18 – Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons

General Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons
1821 – 1903

Governor of Malta 1884-1888


Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons, GCB GCMG (February 12, 1821 – February 14, 1903), British Field Marshal, was the fifth son of Captain Thomas Frederick Simmons, Royal Artillery of Langford, Somerset.

From the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and completed the young officer’s course at the Royal Engineer Establishment in Chatham.

After serving in the British North American colonies in Canada from 1839 to 1845, he was promoted to Captain upon his return to England. He was appointed Inspector of Railways in 1847 and then Secretary of the Railways Commission in 1850. In 1851 he became the first Secretary of the Railway Department under the Board of Trade.

In 1853, whilst on leave from his role with the Board of Trade, he was in Constantinople when Turkey declared war on Russia. The British Ambassador took up Simmons’ offer of his services, requesting that he report on Turkish defences and their ability to resist a Russian advance. Upon expiry of his “leave”, he resigned his post with the Board of Trade, enabling him to remain in Turkey.

Serving firstly as British Military Representative to the Omar Pasha, he was later confirmed as British Commissioner with the Turkish Army, in the local rank of Lieutenant Colonel, seeing out the Crimean War (1854-56) in this role.

Serving in the Foreign Office as Consul General in Warsaw, he returned to England at the end of 1860 and re-joined the Royal Engineers firstly as Commanding Royal Engineer at Aldershot and later as Director of the Royal Engineer Establishment in Chatham.

Promoted to Major General in 1868, he became Lieutenant-Governor of the Royal Military Academy in March of 1869, soon to be appointed Governor. Created KCB in June 1869, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers in 1872.
He held the post of Inspector General of Fortifications from 1875 to 1880 and was promoted to General in 1877 and, the next year, he was given the GCB.

Important dates during his Governorship

The Strickland-Mizzi Constitution

As Governor of Malta from 1884 to 1888, he oversaw significant constitutional and social changes on the island. Given the GCMG in 1887, he left Malta when, at the age of 67, he retired from the army.

The Foreign Office continued to utilise his services and in 1889 he went to Rome as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Pope Leo XIII. He was promoted to Field Marshal in 1890.

He retired to Hawley, near Blackwater, and died on 14 February 1903.

He was the maternal grandfather of Rotha Lintorn-Orman, the leader of the British Fascists.


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