60571 Private Martin Simpson, 9th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment died of wounds 22 October 1918 and is buried at Maurois Communal Cemetery, France.[1]  He was 24 years old and commemorated on the Evenwood War Memorial.

 Family Details

 Martin was born 1893[2] at Lands, Evenwood the son of Robinson and Annie Simpson:

  • Mary bc.1888 at Summerhouse
  • John William bc.1890 at Lands
  • Percy Edgar bc.1892 at Lands
  • Martin born 1893 at Lands
  • Richard Robinson bc. 1896 at Lands

In 1901 the family lived at 57 Lands Bank and 40 year old Robinson worked as a coal miner (hewer).   By 1911, John William, Percy Edgar, Martin and Richard Robinson all worked as miners. In 1919, Robinson and Annie Simpson lived at 53 Lands along with John William, Percy Edgar and Richard Robinson.[3]

 Military Details

 Martin Simpson enlisted at Darlington and joined the 9th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment and was given the regimental number 60571.[4]

The 9th (Service) Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (otherwise known as the Green Howards) was formed at Richmond, North Yorkshire 22 September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s New Army, K3 and in October 1914, it was attached to the 69th Brigade of the 23rd Division.[5]  Other units in the 69th Brigade were:[6]

  • 11th (Service) Battalion West Yorkshires
  • 8th (Service) Battalion Yorkshire
  • 10th (Service) Battalion Duke of Wellington’s
  • 69th Machine Gun Company
  • 69th Trench Mortar Battery

The Division saw action at the Battle of the Somme 1916, the Battle of Messines, 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) 1917 then in October 1917 it relieved the 70th Italian Division on the front line on the Montello.  Parts of the Division took part in the 2 significant battles – Asiago and Vittorio Veneto of the Italian campaign during October and November 1918.

17 September 1918 the 9th Bn., the Green Howards was attached to the 74th Brigade of the 25th Division.

At this time, the following units made up this Brigade:[7]

  • 2nd/7th Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 21st (Service) Battalion Middlesex
  • 11th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters
  • 13th (Service) Battalion DLI
  • 74th Trench Mortar Battery

September and October 1918: 9th Bn., Green Howards in action [8]

27 September 1918:  Operations by the IX Corps, II American Corps , III Corps and the Australian Corps carried the British Advance from a line stretching from north of St. Quentin, west of Beaurevoir to a position west of Le Catelet.  The main Hindenburg Line running north and south through Bellicourt had been the scene of heavy fighting and the village of Beaurevoir, located on high ground needed to be captured to enable artillery to be brought up to support the next advance of the front.  The task was allocated to the 25th Division.

3 October:  74th Brigade was at Moislains, Divisional HQ at Combles.  The 9th Green Howards left Moislains at 13.00 hours and marched to the line south of Le Catelet.  Orders received to continue (on the 4th October) the attack started by the Australians on the 3rd and to complete the capture of Beaurevoir and the high ground beyond it.

4 October:  7th Brigade, 25th Division opened the attack.  It was only partially successful and casualties were heavy.

5 October:  orders received to continue the attack as very large scale operations were planned for the 7th October.  At 6.00am, the 74th and 75th Brigades went forward.

“The attack commenced well, especially on the flanks where good progress was made north of the village of Beaurevoir.  The Germans at once launched a counter attack, supported by a large number of machine guns and succeeded in forcing back our troops once more to their original line, except in the centre at Bellevue Farm which was successfully held by man of “A” Company, 9th Green Howards.”

By the end of the day the village and the cemetery of Beaurevoir had been captured and some troops of the 74th Brigade made another attempt to reach the high ground at Guisancourt Farm but were unsuccessful.

6 October: morning, Guisancourt Farm was taken and made secure by the 9th Green Howards.

7 October: preparations made for a major attack the following day.  The 2nd Australian Division and the 50th Division pushed forward encountering little opposition.  The artillery moved up to positions east of Guisancourt Farm and Beaurevoir.  British positions were heavily shelled during the 2 days.  Casualties sustained by the Division were heavy.  508 Germans including 5 officers were taken prisoners.

8 October:  the 66th Division passed through the 74th and 75th Brigades to take up the attack with the 7th Brigade.  All objectives gained.

9 October:  6.00 am, 75th Brigade advanced between Serain and Premont and gained the first objective.  7.30 am. 74th Brigade came up and joined the 11th Sherwood Foresters, the 9th Green Howards and the 13th DLI in support.

“Everything went well and the Brigades met with no resistance for about 2½ miles…At about 9.00 am. Resistance was encountered along the railway line running north and south west of Honnechy…The advance was resumed at 2pm. …the enemy offered considerable opposition at first but as our troops pressed on his resistance suddenly broke and the line retired rapidly before becoming engaged in close quarters.  Honnechy was soon passed …the 9 th Green Howards digging in on the east side of the railway…2.30pm…one party captured Reumont Village….

Intelligence reports indicated that the enemy would probably make a stand on the Selle River to the south and south-east of Le Cateau.”

10 October:  5.30 am, the Division moved forward…8.00 am. The leading platoons came under heavy machine gun fire…2.30pm.  74th Brigade launched an attack on St. Benin…the enemy gradually withdrew.  The 9th Green Howards dug in.

11 October:  the 50th Division relieved the 25th Division and the 9th Green Howards found accommodation at Premont.

“The inhabitants of these villages had been for 4 years under German rule and the welcome they accorded those whom they regarded as their deliverers was something to be remembered.”

12 to 16 October:  the 25th Division remained in the Serain-Premont-Ellincourt area in Corps reserve.

16 October:  the Division moved forward but only the 75th Brigade was engaged, fighting under orders of the 50th Division at the crossing of the River Selle.  It was not until the 23rd that the other brigades were again employed in the front.

22 October 1918: Private M. Simpson died of wounds.

The service record of Private M. Simpson has not been researched and it is assumed that he died of wounds received in action sometime during the period between the 7th and 10th October.  The Green Howards Gazette reported that 60571 Private M. Simpson had “Died of Wounds.” [9]  Later research records that 9/Green Howards lost 1 Officer and 37 Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds between 7 and 22 October 1918.[10]

Private M. Simpson was awarded the British War and Victory medals. [11]


Private M. Simpson is buried at grave 11 Maurois Communal Cemetery.  Maurois is a village located 5 kilometres south west of Le Cateau in the region of Nord, France.  It was in German hands from August 1914 until liberated by the South African Brigade 9 October 1918.  There are 78 burials. [12]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p.246 Auckland 1893 Q4

[3] Spring 1919 List of Electors for the Lands Polling District

[4] Soldiers Died in the Great War




[8] “The Green Howards in the Great War” 1926 Colonel H.C. Wylly

[9] The Green Howards Gazette edition of November & December 1918

[10] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[11] Medal Roll

[12] CWGC


SIMPSON M.  Headstone