Lieutenant Denis Simpson near Nigmegen Bridge

Denis Simpson near Nijmegen Bridge

Lieutenant Denis Simpson at Nijmegen bridge

Lieutenant Denis Jackson Simpson


Unit : "B" Troop, 1st Parachute Squadron

Army No. : 249558

Awards : Military Cross, Mentioned in Despatches


Between 17th and 20th September 1944, Lieutenant Simpson was in charge of four positions covering ARNHEM bridge. For 62 hours these positions were consistently attacked, almost continuously on 18th September and the night 18th/19th September. At dusk the enemy fire mortar bombs point blank through the windows. On the evening 19th, the positions were attacked from 30 yards by a Tiger tank which destroyed one corner of the house. During all these attacks Lieutenant Simpson was the backbone of the defence, skilfully moving his men to meet each new threat.


On the afternoon 20th September, the house was set on fire and had to be evacuated. The house was covered by machine-guns from all sides. Lieutenant Simpson led the covering party out with 2 Bren guns and although 50% of his force became casualties in the intense cross-fire he managed to secure a safe lane through which it was possible to evacuate the wounded. Had it not been for Lieutenant Simpson's courage and complete disregard for his own personal safety in leading the break out it would have been impossible to evacuate the wounded from the burning house. Lieutenant Simpson was wounded and taken prisoner.


Later, whilst a Prisoner of War in Germany, Lieutenant Simpson showed great keeness and devotion to duty in attempting to escape. On the night of the 21st/22nd, he formed one of a party of four who broke out and joined the main British forces after moving through Germany and German-occupied Holland for two nights and a day.


See also: Capt Mackay, L/Sgt Humphreys, Cpl Weir.


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