Private William Brian Simonton



William Brian Simonton was born on 20 October 1897 at Ballycloughan, Belfast, the last of three children of tea merchant (later packing case manufacturer) William Davidson Simonton and his American-born wife Jenny (nee Mason). Educated at the Municipal Technical Institute, by the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and siblings at 'Sheelah', Malone Park, Belfast.

Simonton enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 16 and 18 November 1915 (No.1906). He embarked for France in July 1916, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

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. Simonton, like most, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41389. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

During 1918 he was posted to the 5/6 Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

In September 1923 Simonton left the UK for Australia. There he served in the Victoria Police Force and later worked as a clerk. He died at Malvern, Victoria, on 30 September 1967.


Simonton's brother Mason also served in the war, in the 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He was killed in action on 20 July 1916 during the fight for High Wood during the Battle of the Somme.


Image sourced from The Belfast Metropolitan College.