Married: Violet Alice Mary Stewart on 28
August 1935 in St John, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia The
Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales) 25 September 1935 p12 MARRIAGES.
SYMONDS—STEWART.—August 28, 1935,
at St. John's Church, Darlinghurst, by the Rev. C. A. Lucas, Edgar Bell,
youngest son of the late Samuel Symonds and Mrs. Symonds, of Melbourne, to
Violet Alice Mary, only daughter of the late Andrew Hugh Stewart, of
Riversdale, Carrathool and Mrs. Stewart, Sydney.
Violet was born in 1899, in Hay district, New South Wales, the daughter of
Andrew Hugh Stewart and Margaret Birkin.
Occupation: Bank clerk with the Bank of New
Edgar served in both the First and Second World Wars.
Edgar served in World War I in the 5th Infantry Battalion and 1st Pioneer
Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. He enlisted as a private on 24
August 1914, giving his next of kin as his mother, "Mrs. J. Symonds" of
Inglewood. He is recorded as single, aged 22 and resident in Inglewood,
Victoria. His occupation is given as bank clerk. Edgar embarked with his
elder brother Frederick, from Melbourne on board Transport A3 Orvieto
on 21 October 1914. He served in Egypt and in the landings at Gallipoli. Frederick's diary of the Gallipoli campaign contains
a number of mentions of Edgar as they met up in the trenches. Edgar was
deployed to France in March 1916. In November 1917 he was listed as wounded,
and at that time was a corporal (The Mildura Cultivator (Victoria) 10 November
1917 p6). He was eventually promoted to sergeant and returned to
Australia on 14 December 1918.
In World War II, Edgar served as a Flying Officer in the Royal Australian
Air Force. He enlisted on 12 October 1942 in Melbourne, Victoria and was
posted at the RAAF base in Canberra at his discharge on 21 January 1946.
of NSW Roll of Honour p380: SERGEANT EDGAR BELL SYMONDS
5th Infantry and 1st Pioneer Battalions, A.I.F.
EDGAR BELL SYMONDS, son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Symonds, was born on 10th
July, 1892, at Inglewood, Victoria. He was educated at Carlton College,
Melbourne, and joined the Bank's service at St Arnaud, Victoria, on 8th
June, 1910; he was transferred from there to Kyneton on 17th January 1914.
Edgard Bell Symonds enlisted in the A.I.F. on 7th August 1914,
attaining the rank of sergeant in the 5th Infantry and 1st Pioneer
Battalions. He served in Egypt, all through the Gallipoli Campaign, and in
France from March, 1916, until December 1918. Death: 29 August 1964, in Killara,
New South Wales, Australia
Married: Hilda Handfield Haslett in 1919 in
Hilda was born in 1898 in Fremantle, Western Australia, the daughter of
Thomas Davis Haslett and and Constance Eleanor Moore, and baptised on 21
August 1898 in Fremantle. She died in 1963 in Balmain district, New South
Wales, and was buried on 22 April 1963 in Macquarie Park cemetery, North
Ryde, New South Wales. The grave is located on A. J. Hare lawn row 17 grave
Frederick served in World War I as a private in the 5th Battalion of the
Australian Imperial Force. He enlisted on 19 August 1914, giving his next of
kin as his father, S. Symonds of the Bank of Victoria in Inglewood. He is
recorded as single, aged 32 and resident at the Bank of Victoria Ld,
Inglewood, Victoria. His occupation is given as agent. Frederick embarked
from Melbourne on board Transport A3 Orvieto
on 21 October 1914, and was wounded in the famous Australian battle of
Gallipoli. Frederick returned to Australia on 8 October 1918.
Frederick kept a diaries of his war experiences, and the diary of his first
year was sent home and published in the Inglewood
Advertiser in September and October 1915. The diary has been transcribed
by Heather Ford.
April 20th - Very blowy; can't leave for landing to-day, or until weather
takes up a bit; very cold; hope we give the Turks a doing. It is going to
be a ticklish job, somewhere on Gallipoli. Did my washing to-day.
21st - Weather very bad; raining. Just heard that the Brigadier has come
on board, so it looks like going.
22nd - Still here; weather improving.
23rd - Hope to leave to-morrow; weather good.
24th - Left at 11am. Don't know exactly when we land; think early in the
morning. A lot of boats left last night. Blanket parade; allowed to take
one. We anchored about dusk near an island, and left it at 11pm for the
landing place; expect to make landing just before dawn. We are landing to
support the first troops, and will be among the first lot.
25th - Landed this morning; first lot about 1 o'clock. The country looks
very difficult, and is full of Turks. Our first load got it very hot from
the beach; many killed in the boats. I heard the sailors coming back after
landing the first lot saying that they made a magnificent charge with only
fixed bayonets - did not wait for orders, but jumped into the water before
the boats were beached and got rid of their packs after they got the first
trenches. There were thousands of Turks, and our first party consisted of
only a couple of hundred men. The sailors said they never saw anything
like the way our men went at them. I think the main body of Turks must be
further inland. We were acting as supports to the advanced line, and
landed about 8 o'clock. It took a long time to get all the firing line men
ashore. We were under heavy shrapnel fire while landing; they had some
guns on a peninsula about two miles away which covered the whole of our
landing, and they gave us pie. The first sight that greeted us was some
dead comrades, and a host of wounded. We went up a gully to the right, and
took our packs off just before getting the steep climb. We had a long
climb before getting near the ridge on the top of the gully, and it was
then that we began to hear the bullets and shrapnel. One of our chaps had
been hit on the leg further back where we took our packs off; that was the
only casualty we had so far.
When we got to the ridge we retired there, and could see wounded men
coming down helping each other over the steep ground, which was very
nearly perpendicular in places. Some had stretchers, but it was almost
impossible to use them. How the poor fellows got back to the dressing
station I don't know; it must have cost some of them hours of agony. After
we had been there for about 10 minutes we got word that we were wanted in
the firing line, so they sent Mr Levy with No. 15 platoon. Shortly after
we got word that Captain Lager was badly wounded, and must have more
supports, so No 14, our platoon, got the order to advance to the firing
line. We no sooner got over the ridge than we were met by a hail of
bullets and shrapnel. We covered the ground in short, sharp rushes, taking
cover in all depressions. The enemy had the range of all the cover that
was worth taking, and kept a constant fire of shrapnel over it. In one
place the shells were bursting right on top of us, and coming almost as
quick as one could count them. It was then that our men started to fall
out. I got hit in the shoulder with a piece of shell just before we
reached the firing line, and was told to go back with a man who was badly
wounded just behind us, so I left my kit and rifle there and got hold of
this chap, who, poor fellow, was hit in about eight places, and would have
been killed had he stayed there much longer. I had a terrible job to get
him down to the station. The first difficulty was to get him away from the
fire zone. We had to go slowly, and I expected we would both be riddled,
but, by some good fortune, we got over the ridge without a mishap.
The poor chap was in such pain that he could not bear to keep still. It
took me quite four hours to get him to the dressing station, and as soon
as I had my shoulder dressed, which by good luck was not seriously hurt, I
got to work with a party taking ammunition to the firing line, first
unloading it from a barge under a continual fire of shrapnel, then taking
it up to the firing line - a terribly heavy task. Needless to say, I was
greatly worried about Edgar all this time. I never expected to see him
again; it seemed impossible for men to live for long under the fire our
chaps were exposed to unless they got well dug in. About mid-night two of
us were struggling up the hill with a box of ammunition, nearly fainting
with exhaustion, for we had not eaten a bite since 3 o'clock the previous
morning, and we were both wondering what had befallen our brothers, for,
strange to say, he had a brother in the firing line somewhere, too. When
we reached the firing line the first man to come out was my mate's
brother, and while we were talking someone came out of the trench and
asked if Fred Symonds was there, and to my joy, the second-comer was
Edgar. It seemed strange that two of us should meet our brothers at the
same time and place, when everyone had been mixed up so completely. After
we came back we had a rest for an hour before going up to support the
line. The beach is an awful sight; our men must be getting terribly
butchered. All the fleet boats are waiting near the beach expecting a
retreat to the boats, but judging from the spirit of our men there will be
very few retiring. The beach is lined from end to end with wounded.
26th - I got up to the firing line before dawn. Had to get in with the
14th Battalion, could not find our crowd; feel terribly exhausted, and
don't know how our men can hold the line, it is so weak and broken, but
they are wonderful. Food is out of the question; may have to go a week on
24 hours' rations and water. Our firing position here is on the top of a
steep incline, almost perpendicular, and if one gets hit he has a chance
of rolling down to the gully, a distance of about 200 feet or so. We are
in a pretty warm quarter; the fighting is very fierce. The trouble is we
can't see much of the enemy on account of the dense scrub. I notice the
warships are giving us more help to-day. The Queen Elizabeth is sending
some 15 inch shells into the Turks. They make a terrible mess of things.
If they land anywhere near us they shake the whole hill. Some more men
came up this afternoon; we need more still. The stretcher-bearers are
absolutely unable to cope with the casualties; some of the wounded have
been lying out for 24 hours, and may be here for another 24 hours by the
look of things. If they would only get some more men up here a few of us
could help the wounded till dark, which would be a great help. Went on
stretcher-bearing this afternoon; a cry came up for spare men to
volunteer, as a whole line of men had been enfiladed by an enemy machine
gun, and were lying under fire. It was frightful work getting the poor
fellows down those hills; it took five men in some cases to get one
wounded man out, and a lot of the bearers are being shot; we have lost 10
out of 40 already. Went back to the firing line at dusk in case of danger.
There are a great number of Turks, but they seem to be frightened to
attack us in a body. They keep sniping, and creep up through the bushes.
There are a lot of snipers in behind our lines picking off men from
behind, but its impossible to find them, and they must be dressing in
uniforms taken from our dead men. We had a lot of casualties to-day; feel
terribly weary; don't know what keeps us going, excitement, I suppose.
Have seen some terrible sights; we must all be savages.
27th – Went on stretcher-bearing again today, as I had not a very good
position in the firing line. Came across some of the 5th Battalion
fellows; they are gradually picking one another up; will join them as soon
as work eases off here. There are a lot of snipers behind our lines. We
caught several today, but there must be lots more. Want food badly; half a
biscuit and water, if you are lucky, for a meal, and a little salt meat
once a day. They are gradually getting reinforcements up, and our firing
line is getting stronger, but the men are getting weaker.
28th – Still working with stretcher bearers. We have more reinforcements
coming up. I hear we need them, as we are now fighting 5 or 6 to 1. Our
casualties must be very heavy, but I think the Turks are losing more. Our
boys stand the strain wonderfully. Biscuits and water today; wish they
could give us a hot drink. Landed a lot of troops to-night. Saw one man
with his face blown off; it’s nothing to see them blown to pieces. Some of
the bullets make a terrible wound; they explode inside, and in some cases
take the top off a man’s head, and the limbs get terribly shattered.
Joined our company to-night, and hear they suffered terribly.
29th – The fleet is making a terrible noise, and I suppose they are making
things hum, but we can’t see the damage they do. Our artillery is doing
some work now, and should be a great help to us. The Indian mountain
batteries are great; I don't know what we would have done without them.
The Indian soldiers are very cool under fire. I think at present we have
the enemy beaten; am taking a day's rest, and had my first cup of tea –
never enjoyed anything so much – and a little bacon, or, I forgot, I did
have a drink of tea in the other gully, and, if I remember rightly, a
piece of bacon. About [censored] troops arrived to give us a spell, thank
God; we all look haggard and overworked; the strain has told terribly.
Slept with MacQueen to-night in a good “possy.” We have been digging
“possies” in a fresh place to-day, near the right flank; were sorry to
leave the other “possy”, as it was so cosy. Fatigue work; carrying in kits
from the gullies and drawing rations. Heard of McIllwraith’s death, and
Vines seriously wounded; we don’t know who is dead yet. Some more may turn
up, but lots missing; about 30 per cent of casualties in our company, I
think. I believe the 7th and 10th Battalions were badly hit; hope
Inglewood boys are alright.
May 1st – Fatigues again to-day, bringing up stores from our old position.
Plenty of shrapnel about; nine of our men were wounded and two killed
while digging a communication trench this morning; lucky for me I was not
one picked for the job. The fleet is doing some very heavy firing this
afternoon; can see all the ships from our “possy;” looks well. They use
searchlights all night. I notice the enemy has not been giving us so much
shrapnel since the fleet has been pumping it in hard. Message of
congratulations from Lord Kitchener. We have done our job so far, and it
has been a very hard one. Hope to go for a bathe this afternoon; have not
had my clothes off yet, as far as I can remember, since landing; feel
frowsy. I suppose it will mean sleeping in our kit for months to come. We
deepened our “possy” last night, because the shells are coming from all
quarters, it seems. I expect we will be moving soon; we are always in
readiness to go at a moment’s notice. I hope tomorrow will be more like
Sunday than the last; would like to go to a service. We feel much better
for the change, though they don’t give us any rest.
2nd – Just a week since that awful day. I often wonder if we’ll have such
another awful day; hope not. To-day has been quiet; only shrapnel, but our
dug-outs are good. We were called out to haul big guns up to the firing
line and carry shells; the horses could not do it, as the tracks are too
steep and rough. Just as we got the first gun up to its position the enemy
shelled us, and how we came back I don’t know. The shrapnel seemed to be
bursting all over us, but only saw one chap hit; had a lot of cover,
luckily. We got back for tea, and they wanted me to go out with a party
digging a communication trench, but I got out of it; let some of those go
who have been resting all day. I believe in fair division of labor, but
lots of others don’t. The warships have been doing very heavy firing all
day right along the coast. I notice the Queen Elizabeth is sending some of
her big shells on to a hill about 10 miles off; they make a terrible mess
of things. The reports of the guns roll through the hills and make them
tremble. We can see the flare of the heavy guns in the dusk on the other
side of the Peninsula towards the south. Some of our men were killed on
the beach from shell fire. Would like to bathe, but they won’t let us out
of the lines. Nights are chilly, with heavy dew. We are expecting to go to
the firing line to-night, but hope we won’t go; acting as reserves at
present. We are fortunate in having a good supply of water from the
springs in the hills. A lot of our men are suffering from dysentery. Edgar
is on the sick list for a day or two with it.
3rd – Went to firing line as supports this morning; have been doing pick
and shovel work all day at the artillery post. They don’t give us much to
eat. This evening we were making a communication trench under fire, and
things were pretty warm during the night. We had to go out in fighting
order, as we expected to be called up to the firing line any minute;
plenty of shells about. Worked all night, and got to our dug-outs at about
5.30a.m. feeling tired, cold and hungry; had an hour’s rest, then I drew
rations and we breakfasted. While we were digging a track for the
artillery this morning the enemy gave us some heavy shrapnel fire; one man
was hit, and its remarkable how few they got.
4th – Waiting to be relieved for a spell, I hope. Went out digging a
communication trench this afternoon; night fairly quiet; only got called
out to reinforce firing line once, but nothing of importance doing.
McQueen very bad with dysentery, and think he will be sent away.
5th – Fatigues all morning; things are quieter. Mac reported sick and went
to hospital. We go to reinforce the 29th Division to-night at Cape Helles,
that is, we of the 2nd Brigade only; a choice bit of work, I believe.
Troops are coming from Egypt. Got ready to leave in evening. Firing very
heavy in our trenches to-night; must be attacked somewhere along the line.
We left on trawlers and destroyers and got to mouth of Dardanelles about
6a.m.; fine day.
6th – Landed about 6a.m. They have had as rough a time here as we did in
the landing. We marched to within a mile of their firing line, and made
camp. Had the pleasure of watching them make an attack; could see quite
easily, as country is clear and flat in most places. The French 75 guns
are firing like mad. They are wonderful guns, and the warships are putting
in big shells. The Queen Elizabeth is down for the occasion, and we can
see her shells bursting on the side of the hill. They seem to cover the
place; are supposed to have a killing distance of half a mile from the
burst and 50 yards or more wide. The poor devils in the trenches must get
cut to mince-meat. We can see the lines slowly going ahead. Shells are
bursting in hundreds; don’t see how the Turks can stand it unless they
have marvellous trenches. Signaller White got wounded in shoulder while we
were disembarking; not serious. We got some dug-outs well down for
camping, as the French battery draws a lot of fire; hope we win the day.
Edgar and I are in the same dug-out; hope they leave us here for a few
days, as it promises to be interesting. There are Tommies, Ghurkas and New
Zealanders near us. The Tommies are very good natured, and are much better
fed than we are; they give us a lot of perquisites. We passed some of the
forts coming up from the beach; they have been well smashed; walls 8ft.
thick with holes in them the size of a house; some more of the Queen
Elizabeth’s work. Two of the guns we saw were enormous things, but the
shells had smashed all the gear to pieces. The enemy is firing from the
other side of the Dardanelles, and our artillery is doing good work. I
heard some wounded say that we were driving the Turks back. There is a
constant stream of wounded coming back along the track – poor beggars,
some with hands off and shattered limbs and faces. I expect those not
seriously hurt are glad to be out of it; it’s a fearsome business facing
such a hell. I expect we will have to do it in a day or two. Its bound to
be a tough job they give us. Our line is supposed to have advanced a few
hundred yards to-day; hope they can hold it. I fear the hill will be a
long, tough job. Edgar is boiling the billy now, so we will be having tea
soon. The big guns are giving it to them like hell, and the rifle fire is
getting more distant. They say a lot of our men have gone down.
7th – We gave the enemy a terrible shell fire this morning; don’t see how
anyone can stand it. The fleet is giving us great help; the whole of the
hill we are attacking is torn with shell fire. I thought at one time the
enemy were exploding mines, the smoke was so dense. The big shells from
the boats make awful havoc. We expect to be sent forward any time now;
they must be having a bad time in the firing line. We talk of the Turk not
being a fighter, but he is very tough. Had a good dinner, and there are
prospects of a good night’s rest. I contemplate trying to have a bathe
this afternoon, but something is sure to block it. It’s very unpleasant
living and sleeping in the same clothes from week to week. They say the
French troops are very poor fighters here; they retreat too easily. But we
have a fair number of English, Australians and Ghurkas now. More heavy
artillery firing this afternoon. Had a good bunk last night; got some bags
to sleep on. Think we go up to firing line to-morrow; something doing,
8th – Advanced to firing line this afternoon. Started to advance about 4
o’clock, and dug in about a mile or more from the line. Had tea; had
barely swallowed it when we got orders to get into fighting order, and a
few minutes later were advancing in extended order. After we had gone a
short distance the shrapnel commenced to come, at first at irregular
intervals, and then more steadily, I kept near Edgar as long as possible,
but by the time we had made a couple of rushes we were all mixed up. The
rifle fire got very warm after a while. We were advancing in a sort of
half circle, and were receiving fire on all sides and rear. We advanced
over several lines of trenches which had Ghurkas and Tommies in them. Our
men were going down everywhere, but we kept going. It was nothing to take
cover behind dead comrades, although such cover is only from sight of
enemy, as a man won’t stop a bullet, but it’s wonderful what you’ll cover
behind when advancing. The machine gun fire was very hot. We never fired a
shot, even after passing the firing line, which half of us did not know
was the firing line. Lots of us were carrying picks and shovels to dig in
with. We lost a terrible number of men in the advance, and our artillery
had to cease fire for a while at the last, as we had advanced right into
their fire zone and were receiving some of their shells. There seem to be
dead and wounded Australians everywhere. Just before making the last rush,
Lieutenant Hamilton, of one of the other companies, asked me to alter his
kit for him, and after we went ahead I lost him. He tried to get back to
his own lot again, and, I heard later, got badly wounded - shot in the
neck, back and thigh; it will take him all his time to pull through. The
country we were advancing over was mostly flat, and very hard to take
cover on except where there were trenches. When I got within about 50
yards of where we dug in I saw a Sergeant Fairley, of A. Coy, 5th
Battalion, shot in the groin and hand, and he was lying right in an
exposed position. The machine gun fire was pretty hot there, so I picked
him up and took him back to the nearest bit of cover, about 20 yards, and
dressed his wounds as best I could. He was shot through one rump and out
just above the groin – a very nasty wound; the poor chap was in great
pain. After that I came across so many wounded that I put most of my time
in carrying them back to cover. It was their only chance, and the firing
line started digging in, so I thought as they were opening fire it was the
best thing to do, as I knew there could be no stretcher bearers up
probably till the next night. It was an awful night; wounded were calling
for help all around the line, so I got another chap to give me a hand, and
we got quite a number down to a likely place for an A.M.C. depot on the
creek. Saw Sergeant Walker, of our platoon, about 10 o’clock; he was shot
in the lung. I made him as comfortable as I could, and they started a fire
fight just after as we were trying to get a big man with a shattered leg
in. We had to be down for half-an-hour till the fire died down; the
bullets were whistling all round us, some hitting the ground just near but
most going overhead, which was just as well, or we would have been
riddled. As soon as the fire eased off we got him on my back and I carried
him to cover. One poor chap was hit very badly through the lower part of
the chest, and was in terrible pain. After we had been at it a few hours I
went down to see if I could shake some stretcher-bearers up, but after
walking about a mile down the creek I found that they would not let any of
them come up – said it was dangerous, and there were all our patients
suffering for want of a little proper attention. So I went back to the
supports for the rest of the night, as there was no room in the firing
line. We were just about 20 yards to the rear of them. It must have been
about 10 o’clock when I got back, and I felt done up.
9th – In the morning I had a look round to see if things were quiet, and
decided I could do more by getting back to where we left the wounded and
seeing if I could do anything for them. I found that the A.M.C. doctor had
come up and got some of them away about sunrise, so my trip down to the
base did some good. I gave them a hand to dig out a safe place, and helped
the bearers to bring in more of the wounded before going back to the
trenches, which are overcrowded at present, but I expect they will get
them all in soon enough. The casualties are enormous; hope Edgar is safe;
must send a note along the line when I get back. There are a few snipers
about; it’s wonderful that I have not been hit. Got to firing line after
dinner, and found Edgar; he was not far from me, only about 50 yards.
Thank God he is alright. We have a lot to be thankful for. Have made
“possy” just at end of line; can’t get in the line, no room. Started a big
fire fight about 8.30 p.m.; had a fair sleep after things quietened a bit;
felt the cold, as had no coat to wear.
10th – Expecting to attack to-night; hope we don’t get mauled like we did
in the advance. Trenches very sloppy; it makes a lot of work trying to
keep the water out. Had biscuits and oxo for breakfast. I believe the
attack is not to be made to-night. Trenches very boggy; one side fell in,
and was, of course, my “possy.” Luckily, I just got out of it, as about
five tons of earth came in and made a terrible mess. Had a cold, miserable
night; went on outpost duty in the creek just in front of our firing line;
was relieved at 1 a.m.; had a drink of tea in early morning, also a few
11th – Morning quiet. Reported a few white flags showing, but expect it is
only a ruse; they’re full of tricks. Our engineers are out making
entanglements just in front of our trenches; hope the Turks don’t open
fire. Saw Edgar this morning. Carrying ammunition this afternoon; got
relieved in trenches about midnight by Lancashire Fusileers. Slept at our
old dug-out, about a mile behind firing line; plenty of rum going around,
some of the fellows a bit on. Had a warm time on way down from trenches;
enemy kept shelling us, and several were hit near me. It’s wonderful how
they know our movements; there must be some spies in the crowd.
12th – Rained this morning. Got down to beach with Edgar and had dinner
with some of the Tommies, who are very good natured and much better fed
than our fellows. After dinner we joined our crowd and dug in about half a
mile from the beach. The enemy are dropping a lot of shells about, but
they are not doing much damage. We have a very snug “possy,” with a couple
of waterproofs over it for a roof; hope they give us a decent spell. We
are quite close to the French batteries, which make a terrible noise.
13th – Deepened our “possy” as the shrapnel is getting a bit hot. We went
for a bathe this afternoon, and it was grand to feel clean for a few
hours. We have not had our things off for over a fortnight. They seem to
be letting the Australians do the tough jobs. Some of the other troops are
very poor fighters; of course, the regulars are alright, but the French
are making an amusing show here. While they advance they hold their packs
up in front of them, and are far more ready to retreat than anyone else.
At the rate they are going, there won’t be many of our fellows left soon;
we have had a large percent of casualties already, which is far too heavy;
in fact, some say it is -- per cent -- over -- in one brigade of -- men in
all, including transports and everything. [no.'s censored here in Aust -
pre publication in paper] I expect the next job they’ll give us will be to
take the hill, which is said to be almost impregnable, and is mined from
end to end. It’s a pity they can’t get others to face it.
15th – Fine, but some clouds showing up; hope it does not rain. Edgar sent
a letter home to day, but I did not bother writing as we are not allowed
to give any news. I wonder when we will be taken back to Gaba Tepe. The
enemy have just been giving us a lively time with shrapnel. They had an
artillery duel with the French battery, and it was hot while it lasted,
but most of the enemy shells landed round our camp; the French battery is
too well concealed; only a couple of men hit and a horse killed, as far as
I know. Went to French camp in village at the fortress after dinner, on
the point known as Saddel Bahn [sic]. It gave us a good idea of the damage
artillery can do; not one house is complete, and in the fortress shells
have torn great holes in walls 8ft thick. They have one of the French
hospitals there. Couple of German fliers overhead to-day. Expect we will
get a lively time to-morrow.
16th – As I expected, they are giving us rats; it’s a good thing we dug
well in. Left for Gaba tepe after dinner, and slept on board all night;
landed 7 a.m.; pitched camp in one of the gullies, and they are giving us
plenty of shrapnel.
18th – Had a fair night’s rest. Very heavy shell fire, and had some close
calls. Enemy attacked our trenches last night, in the early morning, and
at daylight, but were repulsed with heavy losses. We have to sleep in
19th – Went out on fatigues at 4.30 a.m., but could not do much, as the
shrapnel was so heavy; one or two got hit. Got back at 10 a.m.; hope to
get a rest, as we had no sleep last night. They are giving our men a rough
time on the beach; a lot of wounded taken down this morning. Went to
support trenches for the night as picket coy, but they did not attack;
must have had enough in the three attacks we repulsed this morning.
20th – Got back to camp at daybreak after a cool night behind trenches. We
can hear heavy firing from the Cape; must be an attack there. Weather
fine; will be glad of a good sleep if we can get it. Nearly all our
officers are out of action or killed; we want re-organising badly. I hear
that the Turks were heavily reinforced before the attack, and they
advanced in thousands, in some places ten deep. The machine guns shot them
down in thousands. There must be a tremendous number dead in front of our
trenches; don’t know how we will get on if they are not buried soon. Our
fellows are very cool; some even sit on the parapet to get good aim, and a
great number got outside the trench altogether and laid down in front of
the parapet – it made a terribly strong fire. There is more talk that the
Turkish officers are mutinying. Saw F. Yorath this morning. Hope Windsor
and others are alright. Heard the other day that Fred and Rolun Adams, of
Mildura, whom I know well, were killed and missing respectively since the
first Sunday, so looks like both dead. Terribly hard for their parents, as
they are the only two boys in the family. I feel set up over it, as they
were such decent chaps. The enemy is very strong; they far exceed us in
numbers. Our men are looking fagged out. I feel quite ill sometimes.
21st – Spent last night in the gully in anticipation of an attack, but we
did not do much except dodge shrapnel. It was cool out, and I had no coat;
got to our new dug-outs, which we occupied yesterday, about daybreak. I
hear that a division of troops has arrived to relieve us; we expect to go
away to re-organise. I hope it’s true; we all need a rest badly. Yesterday
they had an armistice to bury the dead, which needed burying; we could
smell them down in the gullies – it must have been vile in the trenches.
Hope we have a quiet day.
22nd – Inlying picket last night; went to support trenches, but nothing
doing. Am bad with dysentery; makes me feel fagged and weak; we all have
it more or less, and the rations are very rotten; they are feeding us
badly. Raining this morning, but weather cleared this afternoon, and there
are prospects of a sleep to-night.
23rd – There is talk of us going to Lemnos to spell, but I expect it will
blow over like the other. All the Light Horse arrived from Egypt. Hope for
a quiet day. Our officers are getting short in number, and they are making
a lot of new ones. Had voluntary church parade this morning at the 6th
Battalion camp; Captain Dexter held the service, and most of us went.
Spent the afternoon out of my clothes to give them an airing. We are not
allowed water for washing, only enough for drinking purposes. Went out
trench digging all night.
24th – Got back early this morning, and on fatigues, etc, and digging
communication trenches. Had an armistice for burying the dead. Heard that
W. Rochester was wounded at the Cape while we were there – shot in the
chest, stomach and thigh, I believe. Hope he gets through alright. The two
Parkers are alright – they were hit the first day; one pretty badly in the
shoulder. Hope not called out to-night. Inlying picket.
25th – Called out at 3 a.m., but nothing doing. Rifle inspection at 10
a.m. Raining, and things got a bit wet. I heard a great explosion last
night, and it turned out to be the Triumph, which was torpedoed. A couple
of enemy submarines about. She was sunk in deep water off our coast, and
will be a great loss to us. It seems as though luck is not with us.
26th – On wood fatigue this morning. Things are quiet. Went into trenches
this afternoon for three nights and days on Brown’s Hill, which commands
the gully behind Quinn’s Post, where the line is broken and where the
enemy frequently make night attacks, to their cost. General Walker arrived
a few days ago to take over the work of General Bridges, who died
recently. Heard this evening that the Majestic has also been sunk by a
torpedo at Cape Helles.
28th – Had a cool night, as usual, and they did not tell us to bring our
blankets or anything. The more I think of it, the more incompetent I think
our leaders are, especially when I think of the casualties. Perhaps
General Walker will be able to alter that, but I don’t think Bridges was
responsible. Got blankets this afternoon. Have a hunt through our clothes
every day. Think the blankets and dug-outs must be alive. Had a good
night; nothing much doing. Some reinforcements arrived to-day. I heard
that the Australians had over 10,000 casualties to date; it can’t be less.
Got three letters to-day – the first but one since landing. We are having
lovely weather, and the Turks are not giving us much trouble at present.
We are holding on till the Cape Helles crowd come up, and then advance, I
think. There will be enough excitement when that comes. I hope the Turks
do a lot of attacking in the meantime, as it will mean all the less to
kill then, but I think they are getting tired of making attacks, they are
so costly, and the last few have taken quite a lot of starch out of them.
29th – Enemy made an attack last night, blew up part of our trenches and
took that portion, but our boys re-took it almost at once. The Turks lost
a lot of men. I hear rumors of another attack to-night. I don’t know how
we get the news, but think they tap the telephone wires. The attack is to
be made en mass. The [censored] was torpedoed to-day. I hear that’s the
third battleship recently; looks bad, hope they get the submarines. All
the destroyers are working between here and Lemnos at full speed; hope
they do some good. It is amusing reading the papers and letters published
about how one feels under fire for the first time. My experience was at
the start a desire to overcome fear, and after we got moving I felt
alright. The half-hour before we start is the worst part of it to me; when
I am going I don’t feel anything except a desire to act as quickly as
possible. I felt worried about Edgar more than anything; it is a mistake
to have a brother with you, I think. But, strange to say, I felt all
through as though we were both coming through alright. Its wonderful what
a help a man’s religion is in such cases; it brings it home to one as
nothing else can. Were relieved at 5.30p.m.; suppose it means more
30th – Church parade in morning and fatigue after dinner. They are
evidently going to attack our lines, as they are shelling very hard and
the rifle fire is brisk. We are used to their attacks now, which generally
cost them dear. I noticed one shell landed almost on the battalion
headquarters. They are trying hard to find our artillery, and are shelling
our trenches with shrapnel. Heard this morning that submarine [censored]
got into the Narrows and sunk two enemy transports loaded with ammunition.
It will be a great loss to them, and they sank three other transports
besides; not known if they had troops on or not. I have to go with some
others to B. Coy. to join inlying picket to-night, as they can’t make up
the number. Kept busy all the afternoon.
31st – On fatigues all day and inlying picket last night. Was digging
trenches this evening till 9 o’clock, then inlying picket again. They
don’t give us any rest at all. Quiet day in firing line. I heard that on
Sunday night the Turks blew up one of our trenches and captured it and the
support trench for a time, but our boys charged them with the bayonet and
won it back, the enemy losing heavily. I believe that the enemy lost 2,900
on Sunday during attacks on our lines – that is, killed. The destroyers
are busy this afternoon – got wind of a submarine, but did not get it,
June 1st – On fatigues and inlying picket; things quiet.
2nd – Went for swim this morning. I suppose we will have fatigues all
afternoon. Heard at the beach that there are [censored] troops at Lemnos;
hope its true. Easy afternoon; things quiet.
3rd – Quiet day; enemy doing very little firing. Reported our boats got
supply ships to enemy submarines; heard that submarines had been taken;
too, but I doubt it. Our warships are pounding away again this afternoon;
its good to hear them, and must be discomforting to the Turks. Going into
trenches again this afternoon. Hear that the boats are shelling villages a
couple of miles away, because there are troops there; expect there will be
an attack soon, if that’s the case.
4th – Got back about 6a.m. after quiet night. They are doing something at
the Cape, as we can hear the tremendous fire like a continuous roll of
thunder. Expect they are trying to take the hill; there is some talk of
them blowing it up with [censored] tons of guncotton. It must be a very
tough job. The Germans say it is impregnable, but I think they will find
their mistake before we finish. Its slow work, and we want lots more
troops, but when they come we should do it. There has not been a break in
the thunder of the big guns all day.
5th – Went on main guard at 9a.m. for 24 hours; fine and quiet.
6th – Attacked at Turkish trench on right on Friday night and took it, I
hear, but had to abandon it later. Hear that Turks are having a hard time
– 100,000 wounded at Constantinople. The general impression is that this
job will be taking a decisive turn soon; I hope so. The people are
supposed to be leaving Constantinople in hundreds. One of our submarines
did more damage in the Narrows. They say the Turk has a horror of the
Australians. Went to church parade after coming off guard; have cold in my
7th – Going to supports to-night. A good lot of shrapnel came over this
morning. Our crowd seems always in for the duty end of the stick.
8th – Got back from trenches at sunrise. I got out with woodcutting party
at 1p.m. Hear that Italy has declared war; hope its true, and that it
hastens the end. Finished woodcutting at 6p.m. Edgar is on a digging
party, and is working till midnight. They have to carry fighting order and
200 rounds of ammunition; they are working us to death. Some of the men
are looking wrecks, and the food is bad.
9th – On woodcutting, and later with engineer in trenches and supports
making sleeping places; back at 6p.m.; nothing much doing.
10th – Working all day with engineers behind firing line. We go into
firing line to-morrow for a while, probably till we move from here. Saw
about 200 Turks near our trenches at Quinn’s Post this morning that had
been shot the other night in an attack by one of our machine guns.
11th – Went into firing line this evening; on fatigues all morning. Edgar
is on observation work.
12th – Had very quiet night. Very poor breakfast – only two biscuits each.
Very heavy shrapnel fire from enemy this morning right over our trenches;
did a little damage, but no one in our company hit yet. Saw four killed
and one wounded by shrapnel about 20 yards away. They appeared to have
just come out of the firing line for some reason; they would belong to the
4th Battalion, I should say. It’s a wonder they don’t get a lot more than
they do; we all have some close calls at times. Wish it was all over – war
is a terrible business.
13th – Quiet day; went on duty at 6 for 48 hours’ observation. We have to
work double shifts now on account of the shortage of men. I am on No. 2
post in firing line. Dysentery bad, so are the flies.
14th – On observation duty.
15th – On observation duty. Our trenches got knocked about by enemy shells
this morning, but no one was hit; plenty of dirt flying about. Got
relieved by 13th platoon for three days. Just got orders to stand to all
night; enemy must be going to attack. Got no sleep.
16th – Had fair night; very bad with dysentery, so is Edgar. I can’t eat
the food; feeling weak and ill, and could not do fatigues, and no good
reporting to the doctor, as he only gives pills. Very heavy shell fire
this afternoon; eight killed and ten wounded in our trenches. Two of them,
poor chaps, were taken out in little pieces which took a lot of finding in
the dirt they were mixed up with; nearly all of them were buried.
17th – Had fair night, though there was a lot of bomb-throwing on the
left. More big shells to-day. One nearly smothered us with dirt. Dysentery
a little better, but very weak; I collapsed last night on my way back, and
some fellows had to help me to my bunk. Nearly everyone is bad more or
less, and barcoo rot is spreading. I have it pretty badly. If they don’t
give us a change soon we will all be down.
18th – Going into firing line again to-day. On fatigues, and don’t go into
firing line till to-morrow. Corporal Cole shot through head this morning
and died almost immediately. Was only 21 years of age.
19th – Went to firing line 10a.m. Am not on first shift.
20th – Still in firing line. Had a lot of “hurry up” to-night. Something
doing at the sniper’s trench; had a bit of a fire fight.
21st – On observation duty; nothing much doing.
22nd – Still on observation duty; got relieved for to-night. Want a sleep
23rd – Go on duty again at 7p.m. with Edgar. Things quiet. The Turks are
doing a lot of digging and making new trenches close to ours. We may be
able to blow up a few of them later on; both sides are busy sapping and
mining; can hear them working under parts of our trenches; hope they don’t
blow us up first.
24th – Still on observation duty. Very bad with dysentery again.
25th – Got relieved at 10a.m. by 15th Platoon; will be in again in three
days. Suppose will be getting plenty of fatigues while in the supports.
The Lord Nelson and five destroyers came up this afternoon to Gabe Tepe
and bombarded a magazine and store, and succeeded in destroying them.
26th – Went to beach this afternoon. Shrapnel heavy, and saw bunch of men
in swimming get hit by two shells, which landed right amongst them; must
have caught a lot.
27th – Turks made feeble attack early this morning, but only a few came
out. They are afraid of our fire, and I don’t wonder at it, as every time
they attack they lose enormously. I expect we will get a taste of it
before long again. On fatigues, and went to church this evening behind
trenches, and enjoyed service.
28th – Went to firing line again at 10a.m. for six days. Am on observation
duty with Edgar. Had a lot of rifle fire this afternoon. Some of their
shells hit our parapet, and one buried seven of our men just a few yards
from us. Six of them went to hospital, but, strange to say, none were
killed – a very lucky escape. Had another fire demonstration to-night, and
sang a few choruses to keep the Turks awake. Part of our line on the right
flank made an attack, emptied the enemy’s trenches and returned; had about
120 casualties. It is all done to keep them from sending help to the Cape,
where the Tommies are making an attack.
29th – Still on duty, but have a spell of 24 hours to-morrow. Enemy made
an attack at Quinn’s Post, and lost about 250 dead. Our artillery played
the deuce with them. We had a duet and thunderstorm when the enemy made
the attack – suppose they thought the dark would hide them. Enemy were
reinforced today, and we had a very heavy fusillade. I was on observation
duty with Edgar at the time. Our casualties were comparatively light, I
believe. We are supposed to have made an advance at Cape Helles.
30th – Relieved at 8a.m. for a 24 hours’ spell. Rumors of a spell for a
week at Imbros, but suppose it will end in smoke, like the other. Imbros
is about 14 miles away from the shore. Very heavy gun fire at Cape all day
and night. The Turks must be having a rough time of it. We had a
thunderstorm to-night at 9.30, and very vivid lightning, and the enemy got
uneasy and did a lot of firing. Had a fair night after the storm passed
July 1st – Go on duty at 2p.m.
2nd – Quiet day. Went to beach for water after being relieved. Only doing
24 hours on at a time now; reinforcements make a difference, and a lot of
them are arriving lately. Major Lockhart brought me some cigarettes
to-day; he was wounded, and has just returned; cigarettes are very
acceptable. Very heavy firing at Cape this afternoon, they must be
3rd – Hear that Turks attacked in vast numbers at Cape on 30th and 1st,
and were repulsed with very heavy losses. Lot of firing at Cape last
4th – Relieved for three days in supports, hope fatigues are not heavy.
Had little rain last night. Have a cold; missed church; had bit of firing
at about 8 o’clock.
5th – Fatigues, and quiet night.
6th – Fatigues.
7th – Went to firing line for 6 days; not on duty yet, but go on
to-morrow; bit of a flutter about 10a.m.
8th – On observation duty 10a.m.
9th – On duty at No. 6 post.
10th – Relieved for 24 hours. Some of our big shells landed in Johnson’s
Gully this afternoon and did a bit of damage. The Lord Nelson came up with
six destroyers and did a bit of firing at something inland. We blew up
some of the enemy’s saps yesterday and made a bit of a commotion, and a
machine gun picked off the poor devils as they ran out – those who could
11th – On duty at 10a.m. for 24 hours, a long shift. Had a fire
demonstration to-night; things very warm. Another attack at the Cape.
12th – Another fire fight this morning. Very heavy shell fire on our
trenches. Edgar had a very narrow escape. A shell came through the
loophole where he was observing and took the plate with it and a bit of
the water bottle just behind him, where it exploded in the ground and
never hurt him. Several of our fellows went down to the hospital hit or
suffering from shock from shells bursting. A lot of shells landed on our
trench. There must be a lot of casualties in other parts. Just heard that
Major Lockhart got hit very badly and is not expected to recover. He was
one of the best. A lot of men are going out of the firing line wounded.
Heard later that Major Lockhart died.
13th – Relieved at 10a.m. Heavy shell fire this afternoon, and a lot of
casualties. One poor fellow had both legs taken off; don’t think he can
recover, although he seems cheerful enough. He had just returned from
being wounded. Some were blown to pieces. Saw remains of one man being
carried down in a parcel.
14th – More shells this afternoon. Our machine gun section got blown out;
one killed and several hurt. Went for swim and wrote home.
15th – Went for swim. Quiet day, with few shells after dinner.
16th – Went to firing line this morning. Don’t go on duty again till
to-morrow. Fair number of shells this evening – one on quarter-master’s
store; hope it does not run us short of provisions.
17th – On duty No. 3 post; quiet day. Heavy firing at Cape. Holy Communion
service at Brigadier’s headquarters at 6.30a.m.; missed it, being asleep.
18th – Quiet day. Went to beach for water. After being relieved at 10a.m.
saw eight men put out by two shells while I was there. Saw one being
carried along beach with face blown off. Went to church in evening; few
19th – On duty this morning; quiet day. Very heavy firing at Cape. They
seem to be having a tough job to take the hill.
20th – Relieved 10a.m.; went to beach for water.
21st – On duty at 10a.m.
22nd – Went into supports for three days at 10a.m.
23rd – Went for swim and water; got wood; fatigues; stand to at midnight.
24th – Had three “stand-to’s” last night; evidently expected an attack
25th – Firing line again. Will go to church if possible.
26th – Few shells and bombs, but don’t think much happened.
27th – Relieved for 24 hours; went for water and had a swim. Turks
dropping lot of shells to-day. Got some eggs at 2s 6d a dozen.
28th – An attack this morning, enemy losing 200; we had practically no
casualties; was not a very big attack. A good many saps have been blown up
lately; one went this morning; are mostly enemy saps.
29th – Went for water. Been fortunate enough to buy eggs and flour from
sailors, which they bring from Lemnos. They have been the saving of us as
far as dysentery goes.
30th – Heard of great victory for our troops near Persian Gulf, and hope
its true; gave enemy three cheers from trenches to celebrate occasion, and
they fired like mad.
31st – Went to supports for three days. A German “fly” dropped a few bombs
on our line this morning; bit of rifle fire last night.
August 1st – Quiet day; went to church and had good service; a big
Salvation Army chap gave it, and delivered a good sermon. He’s often been
in Inglewood; I’ve seen him there. He’s a big, stout chap; has Church of
2nd – Water fatigues; the big gun fire at Cape not so noticeable to-day.
3rd – Firing line again. On No. 1 post, with Edgar acting as corporal. A
Taube dropped some bombs about.
4th – Got hit with incendiary bomb on head at midnight just after coming
off shift, and burnt my scalp and clothes, but luckily my cap comforter
saved me from being very badly burned. I was taken down to the hospital
after being dressed, and will be going away in fleet sweeper in the
morning. My face is black and charred. Luckily I was not asleep, or I’d
have got it in the face and been blinded.
5th – Left on fleet sweeper at midday. Was sorry to leave Edgar (who came
down with some of my belongings in the morning) especially as there is to
be a big attack in a few days. Three divisions of Tommies are landing
before the end of week; [censored] landed last night. We reached Lemnos at
5.30p.m., and harbor is full of all kinds of craft, from warships down to
6th – Left Lemnos at 5.30p.m. for Alexandria; won’t be away long.
7th – Grand to have a bed to sleep in, and no kit to wear all night. My
head is doing well. Had beard shaved off to-day. Meals are fairly good.
8th – Had quiet day. Will reach Alexandria to-night. Fancy, I finished
this diary on the day I started it, this day last year. Will post it home
to-morrow, and start another. It is my birthday, too. Anxious that I
should start this diary also on my birthday and finish it for post on my
Another snippet transcribed by Heather from the Inglewood
Advertiser, 6/8/1915: A further batch of letters from soldiers at the
front arrived on Wednesday, and were keenly welcomed by relatives and
friends. An idea as to the difficulties experienced by the men in
attending their correspondence may be gained by the fact that in one
instance the inside of a cigarette box was used, the author of this novel
writing pad being Private H. Morse, while in another, two cards which bore
a message from Private F.H. Symonds were stuck together with jam. Occupation: In his enlistment papers
in 1914, Frederick is listed as an agent. On his return from the War, he was
granted 47 acres of land in Quantong, on which he planted orchards. The
Horsham Times (Victoria) 8 July 1919 p4 LAND FOR A SOLDIER
The Secretary of the Shire of Wimmera (Mr. James Hocking) has
received an intimation from the Secretary of the Closer Settlement Board
(Mr. James W. Butler) stating that with reference to Mr. Allen Knight's
land, in the parish of Quantong, 47 acres 39 perches, he wished to inform
him that the Closer Settlement Board had agreed to purchase it on behalf
of Mr. F. H. Symonds, a returned soldier, of Quantong.
Horsham Times (Victoria) 7 April 1936 p8 New
There was a large attendance at the Murtoa Church of England, when
the Rev. F. H. Symonds was instituted to the parish of Murtoa by the
Venerable Archdeacon Best. The address was given by the Rev. N. S.
Fettell, Rural Dean of Stawell. There were clergy present from all parts
of the rural deanery. After the ceremony the people adjourned to the
parish hall where various speakers representing the clergy and vestry
welcomed the new vicar to the district. After a response by the vicar,
Mrs. Symonds was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Miss Sudholz.
Married: Mary Florence Goode on 24 April
1913, in St Stephen, Portland, Victoria, Australia The
Horsham Times (Victoria) 2 May 1913 p5 A pretty and popular wedding (writes a Portland
correspondent) was celebrated at St. Stephen's Church of England on
Thursday afternoon last week in the presence of a crowded congregation,
the contracting parties being Mr. George Standish Symonds (manager of the
Bank of Victoria, Horsham), and Miss Mary Florence Goode, eldest daughter
of Mr. E. A. Goode, manager of the Portland branch of the Bank of
Victoria. The ceremony was performed by Canon Carmichael. The bride, who
was given away by her father, wore a charming gown of satin charmeuse with
an over-dress of ninon. The bridesmaid was Miss Doris Goode, who wore a
modish frock of pink satin charmeuse, and ninon over dress. Mr. Edgar
Symonds acted as best man. After the ceremony a reception was held at the
residence of the bride's father, and later in the day the happy couple
left by motor on their honeymoon tour.
Guardian (Victoria) 25 April 1913 p2 WEDDING.—Considerable interest was
manifest locally for some time in the approaching marriage of Miss Goode,
daughter of Mr E. A. Goode, the popular manager of the Portland branch of
the Bank of Victoria, to Mr. G. Simmons, bank manager, Horsham. The date
fixed for the wedding was the 24th inst, and S. Stephens' church was quite
an attraction for a number of young ladies on the morning of that day, and
which was subsequently found to be due to extensive floral decorations for
the wedding, which took place at 2.30 that afternoon. The church was
filled, almost packed, by residents of all classes, as Miss Maimie Goode,
as she was very familiarly called, was one of the most popular of our
young ladies. The greatest interest was taken in the ceremony, which was
conducted by Canon Carmichael in his customary pleasant manner. As the
happy couple left the church more than the usual tokens of appreciation
were showered on them. The bride looked charming in white satin, and wore
the customary wreath and veil, and carried a handsome shower bouquet. She
was attended by her sister, Miss Doris, whose costume was pink with shower
bouquet to match. The bridegroom was supported by his brother, and
suspended over the contracting parties were the letters M. and G. very
tastefully arranged, as indeed were all the floral decorations. The choir
was in attendance and sang the Wedding Hymn. The bride's travelling dress
was navy blue, with hat to match. Mr and Mrs Simmons left by motor, and
will have the best wishes of Portlanders for a happy wedded life.
Occupation: Bank Manager. In 1922 George was
promoted from being the manager of the Bank of Victoria in Horsham, a
position it seems he had held for 11 years, to manager of the Geelong branch
of the Bank of Victoria. The
Horsham Times (Victoria) 17 November 1922 p3 Valedictory DEPARTURE OF MR. SYMONDS. A SOCIAL EVENING AND PRESENTATIONS.
On Monday evening the large upstairs hall of Perring's Cafe was
crowded with town and district people to do honor to Mr. G. S. Symonds,
manager of the Hor sham branch of the Bank of Victoria, on the eve of his
departure for Melbourne, where he has to report at headquarters, it being
asserted that his transference means promotion in the service of the bank.
The catering was done in Mr. Perring's best style, and with a fine musical
programme and a variety of speakers, the evening passed pleasantly and
showed the esteem in which Mr. Symonds was held. The old musical
favorites—Messrs C. Frencham, A. Stanistreet, and J. Garland—sang to an
appreciative audience, and novelty was given to the programme by the
introduction of new talent, Mr. H. McWhinney singing sweetly and Mr. C.
Mutten giving recitations that were new in a finished manner, while Mr. S.
C. Tonge (relieving manager at the Union Bank) capably filled the position
The Mayor (Cr. D. Anderson) said it was gratifying to see such a
large gathering to meet Mr. Symonds. It was pleasing to see all sections
of the community represented—the clients of the Bank of Victoria, Mr.
Symonds' own friends, the sporting community, the social element, and his
brother bankers —to give him a send-off. He read several apologies for
After the loyal toast had been honored, Mr. J. Bennett (on behalf
of the town) proposed the toast of the Guest. He said he had been rather
honored in being asked to propose the toast of a gentleman, who, during
the past 11 years; had taken such a keen interest in the affairs of the
town as Mr. Symonds had done. He was quite pleased to propose the toast,
as Mr. Symonds and his family had been personal friends ever since they
came to Horsham. They had only to look at what their guest had taken on
and they would realise that he was thorough. No matter what institution he
was connected with he went into it with the whole of his heart, and he was
told that if their overdraft were getting a little too high he had a nice
way of bring ing that fact under their notice. One did feel regret when
good friends were leaving, but he was quite satisfied that Mr. Symonds'
removal from Horsham meant substantial promotion, and he was sure that he
would make good in the future. When Mr. Symonds came to Horsham his bank
was not in the state it was to-day, and the improvement was due to the
sterling qualities of him as a bank manager and a good citizen. He would
like to express, on behalf of the townspeople, their very good wishes for
the future welfare of himself, Mrs. Symonds and Ted. He trusted they would
see him here at intervals, and he trusted that he would get on to some
billet that would bring him here occasionally. On behalf of the
townspeople, himself and his wife he wished him God-speed. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Harold Smith, on behalf of the country people, said he could
endorse everything that Mr. Bennett had said. Speaking on behalf of the
country clients of the bank—and he could see many of them here, from
Peppers Plains and Gymbowen—he did not think there was ever a manager who
had won the esteem and respect that Mr. Symonds had done. As a banker he
had been courteous and kind, and to a great extent a very solid adviser
indeed. A gathering like this only expressed the respect in which he was
held by the country people. He was delayed coming here that evening
answering telephone calls expresing the regrets of people who could not
come. He could assure Mr. Symonds that they felt his loss very keenly, and
they could only feel that it was promotion for him, and that tempered the
parting very much. He joined with Mr. Bennett in wishing Mr. Symonds and
his family continued success. (Applause.)
Mr. F. J. Millar, speaking on behalf of the hospital, said it was
with mingled feelings of pleasure and regret that he rose as president for
the time being of Horsham Hospital to support this toast—a pleasure
because he was privileged to do honor to such a deserving citizen as Mr.
Symonds, a pleasure also to hear that this transfer meant promotion to him
in the service of the bank he represented. The regrets were that they were
losing the services of such a valued committee-man and ex-president as Mr.
Symonds. If was about seven years ago that he became a committee-man, and
it was only after three years' service that they decided to elect him as
president, and this office he had filled with credit for over three years.
Looking through the records of the hospital he found that, with the
exception of Mr Cathcart, who filled the office of president for four
years, there was no one who had filled it so long as Mr. Symonds. To those
who did not know what the office of president meant, he could tell them it
was no sinecure. It meant attendance at the hospital every Thursday
afternoon, attendance at every committee meeting, attendance at every
general meeting, and attendance at every meeting to support the efforts
for getting funds for the institution, including stump speeches in the
open air—a thing he considered the hardest thing to do—to him at any rate.
Mr. Symonds had filled the office with credit and conspicuous ability
throughout his terms of president, and it was with feelings of regret that
they lost his services. He joined with them all in wishing Mr. Symonds and
his family success. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. P. Learmonth, president of the Bowling Club, in supporting the
toast, said that not the least important part was the sporting part of the
community. Nowhere would Mr. Symonds be so much missed as he would be on
the bowling green. Not only was he their leading bowler, but he also took
a keen interest in the game. They were not disheartened at their loss, for
they had a lot of colts coming on. Not only was Mr. Symonds a good man on
the bowling green, but Mrs. Symonds was not only a good golfer but also a
jolly good sport. He was sorry indeed to lose them; they would be a big
loss. He hoped that wherever he went he would find a good bowling green
for himself and a good golf links for Mrs Symonds. (Applause.)
Mr. G. W. Cochrane, president of the Returned Soldiers'
Association, said he had been deputed by the Horsham branch to mention to
Mr. Symonds a little of the appreciation the branch had felt for the
services he had rendered the league since its inception in the town. Away
back when their league was formed by three men in the street they
approached Mr. Symonds. He gave them an interested hearing, and later when
it was the public desire of the citizens to erect a suitable memorial in
the town it was then that Mr. Symonds came to help. At a big public
meeting the citizens saw fit to appoint Mr. Symonds president, and he, as
secretary, could tell them there was not one stone left unturned to make
it a success. Whenever they required advice about finance they had gone to
him and got what they were looking for. They hoped that his successor
would tender to them the same feelings as Mr Symonds had done. He had a
pleasing duty to perform on behalf of the soldiers—the presentation of a
small token—and he asked him to accept this fountain pen as small gift
from the diggers of Horsham. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Thomas Porker, Peppers Plains, said he was very pleased to be
present to endorse the remarks that had been made. Up in the Mallee people
spoke well of Mr. Symonds for his good judgment, good nature and his
treatment of them in banking affairs. (Cheers.)
Mr. J. McRae, Jung, said they were aware that, he was not a
resident of Horsham. He was a resident of a much more important
place—(laughter and hear, hear)—but he had come in contact with the guest
of the evening more praticularly in connection with the hospital. He had
the honor to be one of the country members of the committee, and he could
say with all sincerity that Mr. Symonds had carried out the duties of
president in a way that would be hard to follow. Mr. F. Millar would be a
worthy successor, and he had remarked about the difficulty of making stump
speeches. Well, he had heard Mr. Millar make one at Jung, and the result
was very gratifying to the hospital. The success of the hospital was due
to the good work that Mr. Symonds had put in. They regretted this parting,
especially as he had taken such an interest in the district but when
promotion came with it there was something that lessened the regret.
Mr. C. Davies said that as the oldest resident banker here he
thought it incumbent on him to pay his tribute to their guest. Mr. Symonds
was the president of the associated banks here, and that stamped him as
being a man of ability. The occasion when he made a speech at the
presentation to Mrs. Anderson showed that he had the whole future of the
hospital at heart. They saw little of Mr. Symonds on the street, and it
was evident that he gave most of his time to his clients. In losing Mr.
Symonds he felt that they were losing a good friend. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. J. R. Kelly, Murra Warra, said that as a bank manager, Mr.
Symonds was second to none. They might get a man who was as good, but they
could not get a better one. Listening to the speakers he learnt that Mr.
Symonds had been put in everything, but what pleased him most was his
association with the hospital. They would just have to put up with it, for
what would be their loss would be another place's gain. (Cheers.)
Mr. Henry Byrne, Dooen, said he was here as one of the oldest
clients of the bank. The bank had had many managers here, but his favorite
had been Mr Symonds. He was the man who carted the slates for the roof of
the bank, and when the bank opened he joined it and had never left it. Mr.
Symonds had been a friend to him in everything, and he was sorry to lose
him. (Hear, hear.)
Rev. Father Howell said that since he had come in he had heard
enough to understand the estimation in which Mr. Symonds was held. There
was no citizen here could honestly say that he held him in higher
estimation than he did. It was not so much for his own qualities as for
what he knew of his father and mother. He had lived in Inglewood where Mr.
Symonds' father lived. He lived there for 11 years, and had a church
account which was considerable, and he found no one better than Mr.
Symonds, sen., to advise him—a man who could give sound advice in the
spending of money. As a business man and a banker he respected his father,
and he was quite satisfied that his son here was doing the same. He had
heard reference made to his association with the institutions here. He
thought these clubs had very live members and were quite capable of
looking after themselves. The one thing that sometimes lacked was public
charity, and the thing was to get live members of the committee who would
work on that committee and get the money out of the pockets of the people.
One man who could do that was Mr. Symonds. He had been president of the
Stawell Hospital, and he remembered the working of it, but no institution
could be better worked than the one here, and he thought a great deal of
the credit for that reflected upon the president. (Hear, hear.) As a
social man he thought Mr. Symonds would hold his own with any man. He was
not very demonstrative, but he had those quiet social qualities that held
a man, and he was sure that when people heard of his further promotion
they would rejoice. He rejoiced at his present promotion. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. J. F. Curran complimented Mr. Symonds for his work as treasurer
of the Horsham Race Club, the Football Club and the Trotting Club. He
spoke highly of what he had done for the Racing Club. Mr. James Anderson,
on behalf of the president of the Trotting Club (Mr. Shearwood), thanked
Mr. Symonds for what he had done for the club.
On rising to make the presentation to Mr. Symonds, the Mayor said
that on behalf of the clients of the bank and friends in Horsham he had
been asked to perform that pleasing duty. It was an old saying that when
the heart was full the mind was empty, and he was sure their hearts were
full at Mr. Symonds going away, but they did not forget the happy times
they had to gether. A banker's position was one of great trust and one of
great restrictions as he could not enter into the commercial activities
that his customers were engaged on, and therefore it was very fitting when
he was leaving them that they should make up to him what he might have
lost. Mr. Symonds had earned a very honored place. He would receive
promotion from his bank. There was no doubt about that. (Hear, hear.)
After he had finished his work to his customers and to his head office, he
had given his time to the charitable institutions and the sporting clubs
of the town. What he had done for the hospital would stand, as a monument,
and as he had done all that so well his friends thought they would not
like him to go away without presenting him with something tangible to
remind him of the happy times they had spent with him. He had always worn
the white flower of a blameless life, and he went away with their best
good will and their heartiest wishes that the future might hold for him
and his family. Therefore, on behalf of the clients and friends he asked
him to accept this little token—a wallet of notes—hoping that it would
remind him of the pleasant days he had spent in Horsham. (Cheers.)
When Mr. Symonds rose to respond he was loudly cheered. He said
that one could not be human if he did not feel honored and proud to see
the gathering of friends here to wish him good luck and Godspeed in his
new province. He felt that it was very hard indeed to express the inward
feelings he had that evening. He could assure them it was not an easy
matter to break with the friends he had made in the town and district of
this prosperous Wimmera. He had been here 11 years, and it was gratifying
to hear from his old friends and clients of the bank the expressions of
goodwill that had been made. He had not done anything since he had been
here any more than any ordinary citizen who had the welfare of the town at
heart. He had done his little bit—being a bird of passage—to help on the
clubs and tried to give a little vim to the place. His many friends had
put him in important positions in their clubs and institutions, and it was
very gratifying for him to hear what they had said. He thought their
remarks were genuine, for there seemed to be a true ring about this
meeting, and that was more to him than any gift. He had had a pleasant
time here ; he had made many friends; his clients had been very loyal to
him. This had made his task in banking a very easy one, and he would like
to express his thanks to all those gentlemen, his deep appreciation of
their goodwill and friendship to him during his stay here. When he looked
round and saw the faces of men who had come miles to say goodbye to him he
considered it a very great honor and an honor that he much appreciated. He
sincerely hoped that at some future time, if it be his good fortune to
come back to this great and prosperous town, to reunite the friendships he
had made during his stay here. He must thank the president of the hospital
for what he said. His services had been nothing—absolutely nothing. He had
been favored with the good fortune of having one woman in this town who
knew what the word charity meant, and that woman had helped him out of all
his difficulties—(hear, hear)—and it was to her alone that stood the
credit of the hospital's sound financial position to-day. He took none of
it himself, for he knew only too well what it would have meant without
that assistance. There was no need to mention that lady's name, for she
was known throughout for her good works. He thanked Messrs Learmonth,
Cochrane, Davies, Anderson, the Rev. Father Howell and those men from the
country who had spoken so kindly on his behalf. He could assure them that
he would never forget this gathering, and he hoped to have the privilege
of coming back on some future date so renew the friendships he had made.
Mr. F. Langlands proposed the toast of Mr. J. E. Williams, Mr.
Symonds' successor. He congratulated him on his promotion to such an
important position in Horsham, and extended to him a warm welcome. This
sentiment was endorsed by the Mayor, who extended him a warm welcome on
behalf of the citizens.
In responding, Mr. Williams made a vigorous speech, in the course
of which he said that 11 years ago he was the accountant at the Horsham
branch under Mr. Symonds.
The toasts of the performers (proposed by Mr. James Anderson and
responded to by Mr Stanistreet) and the Chairman terminated the
Horsham Times (Victoria) 24 November 1922 p5 Mr. G. Symonds, of the Bank of Victoria, who
prior to leaving Horsham was unaware of his ultimate destination, has been
appointed manager of the Geelong branch. This means substantial promotion
to Mr. Symonds. Death: 1958, in East Geelong,
Buried: 17 June 1958 in Geelong Eastern
Cemetery, Victoria, Australia, aged 81. George is buried in grave
Married: William Henry McCaul in 1913 in
William was born in 1877 in New Zealand, the son of George and Marion
McCaul. William was appointed as junior clerk to the Wanganui Borough
Council in September 1896 (Wanganui Herald 16 September 1896 p4) and
in 1918 he is listed as the assistant Town Clerk in Wanganui (Wanganui Chronicle 3 October 1918 p7).
William was an able violinist and honorary secretary of the opera house in
Wanganui. He died in 1962 in New Zealand, and was buried in Aramoho
cemetery, Wanganui, on 21 December 1962 (Block H Division 7 Plot 359), aged
86. His address is recorded as 37 Liffiton Street and his occupation as
clerk. Death: 1951, in New Zealand, aged 65
Hartrick on 15 April 1878 in Anderson's Creek (a.k.a Warrandyte),
Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) 20 April 1878 p1 SYMONDS—HARTRICK.—On the 15th inst., at
Warrandyte, by the Rev. A. W. Cresswell, Samuel, third son of Edw. S.
Symonds, Esq., Under-treasurer, to Jane, eldest daughter of Geo. S.
Hartrick, Esq., late of Walhalla.
Occupation: Bank Manager. In 1877 Samuel was
an accountant in the Bank of Victoria in Walhalla (Gippsland Times (Victoria) 27 July 1877 p4)
and at the birth of his first son, George, in 1879 he was working for the
bank of Victoria in Guildford, Victoria. In 1884, then manager of the Bank
of Victoria in Port Albert, Samuel transferred back to Walhalla as bank
manager. While there the bank was destroyed in a massive fire in 1888.
Samuel and Jane also suffered substantial personal property losses in the
fire. By the birth of his son, Edgar, in 1892, Samuel was the manager of the
Bank of Victoria in Inglewood, which position he still held when his
youngest son was born in 1897.
Times (Victoria) 11 July 1884 p3 After a brief reprieve so far as the transfer of
Mr S. Symonds from Port Albert to Walhalla is concerned, and during which
it was understood that his salary had been in increased by the same amount
implied by the removal, we learn that the gentleman in question has at
length been instructed to hold himself in readiness to depart for the
quartz mining township abovementioned. This matter having been decided by
the head office, it only remains (says the Standard)
for the friends of Mr Symonds to take prompt action in the direction of
presenting him with some tangible proof of the esteem in which he has been
held for several years past, not only as manager of the Bank of Victoria
at Port Albert, but as an active and valued member of the social circle,
who has identified himself with our public institutions in such a way as
to win the warm appreciation of all concerned.
Record (Victoria) 27 November 1888 p9 IMMENSE FIRE AT
THE TOWN ALMOST DESTROYED.
£80,000 WORTH OF DAMAGE.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
The most terrible blow that this town has ever felt was experienced
on Saturday night, when a fire broke out which laid the whole business
part in ruins, 26 places being demolished and many families rendered
homeless, while others were utterly ruined.
The conflagration began at a little after nine o'clock in the
dressmaking department of Mr. J. Crawford's drapery establishment. A lady
named Darcy was being fitted with a bodice when the dressmaker, who held a
lighted candle in her hand, brought it too near some straw hats, and the
building being constructed of the flimsiest materials, the whole premises
were ablaze in a few moments in spite of Mr. Crawford's attempts to arrest
the fire. Then began the terrible havoc. The flames rushed to a great
height, and threatened Mr. Jolly's stationer's shop on the other side of
the narrow creek, and Harris and Buchanan's store on the east side of
Crawford's. Scores of willing workers tried hard, and would have succeeded
in saving Mr. Jolly's, but the cry "dynamite," which was emphasized by the
reports of a couple of cartridges, rang through the air, and the terror
stricken men fled, knowing that upwards of 15 cwt. of dynamite was stored
at the abovenamed store. It was afterwards seen that the explosive, though
far in a tunnel, had all but gone, as the tunnel door had been burned
away, and even one of the barrels was scorched. A strong wind was blowing
at the time, and the raging flames travelled with amazing swiftness, and
swept over the stores of Harris and Buchanan, Mr. Cowl's chemist's shop,
Fielchenfield's the draper's, Middleton's the tailor's, Kraetzer's Long
Tunnel Hotel, and sweeping up the rear of these places, destroyed the
house of a man named James Taylor, after which the residence of Mr. Curry,
tailor, and his shop were involved in the ruin. The office of the Wallalla
Chronicle sharing their fate almost at the same time; the fire
ceasing its ravages at this point where a high stone retaining wall saved
the Grand Junction Hotel and the tenements beyond. The fire might have
been confined to one side of the street had not some fool rushed out of
Crawford's with a blazing roll, which he deposited on Mr. Trick's office
verandah and set this on fire, and also Mr. Brockwell's barber's shop, and
that of Mr. Dunn, grocer, were destroyed. In the meantime the march of the
destroyer was rapid in the other direction. From Jolly's it caught the
shop of Mr. Mainland, attached to the Mechanics' Institute, and very soon
the building and its fine library of over 1000 volumes and complete little
museum were demolished, only a few trifling things beside the piano being
saved. The Bank of Victoria was the next to go, and by dint of the most
unflagging exertions the store of J. L. Roberts was saved, though all the
fencing and outer buildings went. In the meantime the terrific heat caused
the utmost alarm to be felt for the Bank of Australasia, which at last
succumbed to the destructive element, the books and cash, however, being
carried off safely by Mr. M'Gan, the teller, and Mr. Elston, the
ledger-keeper. All attention was now con fined to the Empire Hotel, kept
by Mr R. Mill, the late popular host of the Club Hotel, Traralgon.
Attached to this building, all constructed of wood, were the office of Mr.
C. Regardt, stock-broker, J. Williams, hairdresser, next to these the
butcher's shop of Messrs. Jolly, with the Catholic Church in the rear.
These places were a source of great danger to the post office, which,
though it became ignited, was at length rescued, and the fire proceeded no
further. The scene was terrifically grand, and the most intense excitement
prevailed during the struggle made by the men at the Long Tunnel battery
to save the building, which they did, thus saving many thousand pounds
worth of machinery, and scores of men from being thrown out of employment.
Passing over the battery, which was at one time wrapped in fire, the
flames ran up the side of the immense hill, and consumed a large quantity
of trees. INCIDENTS.
During the course of the fire many exciting incidents took place. Mrs.
Fielchenfeld was bathing her youngest girl, and had to fly with the naked
child in her arms, while the other children were carried out in their
nightdresses. Mr. John Finlayson, while rescuing a baby, was badly burned,
but the most serious incidents were the number of robberies which took
place. Mrs. Symonds had a watch and some jewellery stolen out of her chest
of drawers. Miss Curry lost a watch, and the quantity of other property
stolen was very great, Mr. Middleton being a principal sufferer. Drink of
all kinds was taken from the hotels before the very eyes of the owners. THE LOSSES.
The total loss is very great, and cannot be less than £80,000. Mr.
Crawford has lost very heavily, being only insured for about third of his
stock, He only began business about three months' ago. Mr. Mill has lost
nearly everything, and is not nearly covered by insurance. Like Mr.
Crawford, he was only a new-comer. Mr. F. S. Carson, of the Chronicle,
and at one time editor of the Record,
has lost type, stock and machinery to the value of £200, and was not
insured. Mr. Jolly's building was insured for only £160, and he has lost
£500 of stock. Harris and Buchanan lost £3000, only partly covered by
insurance. J. Mainland £150, in the Imperial. R. H. Cowl loses £1200,
insured for £650 in various offices. Mr. Fielchenfeld £2500 in the
Norwich. The Mechanics in the Commercial Union for £600. Mrs. Alexander,
the librarian, has lost everything. The Bank of Victoria was insured in
the Victoria for £1500, Mr. Symonds, the manager, losing £300 worth, not
insured. The church was insured for £300, in the Comnmercial Union. W. and
G. Jolly were not insured, nor were Messrs. Curry, Beadmore, or Taylor.
Buried: 5 September 1931 in Boroondara
General Cemetery, Kew, Victoria, Australia, aged 81. Samuel is buried in
grave IND A 0449. The
Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) 5 September 1931 p13 SYMONDS.—The Friends of the late Mr. S. SYMONDS
are respectfully informed that his remains will be interred in the
The funeral is appointed to move from his late residence, 5 Paxton
street, East Malvern, THIS DAY (Saturday), at 3 o'clock.
BURTON BROS., Undertakers, Main street, Lilydale. 'Phone 11.
Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) 4 February 1938 p2 AGED
WIDOW'S BEQUEST Probate Granted
Probate of a will which was destroyed some years ago in the belief
that it was valueless was granted by the Chief Justice (Sir Frederick
Mann) in the Practice Court yesterday. As a result a widow aged 80 years,
who is in hospital, will inherit a substantial sum which would otherwise
have been divided between her and her five children.
Samuel Symonds, of Inglewood, bank manager, who made his will in
1917, as a result of a sermon he heard preached at Inglewood, died in
1931. He left his son, Harry Stace Symonds, the insignia of St. Michael
and St. George, left to him by his father. Edward Stace Symonds, and the
rest of his estate he left to his widow. He appointed his widow, Jane
Symonds, and his son, George Standish Symonds, to be executrix and
executor of his will. To His Mother
George Standish Symonds, who yesterday made application for the
grant of probate of the will, said in an affidavit that he read the will
after the death of his father and immediately handed it to his mother. She
placed it in a box with other papers. From time to time she sorted the
papers and burned such as she thought valueless. She believed that the
only property of which her husband died possessed was a piece of land at
Laverton valued at £5, and so, considering the will valueless, burned it.
Mr. H. T. Frederico, who appeared for the applicant, said that last
year Samuel Symonds inherited £780 from his father's estate. That was the
reason why probate of the will was being sought after such a lapse of
time. A recollection of the contents of the will was sworn to by the widow
and the applicant.
Mr. R. R. Marsh, who appeared for the next-of-kin — four of the
children— consented to the grant of probate.
Mr. Frederico was instructed by Messrs. Lynch and MacDonald, and
Mr. Marsh by Mr. C. J. Milne.
Occupation: Bank clerk.
In July 1917 Samuel was promoted from his position as a bank officer for the
Bank of Victoria in Avoca to the Murchison branch of the bank. The
Ballarat Courier (Victoria) 13 July 1917 p5 AVOCA.
BANK OFFICER TRANSFERRED.
Mr. S. V. Symonds, of the staff of the Bank of Victoria at Avoco, has been
promoted and transferred to Murchison. He was entertained on Thursday by
the manager (Mr. J. H. Deeble) and his friends, and presented with several
gifts. Death: 2 March 1924, in Coleraine,
Victoria, Australia, aged 26 The
Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) 6 March 1924 p1 SYMONDS.—On the 2nd March, at Coleraine, Victor
Samuel, dearly beloved youngest son of Samuel Symonds, Bank of Victoria,
Inglewood, aged 26 years.