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Canada’s last living Distinguished Service Medal holder passes away at 95

March 2017

This is my personal tribute to Able Seaman Thomas J. Simpson, DSM, a WWII veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve:

Windsor, Ontario resident Thomas Simpson died on 28 January 2017 at the age of 95 and Canada lost another true hero.  At the time of his death, Simpson was Canada’s last living Distinguished Service Medal holder; one of only 114 Canadians to be so honoured during World War II.

Born on 6 November 1921, Simpson joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve at HMCS Hunter in August 1942 and trained as a radar operator,

Simpson was serving aboard HMCS La Hulloise on 7 March 1945, which was accompanied by two other Canadian River class frigates HMCS Strathadam and HMCS Thetford Mines, when he became involved in an action that lead to the sinking of German U-Boat 1302 in the St. George’s Channel.  It was due to Simpson’s skill as a radar operator that enabled the ships to sink the U-Boat, an action that unquestionably saved hundreds of Allied sailors.

For his actions, Able Seaman Thomas Simpson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, an award for gallantry, bravery, resolution and skill.

After the war, Simpson worked in radio and television repair and later as a Customs and Immigration Officer at the Windsor/Detroit border and then head of the Customs Union until retiring in 1987.

Simpson’s memory continues to be kept alive by a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/T.J.Simpson.D.S.M/) set up by his grandson Ron Simpson in the later years of Thomas’ life.

All the above information was provided by Ron Simpson.

Read Thomas Simpson’s own recollections of the day he won the DSM at:  http://www.honourthem.ca/masterDetail.cfm?ID=21

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/canadas-last-living-distinguished-service-medal-holder-passes-away-at-95/

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