Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Service No: 49592
Date and place of birth: 1st qtr 1887 in Portsea Island, Hampshire
Date and place of death: Unknown
The only James Simmonds found with a possible, but unverifiable, connection with Midhurst is James Henry Simmonds who was boarding in the Market Square in 1911 and whose parents were born in nearby villages.
James Henry Simmonds was the second son of Samuel and Rebecca Simmonds, who had married in 1871 in the Midhurst district. Samuel was born in Trotton, Sussex in 1849 and Rebecca, nee Hall, in Woolbeding, Sussex in 1851.
In 1901, Samuel, a ship joiner in HM Dockyard, was living at 113 Wingfield Street, Portsmouth with Rebecca and three chidren: Emily (22), a laundry woman, Robert (17), a general labourer and James (14), a rope maker.
By 1911, Samuel (61) had retired with a pension and was living at 22 Baker Street, Landport, Portsmouth, with Rebecca (58) and son Robert (27).
James Henry Simmonds (23) single and a marine stone dealer was boarding at Market Square, Midhurst with Henry Petter.
Rebecca Simmonds died in 1914, aged 62, in Portsmouth.
James Henry Simmonds, a 24 year old waiter, enlisted at Gosport on 9 November 1914. He was struck off for desertion on 7 December 1915 (British Army WW1 Records ref 22504). This was confirmed, in his continued absence, by a Court of Inquiry on 1 January 1916 (22498).
Subsequent family history
His brother Robert Rufus Simmonds, a 27 year old haydresser (sic) enlisted at Portsmouth on 8 July 1916. He was living at his father’s address 22 Baker Street, Landport with his wife Annie and daughter Florence. He served in the Royal Garrison Artillery, no. 8778, and was demobilised on 18 February 1919. He died in 1940, aged 56, in Portsmouth.
Samuel Simmonds died in 1932, aged 83, in Portsmouth.