Salisbury Hamilton Simpson

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Captain (retired) Salisbury Hamilton Simpson, D.S.O. (24 September, 1884 – January, 1951) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Born in Kurachee, India, the son of a retired Lieutenant Colonel R. J. Simpson.

Simpson was appointed in command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 50 on 28 August, 1906.[1]

Simpson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 April, 1907. 10 days later, he married Cecilia Lelliott in Plymouth.[2]

He was appointed in command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 042 on 15 May, 1909.[3]

In April, 1912, Simpson was appointed in command of the destroyer Peterel.

When the War came, he was in the armoured cruiser Argyll, having been appointed there on 17 March, 1914.

Great War

Still in Argyll, Simpson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 April, 1915. He left the cruiser when appointed on 7 October, 1915, to take command sweeping sloop Jessamine when she was first commissioned.[4]

Simpson was appointed to H.M.S. Westphalia, a Q-ship, on 19 March, 1917, to assume command upon her commissioning. Simpson was credited with sinking a U-boat by gunfire on 13 July, 1917 and was awarded a D.S.O. for it, gazetted and invested by the King on 29 August, 1917. He was also credited with possibly slightly damaging a submarine by gunfire on 20 August.[5] Though I am unable to find a plausible match for the Uboat reported sunk on Uboat.net,[6] another online source contains details apparently from the ship's log.[7]

13 July 1917 when the Cullist was operating between the French and Irish coasts. An enemy submarine was sighted on the surface at 11,000 yards range, from which distance it began shelling the Q-Ship. After firing 38 rounds without recording a hit, the enemy was enticed by Simpson’s tactics to close the range to 5,000 yards, and fired a further 30 rounds, some of which straddled their target. At 1407 hours Cullist returned fire, her gunners getting the range after their second salvo was fired and numerous hits were recorded on the enemy’s conning tower, gun and deck. Then an explosion was seen followed by bright red flames, and three minutes after engaging the submarine it was seen to go down by the bows leaving oil and debris on the surface - the latter included ‘a corpse dressed in blue dungarees, floating face upwards.'

Simpson received a bar to his D.S.O for action against a submarine on 28 September, 1917 in which it was thought that 8 of 13 rounds fired struck the enemy,[7] this award being gazetted on 22 February, 1918. It was further noted that "his ship being cooly and ably worked, and showed that excellent discipline and organization prevail" in yet another action on 17 November, 1917 where an enemy submarine escaped after receiving an estimated 8 hits of 14 rounds fired at her.[8]

Simpson's good fortune would run out, as the heyday of Q-ship tactics was already past. Renamed Cullist, his command was lost to U 97 on 11 February, 1918 in the Irish Sea. Five officers, twenty-seven ratings, two R.M.L.I., and nine Mercantile Marine Reservists were lost.[9] Simpson survived with a badly dislocated shoulder. He would become an Auxiliary Patrol officer at Plymouth with some shore-based duty spelled out as "P.M.S.O.", but he was spending much time convalescing, spending 82 days of full pay sick leave on the books of Victory that had to be extended another month before he was finally surveyed as fit "for shore duty only, preferably in neighbourhood of London to to enable him to continue the necessary treatment."[10]

On 17 May, 1918, Simpson was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the President of the French Republique.[11]

Post-War

Simpson was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1919. He married Maimie (?) Donovan at the Registry Office in Saint Martin's, London on 23 January, 1920.[12]

Simpson was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy to take up command of H.M.A.S. Anzac. The tenure in command may have been brief, but his service on the books of Australia continued to mid April 1923, when he returned to England and Royal Naval service.[13]

He spent a year in command of destroyers in Reserve, being borne in Hecla from 29 August, 1923. On 26 December, 1924, he was appointed to the shallow draught steamer Widgeon, in service on the Yangtze, to take command vice Montague Legge in January 1925. His services in the roiled waters of the Yangtze prompted the Admiralty to thank him in 1926 for "his good service in difficult situations during the disturbances in China."[14]

On 5 July, 1927, he was appointed to Columbine for command of a reserve group of destroyers, but after just three months he was appointed to the Admiralty for just ten days duty in the Naval Intelligence Division.[15]

18 October 1927 saw him supersede Cecil Crocker in command of Emergency destroyers. He left this posting when he was appointed in command of the light cruiser Cambrian on 10 December, 1929, being superseded there on 11 June, 1930.[16]

Retirement

Simpson was placed on the Retired List at his own request with the rank of Captain on 16 December, 1930.[17]

He was called back for service in World War II, serving as Divisional Sea Transport Officer, Plymouth from 4 September, 1939 and as D.S.T.O., Plymouth from 14 April, 1941, and then from Glasgow for the latter half of 1945.[18]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Harold R. Priston
Captain of H.M. T.B. 27
13 Aug, 1906[19] – 28 Aug, 1906[20]
Succeeded by
Arthur G. Harrington
Preceded by
Arthur G. Harrington
Captain of H.M. T.B. 50
28 Aug, 1906[21]c. Mar, 1907
Succeeded by
Herbert A. Forster
as Captain of H.M.T.B. 050
Preceded by
Clive N. Rolfe
Captain of H.M. T.B. 042
15 May, 1909[22] – 26 May, 1910[Inference]
Succeeded by
Henry P. Boxer
Preceded by
Alfred G. Peace
Captain of H.M. T.B. 108
26 May, 1910[23] – 3 Apr, 1911[Inference]
Succeeded by
James R. C. Cavendish
Preceded by
Clarence W. E. Trelawny
Captain of H.M.S. Peterel
Mar, 1912[24] – 17 Mar, 1914[25]
Succeeded by
George F. Hole
Preceded by
Sidney C. Cox
Captain of H.M.S. Opossum
26 Mar, 1913[26] – Mar, 1913[27]
Succeeded by
Alfred Reep
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. Jessamine
7 Oct, 1915[28] – 19 Mar, 1917[29]
Succeeded by
Sidney A. Geary Hill
Preceded by
William J. Whitworth
Captain of H.M.A.S. Anzac
22 Sep, 1919[30]
Succeeded by
Alan F. W. Howard
Preceded by
Russell A. Bell-Syer
Captain of H.M.S. Widgeon
26 Dec, 1924[31]
Succeeded by
Leon S. Acheson
Preceded by
?
Senior Naval Officer, Upper Yangtse
26 Dec, 1924[32]
Succeeded by
Paul F. P. Berryman
Preceded by
Ivan W. Whitehorn
Captain of H.M.S. Cockchafer
Aug, 1925[33] – 28 Nov, 1926[34]
Succeeded by
Leon S. Acheson
Preceded by
Richard H. O. Lane-Poole
Captain of H.M.S. Cambrian
10 Dec, 1929[35] – 11 Jun, 1930[36]
Succeeded by
John G. Bower

Footnotes

  1. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 400.
  2. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  3. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 401.
  4. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  5. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  6. List of lost U-boats on UBoat.net.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Royal Fleet Auxiliary Historical Society.
  8. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  9. Kindell. Royal Navy Roll of Honour Part 2. pp. 461-2.
  10. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  11. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  12. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  13. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  14. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  15. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  16. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  17. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  18. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  19. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  20. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  21. The Navy List. (January, 1907). p. 400.
  22. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 401.
  23. The Monthly Navy List. (March, 1911). p. 401a.
  24. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  25. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  26. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  27. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  28. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  29. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  30. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  31. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 289.
  32. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 289.
  33. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  34. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  35. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.
  36. Simpson Service Records. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. 151.