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Mervin Cecil Simmons


22 September 1914: Simmons, Mervin Cecil Simmons, Trail, British Columbia, formerly of Buchanan, Saskatchewan, born at Verschoyle, Oxford Co., Ontario. Occupation: Carpenter. Military Service: Private, Reg. No. 23445, probably in the 12th Battalion, transferred to the 7th Battalion, Attestation Papers.

Additional Biographical Information

Simmons was a prisoner-of-war, who managed to escape from a German prison camp and cross the border into neutral Holland. For information on his prison experience and the impact it had on his thinking about humanity in general and the enemy in particular, see Three Times and Out Told by Private Simmons written by Nellie L. McClung (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Press, the Riverside Press Cambridge 1918).

24 April 1915: For details on the 2nd Battle of Ypres in which Pte. Simmons and at least nineteen other men of the 7th Battalion were captured, see the War Diary of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion, April 1915.

24 April 1915: Two other men captured at the same time as Simmons were 23419 Montague Frank Mudge and 23415 Dolfo Melloci, both originally with the 12th Battalion before their transfer to the 7th Infantry Battalion. Their commanding officer, Captain Thomas Venables Scudamore, A Company, 7th Infantry Battalion, was also captured.

Discussion: Read the review of Three Times and Out, or the entire contents of the book online. Consider the purpose behind this book. What was McClung’s motivation in writing it? How might that have affected the way she told Simmons’ story? Why would it be useful to compare Simmons’ story, as told by Nellie McClung, and the diary he kept during the war?