A First Day Vimy Ridge Memorial Cross to the 78th Infantry Battalion
A First Day Vimy Ridge Memorial Cross to the 78th Infantry Battalion - George V (871068 Pte. F.A. SIMS). Naming is engraved. Light contact and surface wear, better than very fine. Accompanied by copies the War Diary (dated April 5 to 16, 1917), a three page Report of Operations by the 78th Battalion C.E.F. (dated April 9 to 13, 1917), along with assorted research papers and a CD containing fifteen pages with copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Particulars of Family of an Officer or Man Enlisted in C.E.F., Medical Records and Military Will. Footnote: Frederick Albert Sims was born on December 25, 1876 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Sims. He was married to Mrs. Emily Sims (later Haig after his death) of Winnipeg, Manitoba and they had two sons together, Clarence and Reginald. He signed his Attestation Paper with the 183rd Infantry Battalion "Manitoba Beavers" on February 16, 1916 at Winnipeg, at the age of 39, naming his next of kin as his wife, Emily, stating that he had no previous military service, that he was Married and that his trade was that of Boot & Shoe Maker. The Battalion was raised in Manitoba with mobilization headquarters at Winnipeg under the authority of G.O. 69, July 15, 1916. While at Winnipeg, Sims was hospitalized from February 8 to March 6, 1916, where he was treated for a "V. Virus" (possibly Influenza). The Battalion sailed October 4, 1916 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, initially aboard the S.S. Missanabie in the first part of the trip, then transferred to the S.S. Saxonia for the second part of the trip, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W.T. Edgecombe with a strength of 13 officers and 431 other ranks, arriving in Liverpool, England on the 13th. In England, the Battalion was broken up to supply reinforcements for the 100th, 107th, 108th and 144th Infantry Battalions, with Sims being transferred to the 108th Infantry Battalion at Witley on October 26, 1916. Two months later, he was transferred to the 78th Infantry Battalion "Winnipeg Grenadiers" (Manitoba Regiment) at Seaford on December 28th, then taken on strength in France at the Canadian Base Depot the next day. He left for his new unit on January 1, 1917, arriving with them on the 4th. Three months later, Sims was with the 78th Infantry Battalion at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, which began at 5:30 am, the "weather inclined to rain". The battle is well-documented in the Report of Operations by the 78th Battalion C.E.F., dated April 9 to 13, 1917. The Battalion went into the engagement with an approximate strength of 28 officers and 774 regulars. Only 19 officers went into action at first, the balance of nine officers were employed at Battalion Headquarters. As the engagement proceeded, it was found necessary to send forward five other officers, owing to heavy casualties, which made a total of twenty-four in action exclusive of those at Battalion Headquarters. The Battalion emerged from the tunnel and dugouts in good order and was formed up in the jumping off trenches in good time. Almost immediately, the mine on the left was sprung and before their artillery opened up, the Battalion moved forward and was practically up to their front line before the barrage was laid down. The waves kept close to their barrage and the first two consisting of A & B Company reached their objectives on time, with portions of the third and fourth waves reaching their objectives and some having gone beyond. The Battalion was severely handicapped in the collection of the wounded, through the loss of stretcher bearers being killed or wounded by the enemy, who had emerged from dugouts after the waves had passed over them. The casualties were heavy (approximately sixty percent), including 20 officers (6 killed, 11 wounded, 3 missing) and 486 regulars (69 killed, 258 wounded, 159 missing). All those reported as "missing" included those that could not be vouched for as having been seen dead or wounded. Sims was initially reported Missing in Action, then declared Killed in Action on April 9, 1917, at the age of 40. He is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, Grave Reference: VII. F. 11. and is commemorated on page 326 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. In his handwritten Military Will, dated November 11, 1916, he wrote "In the event of my death, I give the whole of any property and effects to my wife Mrs. Emily Sims." In addition, his life was insured through the Metropolitan Insurance Company. His widow, Emily, received his British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Cross, Memorial Plaque and Scroll but he was not eligible for the 1914-15 Star. Although his father was still alive, his mother had predeceased him and therefore, no second Memorial Cross was issued.