Private William Simms

Between 2006 and 2007, eight sets of skeletal remains were discovered near Hallu, France. One set of remains were identified as those of Private William Simms.

William Simms was born in 1894 in Russell, Manitoba.

Prior to enlistment with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), Simms made his living as a farmer and was unmarried. In January 1916 he enlisted in the 78th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers), CEF in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In May of that year, Simms arrived in England and in August he disembarked in France where he served with the 78th Battalion until his death on 11 August 1918 in Hallu, France. Thirty-five soldiers of the 78th Battalion were presumed to have been killed in action at Hallu. Following the war, Private Simms’s name was engraved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial commemorating Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War and have no known grave.

In 2006, three sets of remains were discovered on private property in Hallu, France. Five more sets or remains were discovered the following year. Private Simms’s identification tag was found among the remains of the five soldiers found in 2007. The eight sets of discovered remains were analysed using anthropological methods, genetic testing, and isotope analysis and compared to the profiles of the 35 candidates. The Casualty Identification Program was able to confirm one set of remains as those of Private William Simms.

The interment of Private Simms took place on 13 May 2015 at the Caix British Cemetery, in Caix, France. Members of Private Simms’s family, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, attended the ceremony.

For further information on Private William Simms, you can view his personnel file on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Information about casualty identification

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