The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

January 10, 2007

Jan. 10, 2007 – Dr. Harold Simpson

One of Springhill’s most prominent doctors was Dr. Harold Leslie Simpson. Dr. Simpson was born in Springhill, on May 20, 1893 , the son of J.R. and Edora L. (Mattatall) Simpson. J.R. Simpson was an employee and official at the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company.

Harold went to school in Springhill and decided he wanted a career in the Civil Service and secured his Outside Papers. The month of December 1914 he assisted in the mail car on the Canadian Nation Railway running between Halifax and Campbellton. There being no permanent positions available at that time he decided to study engineering so he entered Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. In his first and only year there he was a prize winner and voted “probably the best engineering student of the year” by the faculty.

However, at the end of his University year he enlisted in the army and was with the No. 6 Siege Battery as a signaler. He fought in France , Belgium and Germany and was stationed in Germany with the army of occupation. While with the Siege Battery he distinguished himself in the field of battle and was decorated with the Military Medal for Gallantry. He was manning an Observation post for his Battery in No Man’s Land and directing fire when enemy shelling cut his line of communication with his Battery . In spite of the danger he went into the open and repaired his broken line. He was also awarded a bar to his Military Medal.

When he returned home from the war he decided to enter medicine and become a doctor. He entered McGill University in Montreal . When Harold wasn’t studying he was working to pay for his studies. For two of those summers when he had a vacation from studying he could be found with a horse and buggy around the streets of Springhill selling ice cream.

Upon his graduation he accepted an invitation to practice as an assistant to Dr. M.J. Wardrope and when the older Dr. Wardrope retired Harold took over the practice and the Drugstore.

In the meantime, Dr. Simpson married Mildred E. Wilson of Saint John , N.B. and they had three children Beatrice, Jean and Marilyn.

In 1935 Dr. Simpson went to London , England , accompanied by his wife and children, and joined the Fellowship of Medicine taking various post graduate courses in London Hospital .

On his return to Springhill he engaged Dr. J.C. Murray as his assistant and later as his partner. In 1948 Dr. Harold Simpson, was instrumental in the construction of the Springhill Medical Center , along with Dr. Murray, Dr. J.R. Ryan and Dr. Carl Adams. The medical centre also housed Wardrobes’ Drugstore for many years.

Dr. Simpson was a registered Surgeon, a member of the American College of Surgeons Committee on fractures and trauma, a past president of the Nova Scotia Medical Association and served on many important committees – The Advisory Committee, the Workman’s Compensation Committee and on the Council of the Canadian Medical Association. For many years he was Chairman of All Saints’ Hospital and was also district Medical Officer for the Canadian National Railway.

During WW11 he attended camp at Aldershot , serving with the No. 1 Causality Clearing Station. He was very interested in the Saint John Ambulance Association and received two awards, a life member certificate and a Priority Special Vote of Thanks from the Lieut. Governor of Nova Scotia . Later he was made a member of the Excecutive of the Saint John Ambulance.

Dr. Simpson was a charter member of the Springhill Rotary Club and one of its past presidents. During the war he and Harry Fox got together and had a Red Cross Ambulance sent overseas.

He was also the mine doctor and never hesitated to enter the mine to render first aid or give moral support to the injured.

He was a member of the Wesley United Church; Br. 17 Springhill Canadian Legion; Cumberland Lodge, No. 5,of the Knights of Pythias ; Laurie Lodge, No. 70, AF & AM Springhill; and Victoria Lodge of Perfection, No. 14, Scottish Rite, Halifax, N.S. in which he took his 14 th degree.

Mr. Simpson assisted the High School Cadets with first aid training and exams. He also donated a cup to the Church Hockey League.

Not only was he successful because of his skill and knowledge but he also had a cheerful, kindly manner and was very loving towards children and the elderly.

On Nov. 13, 1952 Dr. Harold Lester Simpson passed away at the age of 55 and Springhill lost one of their much loved doctors.