' behind the smokehouse; No 24 was on the north face of the 'Square', overlooking the harbour.

In the 1901 census, the family lived at '24 South Craster', presumably the same address,  when William, a joiner, Edward, a cartman, and George were all living at home. In 1911, Elizabeth, now a widow, and George were living in 'the square'. At that time, Elizabeth's occupation was given as, 'keeps dairy'. Perhaps it is possible that she looked after the dairy that backed on to Whin Hill on the south side of the street?

The following newspaper article, carried in the Alnwick & County Gazette on August 5th 1916, not only tells us something about his service on the Somme, but also that at some time Edward had emigrated to Canada and William to America, accounting perhaps for their absence on the 1911 census:

Alnwick and County Gazette, August 5th, 1918

His attestation paper, completed when he joined up, was signed by Edward in Alnwick on October 15th 1915, but was approved on October 21st at Dover. A note on the form says that the 'approving officer' had to sign in the presence of the recruit, so presumably Edward was already en-route for France when it was signed. The attestation paper records Edward saying that he was single and that he had two trades, unfortunately the first is illegible; the second was fisherman.

Joining up in October 1915, Edward served throughout  the greater part of the war. However, apart from him being wounded on the Somme, it has not been possible to throw more light on his war time experience. His medal card shows that he was awarded both the Victory and British Medals.

Edward's death, from pneumonia, some time after the end of the war may have been brought on by some war time experience, but we do not know. The G.P. recorded on the certificate that the onset of the disease was five days before his death. His brother, T. Simpson, a signalman, was the informant and present at his death. Thomas was recorded in the 1901 census, when he was working as a railway porter and living as a boarder in Nevilles Cross, Durham.

Edward's grave in Spitalford Cemetery

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Edward Walker Simpson

Alnwick and County Gazette, October 23rd 1915 - Recruitment

Attestation Paper

Edward Walker Simpson, Family Grave

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