Mervin Simmons was born on a farm near Verschoyle, Oxford County in 1886. His adventurous spirit led him to work as a carpenter in Trail, British Columbia in the early part of the 20th century. Upon the declaration of World War I in the summer of 1914, Mervin immediately heeded the call to defend Britain and Canada. Months of training in England led to his dispatch to the battlefields of Belgium, and fatefully to the battle of Ypres, which ended in tragedy for many Canadian boys. Mervin was captured by German forces was sent into the prison Stalags of Germany. This journey led to three escape attempts by Mervin, assisted by other intrepid Canadians, which ultimately led to his freedom. His story was documented in 1918 by best-selling Canadian author, Nellie McClung in the work, 'Three Times and Out'.