Pte 38270, DCM, West Yorkshire Regiment, Prince of Wales’ Own. 17th Battalion, 2nd Leeds Pals.

1893: Ernest Simpson was born to Walter Simpson and Sarah Elizabeth Mirfield. He had four siblings, an elder brother named Leonard and three younger siblings; Evelyn (8), Frank (17) and Florence (16). In 1911, they are listed as living in Bramley at no. 2 Warrel’s Avenue in Leeds.

Before the war, he worked as a labourer in a boot shop. (Source: 1911 Census)

1916: It is possible that Ernest enlisted as late as this date, though it is not known precisely when he did enlist.

However, just one year later in October 1917, he was wounded and sent to the General Hospital at Etaples. From here at the end of October, he was sent onward to the Convalescent Department at Trouville. (Source: List of sick and wounded NCOs and men of the BEF – France)

19th July 1918: Pte. Ernest Simpson was killed in action, perhaps at the fighting in Méteren.

He is buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery in Bailleul. (CWGC)

He was officially awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for ‘gallantry in the field in the face of the enemy.’ He never saw his DCM citation, published in October of 1918 which reads thus:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While Pte. Simpson was engaged in cutting a gap in the enemy wire, which was checking the progress of his section in our advance, he was attacked by an enemy officer, who fired at him at point blank range. Pte. Simpson was untouched, desisted from his task and killed his assailant, and then resumed his work of cutting the wire, eventually making a way for his section to advance. Subsequently when the enemy threw several stick grenades at his section, with rare promptitude and courage he picked up the grenades before they exploded and threw them back, doubtless saving many casualties. During the whole operation, his conduct was distinguished by fine courage and disregard for danger. (30.10.1918)

Alongside his DCM, Ernest was also awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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