today: Fusilier John McKeen Simms - 10437 - 2nd Battalion Royal
Inniskilling Fusiliers. Born in Carrickfergus in 1896, killed in
Action 26th August 1914 aged 18.
On this date in 1914 the
2nd Battalion was heavily involved in the first day of the Battle of Le
Cateau. For long hours during the morning of the 26th August, the
British, notably the field artillery, held overwhelming numbers of the
enemy at bay and inflicted severe loss. Miraculously, the Corps
disengaged and withdrew towards the south during the afternoon.
Smith-Dorrien's decision to turn II Corps around from retreat and to
stand against the German advance at Le Cateau paid off handsomely.
John Simms was killed during this fighting and became the first man
from Carrickfergus to be killed in action on land, air or sea - less
than 1 month after the outbreak of the war. He was a pre-war regular and among some of the first members of the BEF to be involved in fighting in 1914.
Prior to the war John was living in Victoria Road in East Belfast, his name appears on the Strandtown War Memorial on Belmont Road.
He is buried in Esnes Communal Cemetery, Nord, France. Grave reference: I (pictured)
|Esnes Communal Cemetery|