In Memory of Roy Henry Simkin

Anzac Armistice Pin
Roy Henry Simkin

My grandfather Roy (or “Pap” as our family called him) was born in Caulfield, Victoria on January 23rd, 1898 to Henry Walter Simkin and Priscilla Alice Simkin.

Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif enlistmentLike his father only 5′ 5″ in height, Pap enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces (AI.F.) at age 17 (with his parents consent, lying stating he was 18 year old) on July 5th, 1915 (service number 9142A) in the Melbourne Town Hall at the initial rank of Private in the 1st Field Ambulance.

Pap was gassed by mustard gas in World War I in August 23rd, 1918 near Le Havre, France, medically evacuated to England in hospital for 10 days, refused to be discharged, literally jumped the return ship (SS Somali), and went back to his unit on the front lines in France only to be shot in the right shoulder in September 1918, admitted to a French hospital and returned to Australia on December 13th, 1919 aboard the SS Wahehe troop ship.

Pap Roy Henry Simkin with Ivy on board the Queen MaryPap married Ivy Simkin (nee Clarke) and had 2 sons, Ian Douglas Simkin and Maxwell Byron Simkin (my father)

Pap was also served as a government consultant during World War II.

In his non-military life, Pap was Sales Manager, Assistant General Manager before heading up Dunlop Perdriau Rubber Co, 108 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Australia.

Ivy passed away on August 12, 1962 in Beaumaris, Victoria.

Pap Roy Henry Simkin Gwen oudoorsJust after World War I, Pap was seconded to the British Army in London, and during this time met a nurse, Gwen, who lived in Chalfont St. Peter.  In 1964 on a visit to my parents in the UK, Pap set about tracking her down and eventually found her, after phoning and writing to Canada, South Africa and Australia, and he found she had been living close to him in Melbourne for the previous 20 years. He then cancelled his return voyage by sea, caught the next plane home, and after a short time married Gwen.

Pap passed away on May 4th, 1979 in Richmond, Victoria.

SS Wahehe troop ship 1In 1918 the SS Wahene, formerly known as the German ship Hilda Woormann built in 1914was taken over by the British Ministry of Transport and converted to carry troops and their families and being placed under the management of Shaw Savill Line whose funnel colours she wore. On May 10th,  1919 she sailed from London on her first major voyage carrying Australian troops back home traveling via Capetown to arrive in Melbourne on June 29th now classified as the HMAT Wahehe.

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Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif enlistmentPap Roy Henry Simkin aif serving record Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif medals Roy Henry Simkin Medals Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif enlistment parents permission Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif casualty card front record Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif casualty card back record Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif casualty card front active Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif casualty card back active Pap Roy Henry Simkin aif casualty shot in shoulder Pap Roy Henry Simkin Warrant Officers Sergeants 1st Field Ambulance on board HMAT Wahehe on return voyage to Australia Sep Oct 1919 Pap Roy Henry Simkin with son Max Pap Roy Henry Simkin Ivy Alvie Pap Roy Henry Simkin John Alvie Pap Roy Henry Simkin Family Pap Roy Henry Simkin with Ivy on board the Queen Mary Pap Roy Henry Simkin headshot Pap Roy Henry Simkin canberra Pap Roy Henry Simkin with Ivy Irene children Pap Roy Henry Simkin Gwen oudoors Pap Roy Henry Simkin with son Max in backyard Pap Roy Henry Simkin with Gwen in Beaumaris 1976

The ANZAC Spirit

The landing at Anzac by Charles Dixon 1915 at National War Art Collection Archives New ZealandANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is recognized globally on the anniversary of the landing of troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I at dawn on April 25, 1915. In Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Newfoundland it is known as the Gallipoli Campaign or simply as Gallipoli.

A joint Imperial British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the geographical area that is now Turkey and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with the Russians including the strategically important Dardanelles in the Aegean. Russian troops were fighting on many fronts, particularly against troops from Germany and the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. 70,000 troops were amassed including the ANZAC forces were the first to arrive to fight on new sea fronts

As dawn broke on 25th April 1915, the troops were towed ashore in lifeboats to land at what quickly became known as Anzac Cove, and some way short of the intended landing place. ‘The boats missed their bearing‘ and it proved to be a costly mistake. On the first day alone over 2,000 men lost their lives and little ground was won.

Heavy casualties and bravery of military personnel were experienced on both sides in the 260 days at Gallipoli from April to December 1915. In the battles, many lives were lost on both sides and the Allied forces did not succeed. The last ANZAC forces withdrew from the Gallipoli peninsula by December 20, 1915. The retreat was just about the only successful operation with very few casualties.

ANZAC Badge australia Over 8,000 Australian and 2,721 New Zealand soldiers soldiers died in the Gallipoli campaign alone, and even though the campaign was a military failure, the ANZAC legend was formed. Many saw this as the start of the ANZAC spirit. This is an Australasian ideal based on the “mateship” and cheerful suffering the forces showed during this campaign.
ANZAC Çanakkale Savaşları Badge turkey In Turkey, the campaign is known as the Çanakkale Savaşları, after the province of Çanakkale. In Turkey, the battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people – a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic 8 years later under Ataturk, himself a commander at Galipoli.

Map of the Landing at Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I at dawn on April 25, 1915 by ANZAC's

In spite of losses, the Battle of Gallipoli / Çanakkale Savaşları resonated profoundly among all nations involved.

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