Private Henry Simms



Henry Simms was born on 11 January 1898 at Bryantang, County Antrim, the fifth of nine children of labourer William Simms and his wife Elizabeth (nee Hamilton). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Carrickfergus with his parents, eight siblings and a niece. He later lived at 11 Beechnut Street, Old Park Road, Belfast.

Simms enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 30 July and 21 August 1916 (No.2233). He embarked for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Simms was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41246 – and was posted to D Company. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Simms was one of the many listed as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin to near Amiens from 21 to 28 March 1918. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March, probably at Erches.

Simms remained a prisoner until the end of the war. In November he was being held at a camp in Friedrichsfeld. He was released soon after the Armistice and on 27 November arrived in England. He was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, soon after.


Image from the Belfast Evening Telegraph kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (