Prior to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the Sims Family ( Parents John & Margaret with two sons Alfred & Percy ), led a peaceful life in the small South West Railway Town of Brunswick Junction. The stability of their rural lifestyle was shattered on 20th October 1915, with the death of the boys Mother, Margaret. It is thought that her death may have been the catalyst for younger son Alfred to enlist for Active Service.
( 1 )- SIMS, Pte. Alfred Christopher Daniel- 5430- 16th Battalion.
Alfred was 21 years of age when he chose to enlist for service, on 2nd December 1915 at the Blackboy Hill Camp W.A. He was posted to the 15th Reinforcements of the 11th Battalion. During his period of training in W.A. older brother Percy also enlisted for service, at the age of 33 years. Alfred was transferred to the 17th Reinforcements of the 11th Battalion, shortly before embarking from Fremantle in mid-April 1916.
After four weeks at sea on troopship ” Aeneas “, he arrived in Alexandria Egypt to begin additional training and await next posting. In mid-June 1916 , Alfred disembarked at Marseilles France, then transferred to the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples. On 19th August 1916, he joined his Battalion in action on the Western Front. His service was interrupted for seven days near the end of September 1916, due to an attack of Influenza, for which he was treated by the Australian Field Ambulance.
Alfred spent almost six months on the Front from early October 1916, until ankle synovitis caused his hospitalization for a few days, in late March 1917. He rejoined his Battalion in the field in France on 2nd April 1917, however was tragically killed in action nine days later at Pozieres. He is buried at the Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-les-Mofflaines France in Plot 11, Row C, Grave No. 10.
( 2 )- SIMS, Pte. Percy Keens -2745 – 48th Battalion.
Percy Sims was working as a Carpenter when he enlisted at Belmont W.A. on 18th March 1916, for active service in the Great War 1914 – 1918. He was posted to the 16th Battalion for initial training, then transferred to the 48th Battalion in early September 1916.
He embarked from Fremantle on the troopship ” Port Melbourne ” on 30th October 1916 and arrived in Devonport England shortly after Christmas. During this period, his younger brother Alfred, was involved in action at the Front. Percy completed ten weeks training at Codford England prior to joining the 48th Battalion in the field in France from early April 1917. Sadly, Percy then lost his younger brother Alfred, who was killed within a few days of his arrival at the Front.
On 9th July 1917, Percy was evacuated and admitted to the Royal Victorian Hospital at Netley in England, suffering from Trench Fever. After four weeks of treatment and recovery, he was granted Leave in England. Post Leave, he was posted to the Training Depot at Perham Downs, then to the Signal Training Depot at Parkhouse.
On 1st November 1917 he rejoined the 48th Battalion in the field in France from the 4th Australian Division Base Depot in Havre. Percy suffered a Shell Wound to an ear in early April 1918, requiring immediate hospitilization at Arques France, followed by a two month period of recovery and convalescence.
Percy once more rejoined the 48th Battalion at the Front on 18th June 1918. Excactly three months later on 18th September 1918, he received a gunshot wound to the right arm. After initial treatment at the 6th General Hospital Rouen France, he was evacuated to the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Cheltenham England. After five weeks in Hospital, he was granted fourteen days Leave, before being posted to the Command Depot at Sutton Veny.
Percy embarked from England on the troopship ” Orsova ” on 8th January 1919, arriving at Fremantle six weeks later. He was discharged from Service as medically unfit on 17th May 1919.
9/10/1918- Father John Keens SIMS, wrote a letter to the Army, enquiring the whereabouts of the personal effects of his son, Alfred Christopher Daniel SIMS.
2/10/1921- Date of Death- John Keens SIMS.
22/03/1922- Letter from Percy Keens SIMS to the Army, confirming father’s Death- ” I must inform you that Mr. J.K. SIMS passed away on Nov. 22nd 1921 and I am the oldest and only son. I received the memorial scroll for which I enclose the receipt and if there is any other business for the Late J.K. SIMS please address them to me “.
19/09/1922- Letter from Percy Keens SIMS to the Army , confirming date of Mother’s Death. ” In reply to your letter of the 11th inst. re. the mother of the late 5430, Private A.C.D. SIMS I must inform you that I replied to your letter of the 31st March , also this will be the third time that I have given you this information, that Mrs. SIMS died on the 20th October 1915. Hoping that you will receive this letter this time “.
12/11/1922- Copy of receipt signed by Percy Keens SIMS, acknowledging receipt of Memorial Plaque issued in honour of Alfred Christopher Daniel SIMS.