February 11, 1924 - September 22, 1946
Ellen Marguerite Simpson was born on February 11, 1924 to Alfred and Pearl M. (nee Prosser) Simpson (1883-1929) on a farm near Deerfield, Michigan, USA. She had four brothers including James E. (1906 - 1933) and Howard J. (1919-1968) and three sisters including Clela Robideau. Howard was a member of the US Navy during WWII. The family was Lutheran.
Ellen travelled to Windsor, Ontario at the end of August 1943. On her Occupational History Form, dated September 2, 1943, Ellen noted that she finished school at age 17. She had been a machinist at Monroe Auto Equipment, in Monroe, Michigan for three months before she enlisted in Windsor at No. 101 Depot Coy, CWAC. Ellen then travelled to London, Ontario in early September 1943 where she had her CWAC medical examination. "In good health as far as I know." She had scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles and a tonsillectomy as a child, plus had lost 5 pounds in the month prior to her exam. She did not have plans for after the war.
On the PERSONNEL SELECTION RECORD at CWAC No. 1 DD, London, Ontario: "Completed Grade X...left school at 17 for financial reasons. Worked for board while at school doing housework for several years. Laundry work -- press, mangle, etc. Monroe, Michigan, about a year. Left for better pay. Monroe Auto Equipment: inspected shells and worked on shell-making machine. Hard work but liked it. One year." OTHER PERSONAL HISTORY: "Has lived with sister in Monroe, Michigan for two years and off and on when she was going to school. Mother died when this girl was three years old. She stayed with an aunt two years and with her three older sisters. Father is a roomer in Monroe; he cannot get a job easily because is not physically fit. Four brothers, three sisters. One brother is in the US Guards, one is in the National Guard; one works in defence factory; one works on farm. Sisters are all married." INTERESTS: "Used to go bike riding a lot. Likes rollerskating, although she is not good at it. Cuts out pictures of all men that left from Monroe to go into the army and keeps these in a scrapbook. LIkes to look at picture magazines (LOOK and LIFE) but doesn't care about reading books. Also enjoys funnies. Can't dance. Goes to movies. There is not much to do in her community." ARMY INTEREST: "Hasn't decided what she wants to do. Wants to enlist to help out. Has done some driving and is in possession of a licence. Is 5' 4" tall, weighs 149 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes, glasses. A quiet likable youngster, unsophisticated and perhaps immature. Talked quite freely during the interview. Takes quite an interest in her own city and knows about its main industries and what factories have been converted to war work. Would appear to be a dependable type of girl. Education is mediocre, occupational experience is good. Intelligence is somewhat better than average. Could be used in laundry work or trained as a driver. Has not yet made up her mind, but says she doesn't mind laundry work." Suitable for enlistment: Trades training (Driver) or Laundress." Lt. Margaret 'Patricia' Neilson, Army Examiner. Lt. Neilson, from Montreal, left the CWAC after she married in October, 1943.
TRAINING AND POSTINGS:
On October 2, 1943, No. 3 CWAC (B) TC, Kitchener: "Is completing basic training in the period September 22 - October 23. Seems to be making a good adjustment to Army life. A quiet, pleasant girl who would like to be a driver and who has two years experience. Seems to be a steady, dependable type of girl." 2nd Lt. Merrilee Faulkner (originally from Vancouver). Another evaluation: "No initiative, but good worker under supervision. Fairly tidy."
She was earning $1.20/day by March 2, 1944 and was authorized to wear the Mars Badge on April 12, 1944.
Lt. Lolita N. Wilson interviewed Pte Simpson at the request of Officer Commanding No. 1 Admin Unit on April 21, 1944: "Simpson is an American citizen and did not take the Oath of Allegiance upon enlistment. She seems to be homesick for Americans and has asked regarding her chances of receiving a discharge in order that she may enlist in the Marines. She likes the Canadian Army, her work, and her present station. She has no definite information as to her enlistment in the Marines and since it is her intention to go to Seattle on her next 48, she is deferring application for discharge until after that time as she intends to conact the American Recruiting Centre." By this time, Pte Simpson was in Victoria, BC.
Lt. Wilson interviewed Ellen again on June 8, 1944. "Interviewed during Routine Survey No. 1 Admin Unit, Victoria, BC. "Posted to Victoria as a driver in December 1943 and employed with RCASC. Likes her work as a driver and no change is recommended. She has received information as to enlistment in the American services and finds the conditions are the same as CWAC and has not yet decided what to do."
On August 22, 1944, Sgt. Simpson along with S/Sgt M. G.Arenott were involved in a vehicle accident when the DND vehicle she was driving collided with Mr. and Mrs. Neal's car. A Court of Inquiry was struck in December 1944 to investigate. "A station wagon driven by Pte Simpson, No. 2 Depot, RCASC was returning to Patricia Bay at approximately 1715 hours. Just as she entered the intersection of Haultain and Cook Streets, Victoria, BC, coming south of Cook Street, S/Sgt Arenott, passenger in the station wagon shouted, 'LOOK OUT!' An Austen 7 driven by Fred Neal was proceeding west on Haultain and had almost crossed the intersection when it was struck by the DND vehicle. The Austin was upset and Mr. and Mrs. Neal were thrown out, sustaining severe injuries. They were taken by ambulance to the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria. BC. Damage to DND vehicle: $80.35. Damage to civilian vehicle: $307 (estimate) MEDICAL EVIDENCE: Mr. Fred Neal's doctor's bill was $65, hospitalization costs not stated. Injury: right shoulder and scalp. X-ray revealed no fracture in shoulder. Mrs. Fred Neal's hospitalization costs not stated as she was still in hospital. Injury: multiple fractures about 20 in all. Second to ninth ribs fractured both sides of sternum. Five distinct fractures in pelvis and dislocation of left femur and extreme shock. She has toxic adenoma and an auricular fibrillation. She also has a fracture of the coccyx and is unable to lie flat in bed due to heart. She was receiving continuous oxygen for over a week. Unable to state length of hospitalization, residual disabilities or approximate costs. FINDINGS OF THE COURT: Pte Simpson was on duty at the time of the accident and was in possession of Standing Orders. After carefully considering the evidence, it is my opinion that both drivers were partially to blame for the accident." Capt. C. T. Sutherland. The Brigadier Commanding Esquimalt Fortress: "I agree that Pte Simpson was on duty, but consider this, as the civilian vehicle was approaching what the driver knew to be a through thoroughfare, and was entering that thoroughfare on the left of the DND vehicle, the responsibility of this accident rests on Fred Neal, the driver of the civilian vehicle." The Officer in Command, Pacific Command: "I do not agree that the civilian was to blame. Cook Street at this point is not a through thoroughfare, and the civilian vehicle entered the intersection first, and was well across when hit broadside. The DND driver was not keeping a proper lookout."
On November 30, 1944, Lt. A. P. de Mengden, Army Examiner wrote: "Pte Simpson is referred to AE by her OC prior to transfer to No. 1 DD on Compassionate Grounds. This girl has requested same due to illness at home. Her sister living in Monroe, Michigan is not well and requires her assistance at home as her husband is in the US Coast Guard at sea and the care of her home and three children are more than she can handle at present. Simpson has been employed as a Driver and her record and conduct in the army to date are very good. She could be useful in these duties closer to her home and therefore consideration should be given for transfer to No. 1 DD, London, Ontario, on Compassionate Grounds."
On May 30, 1945, Pte Simpson volunteered for the Pacific Theatre.
On October 17, 1945, Lt. Norma French (from Vernon, BC) wrote: "Length of Army Service: 25 months. This volunteer has a very good Army record and is described by her employing officers as a reliable and conscientious driver. She is please that her release from the service is imminent. Her plan being to return to her home in Monroe, Michigan and to seek employment there, possibly in the paper mills. At the present time, she is not interested in any type of vocational training."
On January 16, 1946, Ella was counselled as to Rehabililtation Benefits and interviewed RE: discharge at No. 101 Depot, London, Ontario. She was granted $100 clothing allowance and eligible for a rehabilitation grant.
On January 14, 1946, on London, Ontario, Pte Ellen Simpson had an x-ray inspection of her chest, part of the discharge process. "Heart and lungs negative." She was 21 and weighed 160 pounds, standing 5' 3" tall. She indicated she lost her identity card in Victoria in October 1945.
On September 22, 1946, Ellen Marguerite Simpson died at Ann Arbour, Michigan of far advanced bilateral caseocavernous pulmonary tuberculosis. All the Simpson family, except Alfred, is buried at the Deerfield Cemetery in Michigan.
On February 27, 1947, J. T. Kawalik of Scott, Saskatchewan wrote to the Canandian Army Headquarters, Personal Branch, in Ottawa. "Dear Sir, Will you please advise me in how I may get in touch with Ellen Simpson as you may have her home address as for her to draw her Gratuity. She was stationed at Victoria in the year of 1945 as a driver with the Canadian Army. Please advise what I will have to do." John Kawalik enlisted in the Canadian Army in January 1942.