North High School Wall of Honor
Ralph Laurence Simpson
Class of January, 1926
Ralph Laurence Simpson
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Ralph Laurence Simpson
Laurence graduated in the January, 1926 North High class. Laurence's next of kin was listed as Mr. and Mrs Clarence Loring Simpson, 1202 14th Street, Des Moines, IA. He was drafted at Camp Dodge, IA. His service number was 37673884.
Ralph Laurence Simpson
Year x Rank x Status
January, 1926 x x x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA.
1926 x Education x Drake University for one year
1930 x Residence x 1930 Census indicates residence at 1202 14th Street, Des Moines, IA
1932 x Education x Graduated from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. Member of SAE Fraternity
1929-1933 x Employment x Ginsbergs Furniture Store, Des Moines, IA
July 21, 1934 x Family x Married to Rena I. Saunders at Central Church of Christ. (Rena deceased 05/23/76)
1940 x Residence x 1940 Census indicates residence at 1202 14th Street, Des Moines, IA
July 9 , 1943 x US Army/PVT x Drafted Inducted at Camp Dodge Herrold, IA
Dec.2, 1944 x Stationed x Serving with Battery A, 896th Anti Aircraft Artillery Gun Automatic Weapons Battalion overseas. (Battle of the Bulge)
October 5, 1945 x Stationed x Serving overseas. Returning October 5, 1945.
October 31, 1945 x US Army x Discharged.
1947 x x Founded Simpson Furniture Store, Cedar Falls, IA
August 12, 1976 x Family x Married E. Jean Cragg (deceased 08/10/88)
1983 x Employment x Retired and sold Simpson Furniture Store
1989 x Family x Married Alice Duckworth buried in AZ.
date x Retirement x Living in Sun City, AZ
December 24, 2000 x Deceased x Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Cedar Falls, IA
896th AAA; Battery A
The 896th Ordinance Amm Company had a code name of Magic-6.
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. United States forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties for any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces on the western front, and Germany was largely unable to replace them. German personnel, and later Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement), also sustained heavy losses.

Different forces referred to the battle by different names. The Germans referred to it officially as Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine") or usually Ardennenoffensive or Rundstedt-Offensive, while the French named it the Bataille des Ardennes ("Battle of the Ardennes"). The Allies called it the Ardennes Counteroffensive. The phrase "Battle of the Bulge" was coined by contemporary press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps and became the most widely used name for the battle.

The German offensive was supported by several subordinate actions including Operations Unternehmen Bodenplatte, Greif and Währung. As well as stopping Allied transport over the channel to the port city of Antwerp, these operations were intended to split the British and American Allied line in half, so the Germans could then proceed to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor. Once that was accomplished, Hitler could fully concentrate on the eastern theatre of war.

The offensive was planned by the German forces with utmost secrecy, minimizing radio traffic and moving troops and equipment under cover of darkness. Intercepted German communications indicating a substantial German offensive preparation were not acted upon by the Allies.

The Germans achieved total surprise on the morning of 16 December 1944 due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance. The Germans attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions, which grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive around Elsenborn Ridge and in the south around Bastogne blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This and terrain that favored the defenders threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.

The Germans' initial attack included 200,000 men, 340 tanks and 280 other tracked vehicles. Between 67,200 and 125,000 of their men were killed, missing or wounded. For the Americans, 610,000 men were involved in the battle, of whom 89,000 were casualties, including up to 19,000 killed. Along with the Battle of Okinawa and the Battle of Luzon, it was one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the United States in World War II.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; Sunday, December 24, 2000
Cedar Falls-- R. Laurence Simpson, 95, of Sun City, AZ, formerly of Cedar Falls, died December 16, 2000 at Boswell Hospital, Sun City, of natural causes.
He was born December 17, 1905, in Des Moines, IA, son of C.L. and Grace Watts Simpson. He married Rena Sanders July 21, 1933. She died May 23, 1976. He then married E. Jean Cragg on August 12, 1976. She died August 10, 1988. He then married Alice Duckworth in 1989.
Mr. Simpson founded the Simpson Furnitrure Store in 1947 and sold his company and retired in 1983. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
Survived by his wife and a niece whom he helped raise, Donnabelle Miller of Dewey, AZ, formerly of Cedar Falls.
Preceded in death by a brother, Clarence, and four sisters, Ethelyn Myers, Edna Batty, Edith Goeppinger, and Thelma Neely.
Services are planned for later in May 2001. Memorial fund will be established. Dahl-VanHove-Schoof Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Fairview Cemetery, Cedar Falls, IA
Ralph Laurence Simpson
Battery A, 896th AAA AW Battalion
United States Army
US Army Seal

1st Army Patch
Get photo of Ralph Laurence Simpson
Correct uniform patches coming.
Patton's 3rd Army Patch

Army Rifle Expert

Simpson's 9th Army Patch/Rhineland

WWII Victory; European-African-Middle Eastern Theater w/4 Bronze Battle Stars; Good Conduct, Sharpshooter Medal/Rifle

Correct medals coming:
WWII Victory Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Theater w/4 Bronze Battle Stars for
Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe, andGround Combat;
Good Conduct Medal; Sharpshooter Medal/Rifle
(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High graduates can be found online at Ralph Laurence Simpson's 1926 class page is
Died: December 24, 2000 in Sun City, AZ
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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