|Date of Birth||September 21, 1892|
|Place of Birth||Oldham, Lancashire|
|Next of Kin||Richard Simister (father), Canuck, Saskatchewan (later Webb, Saskatchewan)|
|Trade / Calling||Well driller|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Regimental Number||782003 and 261101|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Swift Current, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Webb, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||January 27, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 13, 1958|
|Age at Death||65|
|Buried At||Regina Cemetery (Military Old Cemetery, Regina, Saskatchewan|
Private Edward Simister enlisted in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and served overseas for a year and a half. He suffered from illness for much of that time and he was invalided back to Canada in March 1918. His British war bride joined him four months later.
Edward was the oldest son of Richard Simister and his first wife Esther Ann Nield. Richard and Esther were both born in Lancashire, England and they were married in Oldham, Lancashire in 1890. They had two sons, Edward (born 21 September 1892 in Oldham) and Arthur (b.1894). Edward’s family immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1903, when he was ten years old. They arrived in Montreal from Liverpool on 10 May on the SS Ionian. Richard was listed as a farmer and their destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba. When the 1906 census was taken the family was living in Medicine Hat, Alberta but sometime after that they moved to Saskatchewan.
Edward and his father both enlisted in 1916. Edward signed up twice, the first time on 27 January 1916 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan (reg. no. 782003). He gave his occupation as well driller and his address as Webb, Saskatchewan, a small village southwest of Swift Current. Next of kin was his father Richard Simister in Canuck, Saskatchewan. Edward joined the 128th (Moose Jaw) Battalion. He had two weeks leave in February and he was discharged as medically unfit on 15 March. A short time later he enlisted a second time, signing up in Swift Current on 31 March with the 212th Battalion (reg. no. 261101). His father enlisted in May, also in Swift Current, and he was discharged as medically unfit before leaving Canada.
Edward trained with his unit over the summer and on 15 September he was transferred to the 97th Battalion. The battalion embarked from Halifax on 18 September on the SS Olympic, arriving in Liverpool a week later. On 1 January 1917 Edward was posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion and six weeks later he was drafted to a front line unit, the 38th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field in late February. The Canadians were at the Vimy front that winter and by March they were preparing for the upcoming assault on Vimy Ridge, which would start on 9 April. Edward became ill not long after arriving and he reported sick on 31 March. A week later he was admitted to No. 18 General Hospital in Camiers and he was evacuated from there to England. He was sent to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester and diagnosed with an infection in both legs as well as abdominal problems.
On 27 April Edward was transferred to Alexandra Park Hospital in Stockport, where he had an appendectomy. He spent all of May and June recovering and in July he was sent to the convalescent centre in Epsom. He was discharged to active duty in late July and assigned to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot. He continued to have abdominal problems and between September 1917 and January 1918 he spent several weeks in the military hospital at Purfleet. During that time he got permission to marry and he was married in late 1917 to 21-year-old Jessie Hulme. Jessie was the only daughter of James and Sarah Hulme and they were married in her home town of Stockport. Edward had a medical exam early in 1918 and he was diagnosed with chronic gastritis and classified as suitable for sedentary work only. He returned to Canada that spring on the SS Canada, sailing from Liverpool and arriving in Halifax on 16 March. Another medical in Regina found him unfit for service and not likely to become fit for at least six months.
Edward was transferred to the Casualty Unit in District 12 (Regina) and he received treatment at St. Chad’s Military Convalescent Hospital. His wife joined him in Canada that summer, arriving on the SS Olympic on 4 July, listed as going to her husband in Regina. In November Edward was assigned to the 12th Garrison Regiment and on 14 January 1919 he was discharged from service. Edward and his wife settled in Regina and when the 1921 census was taken his father Richard was living with them, listed as married. At some point Richard was widowed and he moved to Kenora, Ontario, where he married his second wife Ida Florence Sutcliffe (née White) in 1926.
Edward and Jessie had five children: James Arthur (1919), George Edward, Hedley Peter (1924), Irene and Evelyn. By the 1930s they were living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sadly, Jessie passed away in Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital in February 1939, at age 43, and she’s buried in Brookside Cemetery. Edward spent some time in Kenora, where his father lived, and he joined the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion. His sons George and Peter both served with the Canadian Forces in the Second World War.
Edward was retired by 1945 and by the early 1950s he was living in Jameson, Saskatchewan with his second wife Kathleen. He passed away on 13 March 1958, at age 65, and he’s buried in Regina Cemetery (Military Old Cemetery) in Regina. His father had died in 1942 and he’s interred in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project.