This series contains private letters and papers of Field Marshal Sir J L A Simmons RE. They relate mainly to his career in Turkey and the Middle East, especially during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, as British Military delegate to the Congress of Berlin in 1878 and immediately afterwards. Also includes, however, papers on eastern affairs and other matters in the 1850s and 1860s, on Russian military intentions in 1891-1896 and some on Simmon's mission to the Vatican in 1889, which followed his period of office as governor of Malta.
Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons was born on 12th February 1821 in Somerset, the fifth son of Captain Thomas Simmons RA. He was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
He joined the Royal Engineers in 1837 and rose steadily through the ranks. In 1846 he became Inspector of the Railways and then from 1851-1854 he was secretary to the Board of Trade's Railways department. From 1854-1856 he was HM Commissioner with the Ottoman army in the Crimea and he was present and active through several campaigns. The following year he was appointed British Commissioner for regulating the Turko-Russian border in Asia. From 1857-1860 he was consul-general in Warsaw and then he returned to England. From then until 1875 he was progressively commander of the Royal Engineers; Director of the School of Military Engineering and Governor of Royal Military Academy.
In 1875 he was appointed as Inspector General of Fortifications; a post which he held until 1880. In 1878 he was attached to Lord Beaconsfield and Salisbury's special mission to the Congress of Berlin. Then in June 1880 he was appointed to assist Lord Odo Russell at the Berlin Conference on the Greek frontier question. In 1884 he was appointed Governor of Malta, and them from 1889-1890 envoy extraordinary and minister plenipoteniary to the Pope.
He married twice; first in 1846 Ellen, daughter of John Lintorn Simmons; and then in 1856 Blanche Weston. He was made a Field Marshal in 1890 and died on 14th February 1903.
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