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John Simson, Lieutenant Australian Artillery

​John Simson came to Jesus College in October 1910 from Geelong Grammar School, Victoria

Born: Melbourne, Australia on 13 June 1891

Fell in action: 31 July 1917

Whilst at Cambridge he does not appear to have taken any exams, other than the entrance exams in June 1910 but he was active for two years in the Boat Club. He was thought to be good enough to go straight into the first boat for the Lent races in 1911 and rowed at number 4, Chanticlere commented, “he rows a good blade, but must learn to be less stiff, and to row more naturally” (Lent Term 1911, p42).

He continued to row for the next two years, including as part of the Jesus Thames Cup crew Henley Royal Regatta, but was hampered by a couple of illnesses, including blood poisoning just before the coxswainless fours in Michaelmas term 1911. He later rowed in the first boat at the May Races 1911.

He also joined the University Boxing Club and his “success in the Novices Boxing” is noted in Chanticlere (Michaelmas Term 1911, p40).

He appears to have left College after two years and we do not know what he did between his departure and the beginning of the War. At one stage the College believed him to have been killed at Gallipoli, underlining the chaotic nature of news coming through from the Fronts.

However, he survived and by 1917 had served in Egypt, Gallipoli and France where he fell in action on 31 July 1917. His Commanding Officer wrote, “He was one of the finest officers I have ever seen, and everyone, officers and men, loved him. He faced his end as he lived – smiling and without fear” (Jesus College Cambridge Society Annual Report 1919, p31).

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