Brigadier General Maxwell Byron Simkin, CBE, K.Stj. was born in Kew, Victoria in 1922. Schooled at Melbourne Church of England Grammar, here he joined the cadets. He served in four wars: World War II, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam. He saw active military service in New Guinea, England, Germany, Malaya, Netherlands East Indies, Korea and Vietnam. A life-long pilot starting with Tiger Moths, his love of flying shaped his career.
He was commissioned in 1942 from the Royal Military College, Duntroon and served on operations in the Middle East and South East Asia during World War II with 2/5th Infantry Battalion in Papua New Guinea (New Britain) and Air Liaison Officer with 81st Wing, RAAF in Japan. During 1945 he commanded both 49th and 11th Australian Squadron Air Liaison Sections, and was appointed a staff liaison officer with Headquarters Morotai Force, Netherlands East Indies, in 1946.
He attended the Australian Staff College in 1948 and has served as a parachute instructor, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, The Royal Australian Regiment, and Commander of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion in Malaya, leading operations on the Thailand border, for which he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 1950 he was posted to HMAS Sydney as Liasion Officer, on deployment to the Korean War. Upon return to Australia, he was Commanding Officer of the 1st recruit Training Battalion at Kapooka.
He served in Vietnam as commander of the 1st Logistics Support Group based in Vũng Tàu for which he was elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1968 he was appointed the first Director of the Australian Army Aviation Corps and served in that appointment until October 1969.
He was promoted Brigadier in 1971 and served as Chief of Staff, Northern Command, in Brisbane, until early 1973 when he was appointed Australian Army Representative and Military Attaché in Washington DC where he was recognized as General representing both the USA and Canada. He retired from the Army in July 1976 and became Managing Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) until his retirement in 1991.
He was made Honorary Colonel of the Army Aviation Corps, and Chairman of the St. John Ambulance Association, for which he was appointed Commander, and in 2000, Her Majesty the Queen elevated him as Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St. John.