Rank or Title
Date of Birth
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
Soldier or Civilian
Ernest Simms was a professional footballer with Luton Town FC when he enlisted in the Footballers Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at Kingsway, London on 16th December 1914 with his Luton team mates Wileman, Frith, Roe, Dunn and Wilson.
Simms was the top scorer for Luton Town in the promotion winning season of 1913-14. Members of the Footballers' Battalion were allowed to continue playing for their club whilst on military training. Simms' army service papers in the National Archives suggest that he may have taken football more seriously than his army career as he was charged 3 times in 1915-16 for being absent from Roll Call for periods up to 24 days. On the first occasion he was "admonished" but after the latter two he was sentenced to 14 days of Field Punishment No 2 which involved wearing shackles and hard labour.
Simms was transferred to the 23rd Middlesex Battalion in July 1915 and continued to play for Luton in the 1916-17 Combination league where he scored a record 40 goals. He served in Italy from November 1917 to March 1918 where he was wounded.
He fought his way back to fitness to rejoin Luton from the 1919-20 season where he continued his prolific goal scoring and became the first 3rd Division centre-forward to play for England in a match against Ireland on 22nd October 1921.
All images are used with kind permission of Roger Wash, Luton Town Football Club Historian