Decorations & Gallantry Medals > C.M.G., D.S.O. group of (5) to Colonel W. A. Simson, Canadian Army Service Corps
C.M.G., D.S.O. group of (5) to Colonel W. A. Simson, Canadian Army Service Corps

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Prod. Code: 1197

A Great War C.M.G., D.S.O. group of (5) awarded to Colonel W. A. Simson, Canadian Army Service Corps, who was three times Mentioned in Despatches

The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, C.M.G., Companion’s, neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels; Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamels, with integral top riband bar; 1914-15 Star (Lieut: Col: W. A. Simson. Can: A.S.C.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Col. W. A. Simson.) the first two with minor chips to reverse centres, otherwise nearly extremely fine (5)

C.M.G. London Gazette 1 January 1919:

‘For services rendered in connection with the war.’ One of only three awarded to the Canadian Army Service Corps.

D.S.O. London Gazette 14 January 1916:

‘For distinguished service in the field.’

William Amor Simson was born in Halifax on 25th November 1872, and educated at Halifax High School. He was appointed Provisional 2nd Lieutenant in the 63rd Halifax Regiment on 26 February 1900, and was confirmed in that rank on 15 February 1901. Simson was promoted to Lieutenant in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in April 1902, and left Canada for South Africa with the regiment but arrived there when the war was over. He returned to the 63rd Rifles and was promoted to Captain on 19 September 1904. He was appointed Lieutenant in the Canadian Army Service Corps on 1 August 1906, was promoted to Captain in May 1908, and took over No. 1 Detachment at Ottawa. In 1910, he went to the U.K. for a short course in Mechanical Transport to learn how to drive. Upon his return, he was appointed as Major and Assistant Director of Supply and Transport from 10 November 1911. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Simson was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Divisional Train, which was organising at Valcartier, and embarked with the unit on 3 October 1914.

Simson was appointed to the command of all Canadian Army Service Corps units from 21 October 1914, and proceeded to France with his unit, arriving in February 1915. He was placed on the strength of the H.Q. Staff Divisional Train from 1 April 1915, and was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel on 1 July 1915. He was then attached to the Canadian Corps as officer in charge of Canadian Army Service Corps personnel (France) and graded as A.A. & Q,M.G. from 24 November 1917, and promoted Action Colonel. He returned to England on 24 November 1917, to take up duties as Director of Supply and Transport at O.M.F.C. Headquarters, London (Shorncliffe), retaining his rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. For his services during the Great War he was three times Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 22 June 1915; 27 January 1916; and 28 December 1917). He returned to Canada in August 1919 and retired the following December, although was still listed as District Supply Officer at Toronto in 1920, at which time he held the rank of Colonel, the highest rank in the Canadian Army Service Corps during peacetime. Colonel Simson had married Louise du Barry of Norfolk, Virginia, prior to 1914 and she accompanied him to England, where he was afterwards employed as a pharmaceutical and analytical chemist. Colonel Simson died in London on 17 November 1925, and is buried at Tilford, near Farnham, Surrey.

With some research, his full record of service and War Diary of the Canadian Divisional Train kept by Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Simson, while under his command, from November 1914 until November 1917 are available online.