Casualty Identification

Private William Simms

Photo of Private William Simms

William Simms was born in 1894 in Russell, Manitoba.

Prior to enlistment Simms made his living as a farmer and was unmarried. In January 1916 he enlisted in the 78th Battalion 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 until his death on 11 August 1918 in Hallu, France.

His body remained in Hallu until it was discovered in 2007.

Private Simms’ identification tag was found among the remains of five soldiers, indicating that Private Simms was very likely one of the five.

Circumstance of Death Register for William Simms
Private William Simms`
identification tag

Biological anthropology (height and age which was compared against the profiles of the missing) helped narrow the search and mtDNA from the remains compared to that of one of his maternal descendants confirmed the identity of Private Simms.

The Casualty Identification Program used anthropological analysis and genetic testing to positively identify Private Simms.

The internment of Private Simms took place on 13 May 2015 at the Caix British Cemetery. 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 at his personnel file at Library and Archives Canada.

Circumstances of Death Register for William Simms

Killed in Action.

148691 Private Simms William

78th Battalion 11-8-18 649-S-8799 Presbyterian

He was with his Company in front line trench at Hallu during enemy counter attack, and he and four others were killed by a shell which fell in the trench beside them. Owing to a temporary withdrawal form the position the bodies were not recovered for burial.

Circumstance of Death Register for William Simms
Circumstance of Death Register for William Simms