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10/3737 Private Arthur Frederick Sims M.M.  – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Arthur Frederick Sims was born in Napier on 12th June 1893 the son of Rosanna (nee Alpin) and Robert Sims[i].

On 19th October 1915 Arthur Frederick Sims attested into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).[ii] Arthur is
listed as a 22 year old single man working as a farm labourer on the sheep farm of James Edwin, Waitara, Taranaki.
Arthur’s military papers note his next of kin as his half sister Mrs Boyce and his brother Frederick Sims, Napier.

10/3737 Private Arthur Frederick Sims entered Trentham military camp as part of B Company, 9th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry and following basic training sailed for Egypt on 8th  January 1916. Landing in Egypt on 12th February 1916 Private Sims was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Wellington Infantry. The NZEF was undergoing reinforcement,
retraining and re-equipment prior to moving the France and the Western Front.

Private Sims was involved in the major actions on the Somme in 1916 and at Messines in 1917. In October 1917 the
New Zealand Division was committed to the Battle of Passchendaele. On the 12th October 1917 the first assault were launched over boggy ground, under intense machinegun fire and harassed by artillery fire the troops stalled at the
uncut German wire in front of their objectives. On the
12th October 1917 New Zealand suffered its worst
military defeat with 845 men killed and 1900 wounded.  
The 2nd Wellington Battalion as part of the 1st Infantry
Brigade took part in the assault and during the action
Private Sims was one of the Battalion runners.[iii]  
Private Sims was awarded the Military Medal (M.M.)
the citation on his military records simply notes:

Awarded the Military Medal for acts of gallantry in the
field (dated 15 – 10 – 17)

NZEF Disptach runner on the Western Front 

The 2nd Wellington Battalion along with other
New Zealand units were relieved by Canadian troops
on the 18th October 1917 they stayed in the line until
the 28th October 1917 and then moved back to the rear
for rest.  

On 8th March 1918 Private Sims was granted leave to the United Kingdom returning to his unit on the 25th March 1918. The German army had launched its Spring Offensive on 21st March 1917 and the NZ Division was rushed from reserve
to plug a serious gap in the Somme sector.  The impact of two years continuous service began to take its toll and
Private Sims was admitted to the NZ Field Ambulance of the 20th April 1918 and taken to the 56th Casualty Clearing
Station (CCS) for assessment and then was sent to the Australian Stationary Hospital at Rouen on the 22nd April 1918. Private Sim’s medical file simply note  - PUO  ‘Pyrexia (fever) of unknown origin.’  On 6th May 1918 Private Sims was admitted to the No2 General Hospital where he remained for a week before bing discharged on the 13th June 1918 to
the No4 Convalescent Hospital at Le Havre, France.

On 26th June 1918 Private Sims was considered fit enough to be sent back to service at the NZ Command at Estaples.
On 1st August 1918 Private Sims was posted to the No1 NZ Entrenching Battalion remaining with the unit until
31st August 1918 when he was posted back to a combat unit 9th (Wellington East Coast) Company, 1st Battalion,
Wellington Infantry Regiment. Private Sims was one of two hundred and fifty reinforcement allocated to the
1st Battalion making up losses occurred during the Battle of Baupame. The Battalion was in combat through to
14th September 1918 when it was relieved and sent to the rear. During this rest time Private Sims was posted to the
9th Company, 2nd Battalion, Wellington Infantry.

On 26th September 1918 both the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Wellington Infantry were prepared to move up to the Neuville Sector of the Front. Private Sims however was admitted again to hospital via the No2 NZ Field Ambulance and 56th CCS
on the 1st October 1919 to the No 22 General Hospital at Camiers., France and following evaluation was evacuated to England. Admitted to the No2 NZ General Hospital,  Walton Private Sim’s file list PUO and influenza.

Private Sim was transferred to the No 1 NZ General Hospital, Hornchurch with Myalgia on 16th November 1918. The Armistice had been signed on the 11th November 1918 so following treatment Private Sims was sent on 19th December 1918 to Codford Military Depot to await repatriation to New Zealand.  On 8th January 1919 Private Sims was embarked
on the SS Matatua for New Zealand.

Private Sims arrive in New Zealand on 22nd February 1919 was granted a month’s leave being discharged from the NZEF
on 21st March 1919 ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’ his address is listed as c/- Gray Plimmerton, Wellington.

On the 2nd August 1919  Arthur Sims was, along with other returning soldiers given a Pauatahanui reception reported in the Evening Post:

                         Eight residents of the Pahautanui district who saw service in the war –
                         Gunner F. Attwood, Trooper J. Barber, Private E. Draper, Gunner A. Greig, Private H Harris,
                         Private N. Olsen, Private A. Sims (M.M.), and Fitter A. Trevor – were the guests at a “social”
                         held at Pahautanui last night. During the evening, Mr. R. A. Wright, M.P. for Wellington Suburbs,
                         on behalf of those present, handed to each man a gold albert chain and maltese cross suitable
                         inscribed. Mr. W. H. Field, M.P. for Otaki rReplied, on behalf of the soldiers, and the rest of the
                         evening was spent in dancing, music provided by Mr. E. J. King and Mr. W. C. Tanner.  

Arthur was offered employment by James Gray a farmer in the Plimmerton area as a Mr A F Sims offered a section for sale in Motuhara, Plimmerton on 30th July 1920.[iv]

On 16th August 1920 Arthur Frederick Sims married Florence Ethel Hills[v] it is possible that Arthur had meet Florence in England and she had followed him to New Zealand. The couple moved to a house on Motukaraka Point, Pauatahanui later in 1927 to the Taylor Stace Cottage in Pautahanui village[vi]. The couple had seven sons and one daughter all attended the Pauatahanui School[vii].

Florence died in 1971 and is buried in St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui with her youngest son.

Arthur Frederick Sims retired to the Levin War Veterans home where he died in 1974 he is buried in the Returned Services section of the Levin Cemetery.

Arthur Sims (Military Medal) is commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour in St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui.

References
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/3737
Pauatahanui – a local history

Photos
NZ Dispatch runner: RSA Collection 

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/3737 Private Arthur Frederick Sims
[iii] Sims family: Pauatahanui - a local history
[iv] Wanted to Sell, 30th July 1920, Evening Post
[v] NZ BDM
[vi] Pauatahanui – a local history
[vii] Pauatahanui School : 1873 – 2005
New Zealand dispatch runner on the Western Front