Lots of 5* reviews on  Amazon in May - see 'Reviews' page

New content added to Next Project page


Over 750 copies sold (April 2017)


Article in 'Medal News'


'Despatch Rider' is reviewed by Ian Hay- Campbell, Friends of the National Archives


'Despatch Rider' is reviewed in Books Monthly,


'Depatch Rider' is reviewed in Nacelle (Triumph Owners'  magazine)


'Despatch Rider' is spotted on the (bottom) shelves at Foyles - and the top shelf at The National Archives!


'Despatch Rider' is featured in Classic Motorcycle magazine


Forthcoming talks and events - see EVENTS

Buy the book!

Despatch Rider on the Western Front 1915-18 can be bought direct from the publishers: Pen and Sword Books; from Amazon, or through any good bookshop.


If you have any queries please email me:


Welcome to the website of Sgt Simpkin's "Despatch Rider on the Western Front, 1915-18", set up and managed by the diarist's great nephew, David Venner. 


You can read extracts from the diary and find details of talks, book signings etc via these webpages.  The full typescript of the diary has been deposited with the Imperial War Museum, London and can be consulted there by appointment. Better still, buy a copy of the book!

Albert Simpkin was born near Manchester in 1885. He was an early motorcycle enthusiast and rode his Douglas Twin all over Britain both on business and for pleasure.

Albert joined the Royal Engineers (31st Signal Company) in 1914 and served as a motorcycle despatch rider with the HQ of the 37th Division He survived four years on the Western Front & was demobilised in Feb. 1919

Albert Simpkin in Feb. 1915, on being promoted to sergeant. In June 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the Battle of Arras.

Albert kept a detailed diary of his many and varied experiences during the War.

"Despatch Rider on the Western Front 1915-18" is an abridged version of the diary,

published by Pen & Sword Books in May 2015.

Albert Simpkin on his army issue Triumph Model H, known as the Triumph Trusty because of its reliability. Albert noted in his diary: "I find it handles rather heavily compared with my light Douglas machine."

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor the gloom

of night stays these Couriers from the swift 

accomplishment of their appointed routes". 


Next project ...

There is also a page that introduces my next project, a biography of my uncle Sgt Raymond Alvey, RAF, based on his WW2 diaries.

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© Diary of a Despatch Rider