Sergeant Francis James Simpson


This North Irish Horseman was probably the Francis James Weston Simpson born in 1881 in Saint John, Kempston, Bedford, a child of Frederick George Simpson and his wife Harriett. It appears that he later moved to Ireland. During the Boer War he served in the 61st (South Irish Horse (Dublin)) Company, part of the 17th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry (No.33583).

By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 10 Jameson Street, Belfast, with his aunt and uncle Barbara and Samuel Gregg, and working as a clerk. On 30 July 1913 he married Margaret Smyth in the Agnes Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast. The couple lived at 75 Cavehill Road, having two children over the next six years.

Simpson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 31 May and 1 June 1915 (No.1647 – later Corps of Hussars No.71484). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron came together with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. It then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Simpson remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 23 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Simpson returned to his family at Cavehill Road and resumed worked as a clerk. His wife Margaret died in 24 April 1926. By 1953 he was living at 82 Fane Street, Belfast. He died there on 25 July and was buried in the Dundonald Cemetery.