Roll of Honour
Private Archibald Simons
Service Number: 6012
Regiment: Middlesex Regiment (2nd)
Conflict: World War One
Date of Death: 24th October 1916
Age at Death: 20
Burial/Memorial Location: AIF Burial Ground, Somme, France
Son of Mr & Mrs Charles Simons, of Station Road, Launton.
"In October last, Mr Charles N. Simons, of Station Road, Launton, received an official notice from the War Office that his son, the above named soldier, of the Middlesex regiment was wounded and missing.
Several letters of enquiry have been sent to the War Office and to the Regimental Depot to endeavour to get further information to relieve the anxiety of the greatly distressed parents, but without any satisfactory result. Through the medium of the Red Cross however, after seven months of anxious waiting, Corporal A.J. Ricketts, of the Middlesex Regiment, a wounded soldier at present a patient of Langley Red Cross Hospital, Prestwich near Manchester, has offered certain information, and upon a photo of the late Archie Simons being sent to him has, beyond doubt, as shewn by the letter which we have had sent to us and which we publish, identified the missing man as one of a section team who were killed by shell fire. Great sympathy is felt for the soldier’s respected patents in their bereavement, and who have another son serving with the colours. The deceased was a young man very much esteemed by all who knew him.
The following is a copy of the letter referred to, written to Mr H. Giles, of Bicester: "Re your letter of the 7th inst. concerning the death of Private Archie Simons, No. 6012. The photo which you enclosed is the image of him. I knew him quite well as he was in the Middlesex Regiment at the same time as me, and when he came to the Machine Gun Corps he was put in the same section as me (No.3). At the time of his death we were about to make an attack on the Somme, he was with his team in a trench, just behind the one which I was in, and it was being heavily shelled at the time by the enemy. A few more men and myself were watching the shells falling, as we knew there was a ream of the Section in that trench, when all of a sudden about four heavy shells exploded in the place where Archie Simons team was and we saw some bodies go up, so the men and myself came to the conclusion that it must have been some of our men.
It was impossible for us to get across to the trench until night time. When it was dark I went across to the team and found there were only two survivors out of the seven men that were in the team – They said that Simons was one of the men blown up by one of the shells and that they were buried further down the trench. It was impossible to find the exact spot as that part of the trench had been filled in owing to the heavy bombardment which it had been subjected to. We were all very sorry when we knew of his death, as a more jolly chap we could not have wished to have had in the Section, and he was a great loss to us and also to his chums in the Middlesex Regiment.
I am pleased to know that I have been able to set his mother’s mind at rest as it must have been a very great strain upon her during the time from when he was reported missing until she heard from the Red Cross Society, and I deeply sympathise with her in her grief. I do not think there is any more I can say so I will bring my letter to a close hoping you will excuse the bad writing as I am a “Bed” patient and have to write this as best I can in bed."" Bicester Advertiser 18/05/1917