Wednesday, 28 August 2013

John McKeen Simms 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Remembering 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

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