Norman Thomas SIMMONS

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SIMMONS, Norman Thomas

Service Number: 4899
Enlisted: 14 October 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 59th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kyneton, Victoria, 28 April 1894
Home Town: Mildura, Mildura Shire, Victoria
Schooling: Mildura State School
Occupation: Grocer
Died: Killed in Action, Fleurbaix, France, 19 July 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: VC Corner Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles, France
Memorial Panel No 17
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mildura Cenotaph, Mildura Primary School War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

14 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4899, Melbourne, Victoria
7 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4899, 7th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
7 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4899, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wiltshire, Melbourne
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4899, 59th Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)

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Biography contributed by Peter Sunners

Norman Thomas Simmons was born in Kyneton,Victoria in 1895.  He was one of eight children born to Thomas Henry ("Doc") Simmons and Margaret King.

Thomas Henry (Doc) Simmons arrived in Australia in 1882 aboard the sailing ship, True Briton after a journey of seventeen weeks.  He had in his charge for the journey six draught horses, a much sought after animal in the colony at that time.  They were sold after his arrival and he moved to Kyneton, Victoria where he opened a livery stable.

Margaret King came to Australia with her family in 1868 on the ship White Star.  She was one of five children and this family also settled in Kyneton,Victoria.  Thomas and Margaret were married in Kyneton in 1883.

By 1901 Thomas’ livery business was not performing well because of – “Inability to collect outstanding accounts in his late business as livery-stable proprietor, sickness in the family, and dulness of trade.” (The Argus, Melbourne,Tuesday 30 July 1901)

In 1904 the family moved to Mildura, Victoria where Thomas opened a vet business and became one of the settlement's most popular and familiar figures and an authority on horse breeding in North-western, Victoria.

Norman was educated at Mildura State School and on leaving he became a grocer working for a Mr. Frazer before enlisting in the Army in October 1915.  He was twenty years old.

His unit, the 59th Battalion embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 7 March 1916 bound for the Western Front.

On 19 July 1916 they were part of the Battle of Fromelles and Norman became listed as Missing In Action and following a Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 29 August 1917, he was pronounced as 'Killed in Action, 19 July 1916'.

His family were devastated and his mother wrote numerous letters to the Red Cross hoping that he was a Prisoner of War and would be found.  They also included letters to him and parcels for him.

Following the battle the Germans buried the dead in mass graves and in 2008 and subsequent years many were found and exhumed to try and identify them for individual burial.

Norman Thomas Simmons has not been identified to date.

He is remembered on the headstone of his mother’s grave in Kyneton Cemetery, Victoria.

In loving memory of

LIONEL JOHN SIMMONS

Died 6th. FEB 1901

Aged 2 years

Also

NORMAN THOMAS SIMMONS

Killed in France

19th. JULY 1916.  Aged 21 years

Also MARGARET

Wife of T.H.SIMMONS

Died 6th. FEB 1920

Aged 57 years

Also JANE KING sister of above

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