Frank Keith Simmons

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Frank Keith Simmons
Born (1888-02-21)21 February 1888
Died 22 September 1952(1952-09-22) (aged 64)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service c.1908–1946
Rank Major General
Commands held 2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade
Battles/wars

First World War
Second World War

Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Military Cross

Major General Frank Keith Simmons, CBE, MVO, MC (21 February 1888 – 22 September 1952)[1] was a senior British Army officer during the Second World War. He was commander of the Singapore Fortress when it fell to the invading Imperial Japanese Army in February 1942. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of the Japanese.

Military service[edit]

Simmons served as a Military Attache to Spain from 1928 until 1936, whereupon he served in British mandated Palestine[1] as a lieutenant colonel, accompanied by his wife.[2] He was the commanding officer of British forces in Shanghai in 1939 and 1940[3][4] and later the commander of British defences at the Singapore Fortress in 1941, prior to its fall in 1942.[4]

An ardent supporter of the concept that defence construction was detrimental to troop morale,[5] Simmons was eventually placed in command of a committee to ascertain the readiness of Singapore's defences as the Japanese invasion became apparent.[6][7] He was appointed to "develop" the defence plan by Lieutenant General Arthur Percival.[8] As the situation worsened for the Allies, Simmons was one of a few commanders privy to Percival's last-ditch defence plans[9] and his "no surrender" policy of 11 February 1942.[10]

During the final days of the battle, Simmons was transferred and ordered to command the British forces in the 'Southern Area' of the battlefield,[1][11] when the decision to surrender became apparent he joined fellow commanders in voicing the opinion that continued resistance was ill-advised.[12] Simmons spent the next three years as a prisoner of war in Japan, prior to his release in 1945 and retirement in 1946.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Simmons, F. K. Major General, (1882–1952)". Generals from Great Britain. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Killearn and Yapp, p. 760.
  3. ^ Powell, J. W. The China Monthly Review, February 1939
  4. ^ a b Thompson, p. 60.
  5. ^ Thompson, p. 261-262.
  6. ^ Thompson, p. 339
  7. ^ Legg, p. 309.
  8. ^ Thompson, p. 380.
  9. ^ Thompson, p. 435.
  10. ^ Thompson, p. 451.
  11. ^ Thompson, p. 460.
  12. ^ Thompson, p. 485.

References[edit]

  • Killearn, M. L. and M. Yapp, Politics and Diplomacy in Egypt (Oxford, 1997), ISBN 0-19-726155-8
  • Legg, F. The Gordon Bennett Story, (London, 1965)
  • Thompson, P. The Battle for Singapore, The True Story of the Greatest Catastrophe of World War II (London, 2005), ISBN 0-7499-5099-4