Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 20, 1889
Place of BirthWingham, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRachel Simmons, mother, 347 10th Street, Brandon, Manitoba
Trade / CallingElectrician
ReligionSalvation Army
Service Details
Regimental Number425316
Service Record
Battalion28th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBrandon, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 1, 1915
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 28, 1952
Age at Death63
Buried AtFort Frances Cemetery, Fort Frances, Ontario
PlotBlock 66 Lot V034

Simmons, Harper Crawford William

Harper Crawford William Simmons was born on 20 January 1889 in Wingham, Ontario. According to their marriage record his father Archibald Erastus Simmons was from London, Ontario while his mother Rachel Ellen Rankin was from Listowel, Ontario, elsewhere given as Gowanstown. The couple were living in St Thomas, Ontario when they married there on 10 June 1884. Shortly after the marriage they moved to Wingham where Archibald Sr worked as a printer. Children born to the family were Ernest Edward (1886), Eva Caroline Isabella (1887), Harper, William (1891-1891), William John (1892), Archibald Erastus (Archie) (1894), Alice Maud (1897), Richard Robert (1899-1899), Isabelle Winnifred (1902), Gertrude May (1906), and Margaret Emma (1908). At the time of the 1901 census the family was living in London, Ontario but they returned to Wingham where Archibald Sr died of typhoid fever in 1908. By the 1911 census for Wingham, Harper was a student at a drug training school. It appears that a short time later most of the family moved to Brandon, Manitoba.

Harper enlisted with the 45th Battalion in Brandon on 1 April 1915. His occupation was given as electrician and his mother Rachel in Brandon as next of kin. Previous military service was listed as six years with the 33rd Battalion. As a Private with the battalion and along with his brother Archie who had enlisted a few days before Harper, the two fellows arrived in England aboard the Lapland on 25 March 1916. Once there they were transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion. In early May Harper was fined one day pay and confined to barracks for ten days for being absent from parade. In January of 1917 he was struck off strength to the Canadian Field Artillery, proceeding overseas that April as reserve to the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Company. Before leaving for France he married Amy Mire Fuggle on 3 April in the registration district of Hackney, Middlesex. Born in 1898 in Folkstone, Kent, Amy was the daughter of Louis Octavia Fuggle and Emily Mary Hoile.

Once in France Harper, posted to the 36th Battery, CFA, requested a transfer to the 28th Battalion as his brother William was serving with it. Request granted he was posted to the 28th Battalion on 6 July 1917, joining the unit in the field on the 20th. The 28th Battalion originally recruited in Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Fort William and Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario and was mobilized at Winnipeg, Manitoba. It arrived in France in September of 1915 where it fought as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. Battle honours included Mount Sorrell, Somme 1916, 1918, Flers-Courcelette, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Arras, 1917, ’18, Vimy, 1917, Scarpe, 1917, ’18, Hill 70, Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Drocourt-Quéant, Canal du Nord, Cambrai, 1918, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1915-18. Harper was awarded a Good Conduct Badge in April of 1917 and was granted three fourteen day leaves to the UK during his service, one in mid January and then in late December of 1918 as well as in March of 1919. Remaining in England after his leave, he was reunited with his wife and son Harper Ernest (Ernie) who had been born during the last quarter of 1917. Harper arrived in Halifax on 18 July and was discharged from service the same day, rank of Sergeant. His intended residence was given as Brandon. Amy and Ernie arrived in Halifax the next day on the Cedric.

Harper’s brother William enlisted in January of 1915 in Winnipeg and served for the duration of the war with the 28th Battalion. He returned to Canada in May of 1919. His brother Archie was transferred from the 11th Reserve Battalion to the Canadian General Base Depot in France to serve as a bandsman. He returned to Canada in July of 1919 with his war bride and small son.

The 1921 census found Harper and Amy living in Brandon where he was working as a bookkeeper. Children born in Brandon were Emily (1921) and Joyce (1923). By the mid 1920’s they had moved to Fort Frances, Ontario where they gave birth to Frederick Arthur (1926), Margaret (1927), and Grace. The family lived in Kenora for a while as in 1935 Harper joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. Voter’s lists for Fort Frances gave Harper’s occupation as musician or bandmaster.

Harper died on 28 April 1952. He was predeceased by his father, his mother Rachel in 1957 in Calgary, and siblings Ernest 1912 in Wingham and the two brothers in infancy. He was survived by his wife Amy and children, and sisters Eva (Percy) Brown of Brandon (d 1971), Alice (William) Campbell of Winnipeg (d 1984), Gertrude (William) Good (d 1981), Grace (Robert) Dennison (d 1991), Isobelle (John) Manning (d 1982), and Margaret (Robert) Way (d 1996), all of Calgary, and his brothers William of Los Angeles (d 1962) and Archie of Kenora (d 1976). Harper is interred in a military plot in the Fort Frances Cemetery. His wife Amy later married David Dueck and died on 3 May 1997. She is interred with David in the Riverview Cemetery in Fort Frances.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photograph provided by Fort Frances Cemetery staff.

« Back To Soldier Biographies