A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private John Simmons
Born: 1895 Traralgon. Died: Not known.
Enlisted: 12 July 1915 aged 20.
Served: Egypt and Western Front.
John was working as a farm labourer with Charles Smale of “Green Hills” Pakenham when he enlisted, initially sent to Egypt, but was later transferred to the Western Front. There, in July 1916, he was “knocked down by a shell” and suffered concussion. This explosion aggravated a pre-existing hearing problem, which John suffered from since he was a boy. John was deemed to be “very deaf in both ears” and recommended for permanent discharge. He returned to Pakenham and worked with John Joseph Mullane. He rode on horseback with five other returned soldiers in the Pakenham Armistice Day parade. John bought a 20 acre farm at Pakenham owned by Jack Clements and sought £100 assistance from the Repatriation Scheme to purchase a horse, dray, plough and harness. John had references from the Berwick Shire Clerk James Ahern, who described him as a “decent lad” and Constable Stephen Maher, who felt John would succeed in the undertaking. He was granted £50 assistance, and later allowed to use it to help pay off the land instead. In December 1920, he sold his property to HT Sheppard of Pakenham.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com