The AIF Project

William John SYMONS

Date of birth12 July 1889
Place of birthEaglehawk, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
Address8 Burchett Street, East Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 9"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Emma Symons, 8 Burchett Street, Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 5 years in the 5th Bn, Citizen Military Forces, and 3 years in the 60th Bn, CMF.
Enlistment date17 August 1914
Place of enlistmentCarlton, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentColour Sergeant
Unit name7th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/24/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A20 Hororata on 19 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollCaptain
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Battalion


Unit: 37th Battalion
Promotion date: 1 May 1916

FateReturned to Australia 16 August 1918

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery on the night of 8th-9th August, 1915, at Lone Pine trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He was in command of the right section of the newly capturred trenches held by his battalion, and repelled several counter attacks with great coolness. At about 5 a.m. on 9th August a series of determined attacks were made by the enemy on the isolated sap, and six officers were in succession killed or severely wounded, a portion of the sap being lost. Lieutenant Symons then led a charge and retook the lost sap, shooting two Turks with his revolver. The sap was under hostile fire from three sides, and Lieutenant Symons withdrew some fiftenn yards to a spot where some overhead cover could be obtained, and, in the face of heavy fire, built up a sand barricade. The enemy succeeded in setting fire to the fascines and woodwork of the head cover, but Lieutenant Symons extinguished the fire and rebuilt the barricade. His coolneess and determination finally compelled the enemy to discontinue their attacks.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 28
Date: 24 February 1916

Discharge date17 December 1918
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915.

Promoted 2nd Lieutenant, Gallipoli, 26 April 1915.

Admitted to Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 28 August 1915 (gastro-enteritis); transferred to HS 'Devanha', 29 August 1915; to England and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 12 September 1915.

Awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine.

Promoted Lieutenant, Lemnos, 2 November 1915.

Commenced return to Australia on board 'Arawa', 27 January 1916; disembarked Melbourne, 12 March 1916.

Promoted Captain, 1 May 1916.

Re-embarked Melbourne, 3 June 1916, with 37th Bn, on board HT 'Persic'; disembarked Plymouth, England 25 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 November 1916.

On leave in France, 5 May 1917; rejoined unit from leave, 15 May 1917.

Wounded in action, 7 June 1917 (gassed), and admitted same day to New Zealand Stationary Hospital; transferred by Ambulance Train to St Johns Ambulance, Etaples, 15 June 1917; to England, 20 June 1917, and admitted same day to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth; discharged to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 20 September 1917; to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 25 September 1917.

Placed on Seconded List, 7 June 1917; on Supernumerary List, 8 September 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 12 January 1918; rejoined unit and restored to establishment.

On leave to Paris, 4 March 1918; rejoined unit from leave, 13 March 1918.

To England to attend School of Musketry, Haysling School, 24 June 1918.

Commenced return to Australia on board T5, to connect with SS 'Makura', Vancouver, at own expense; disembarked Sydney, 10 October 1918; appointment terminated, 17 December 1918.

Medals: Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Served in World War II in the [British] Home Guard; CO of 12th Bn, Leicestershire Home Guard, for 4 years.
Date of death24 June 1948
SourcesNAA: B2455, SYMONS William John

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.