Dr John Edward Simpson
(Daily Sketch 20 April 1912)
John Edward Simpson, 37, was born in 1875 at Belfast. His father was John Simpson, M.D., their family home was at 76 Pakenham Place, Belfast. Simpson, who had five sisters, studied at Royal University of Ireland, Royal Belfast Academical Institute and Queen's University Belfast. It was from the latter that he received his degree.
In 1905 he was married to Annie Edith Peters of Astley, Lancashire and lived at The Old Chestnuts, Tottenham Road, Hornsbury. The couple had a son, John Ralph (who died on 25 March 1961 in London).
John Edward Simpson had troubles with his health, so he decided to go to sea, when he realized that the sea climate would be better to him. He served for some years as medical officer with the Peninsula and Oriental Steamship Company and finally White Star Line. Before he signed-on the Titanic he was on the Olympic. He signed-on on 6 April 1912 as assistant surgeon to Dr O'Loughlin his monthly wages were £9. On board he was responsible for the second and third class passengers.
Simpson was a captain of the Royal Army Medical Corps. On 9 April 1912 he wrote a letter to his Regiment (1st Volunteer Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge's Own [Middlesex Regiment]), noting that he won't be able to carry out his duties for some time.
On April 10th before the ship sailed Dr O'Loughlin and Simpson examined the crew muster sheets with Captain Maurice Harvey Clarke, the Board of Trade immigration officer, to ensure a healthy crew was aboard. Just one of the many formalities which had to be completed before the maiden voyage could begin.
Before arriving at Queenstown he wrote another letter to his mother, where he mentioned that money was stolen from his trunk.
After the collision, as the water reached C deck, Simpson stood with Dr O'Loughlin, Purser Herbert McElroy and Assistant Purser Reginald Barker. For a brief time they were joined by second officer Herbert Lightoller. The second officer was sweating from his work at the boats and Simpson joked 'Hello, Lights, are you warm?'.
During lowering of lifeboat 14 he gave 5th officer Harold Lowe an electric torch with the words: "Here is something that will be useful to you".
John Edward Simpson died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Philip Hind (Editor)
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Name: Dr John Edward Simpson
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