Badge Number: 69061, Sub Branch: Gumeracha

SYMONDS , Claude

Service Number: 6905
Enlisted: 27 June 1915
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 11th Field Ambulance
Born: Chain of Ponds, South Australia, 14 April 1894
Home Town: Chain of Ponds, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: farmer
Died: 8 November 1988, aged 94 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Chain of Ponds Cemetery
Memorials: Cudlee Creek Millbrook Public School Roll of Honour, Gumeracha Town Hall WW1 Roll of Honor, Kersbrook Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

27 Jun 1915: Enlisted
10 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, 6905, 8th Field Ambulance, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '22' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ascanius embarkation_ship_number: A11 public_note: ''
10 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, 6905, 8th Field Ambulance, HMAT Ascanius, Melbourne
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Driver, 6905, 11th Field Ambulance

Claude Symonds

NAME: Claude James Garfield Symonds
PARENTS: John Symonds and Amelia Symonds (nee Caust)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Chain of Ponds
DATE OF BIRTH: 14 April 1894
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 21 years 2 months
NEXT OF KIN: Mother,Amelia Caust
RELIGION: Methodist
RANK: Private / Driver 11th Field Ambulance
MEMORIALS: Cudlee Creek /Millbrook Public School Roll of Honour; Gumeracha Town Hall World War One Roll of Honor; Kersbrook Roll of Honor.
Claude was the second son of John and Amelia Symonds, who farmed in the Chain of Ponds area. One of six children, he attended Millbrook Primary School. On the family property, Claude assisted with the milking and other farm chores. As a young man he enjoyed playing football and cricket.
Claude trained with K Group Base Infantry and the 8th Field Ambulance, prior to his unit, the 11th Field Ambulance embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 10 November 1915. During training at Mitcham Camp, he often went home to Kersbrook and went shooting through the scrub. When his unit reached Suez on 6 December
they had to carry their bags one and a half miles to their camp just to the northeast of Heliopolis. In Egypt, he was reprimanded for being absent without leave on 5 February. Claude served with the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station on 11 February 1916 and was transferred to the Field Ambulance at Tel-el-Kebir on 24 February. Claude was appalled with the poverty and filth of Cairo, stating, “Never have I been in such putrid, degraded holes… The streets are narrow and dirty, filled generally with fouls, donkeys, and half-dressed kids. The goods in the shops are covered with flies.”1. While in Egypt, Claude was waiting for a friend outside the Palace Hotel, when he was elated to bump into “Mac” Moore, “..a great friend from Gumeracha”. He continued to serve with his unit in Egypt until they were sent to France in July 1917.
During action in France on 21 September, Claude sustained wounds to the right thigh and cheek. He was sent to England for treatment at St.Andrew’s Hospital and admitted to Devonport Military Hospital on 29 September. Further treatment of his wounds was provided at Dartford Hospital in November. Until that time, he apparently had been much more fortunate and had been known as “Lucky Sim”.
In June 1918 Claude was stationed with the Medical Corps at Longbridge and Parkhouse, prior to being sent to Fouvant, France, via Southampton and rejoined the 15th Field Ambulance at Havre on 7 October. He was appointed Driver in France on 25 October and on 8 November chose to revert to the rank of private. Claude had leave in Paris from 1 February 1919 to 15 February. A bout of influenza necessitated treatment on 2 May and on 12 May he returned to Australia with the Field Ambulance on board Port Napier. He was discharged on 21 August 1919.
The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser of 5 September 1919 reported, “ A most enjoyable welcome and smoke social was held in the Town Hall on the 22nd August, when the members of the Gumeracha Football Club gave a most enthusiastic welcome home to the members of their club who had been to the front and done their share in the war…The patron (J. Hynes Esq.) then presented Lieuts M.Moore and L.Stevens, Privates R.Kelly, Claude Symonds, P.Farley, W.Coad, N.Hanna, A.Hanna, W.Pope, A.Nichols, Bert Quinn and Phil Turner each with a gold medal, with their names and the words “ Welcome home from the Gumeracha Football Club 1919,” inscribed thereon… A very enjoyable evening was brought to a close by the company singing “Australia”, “Rule Britannia,” and “Australia will be there.”
Claude was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
In 1922 he married Emmie Iris Pascoe, with whom he had five children: Garfield, Mary, Deane, Evelyn and Malcolm. He continued to work the inherited property as a mixed farm in the following years.
Claude, after having played for North Adelaide in the SANFL, captained Gumeracha Football Club in 1922 and 1923.
Claude Symonds died on 8 November 1988, aged 94 and was buried at the Chain of Ponds Cemetery.

Claude Symonds: The headstone reads: Symonds Emmie Iris 30-3-1895 – 25-2-1984; Claude James Garfield 14-4-1894 – 8-11-1988: Loved parents of Garfield, Mary, Deane, Evelyn & Malcolm. In Glory Now.

Source: www.naa;B2455; Symonds.C.J.G Barcode 8097699
www.vwma; Symonds.C.J.G
Footnotes: 1. Claude Symonds Diary courtesy of S.A. State Library.

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Biography contributed by Modbury High School

Before the war Claude Symonds lived in Chain of Ponds South Australia and he worked as a farmer in the local area.

Claude enlisted into the war on the 27th of June 1915 to be in the 8th Field Ambulance, which was the front line medical unit. His nominated next of kin was his mother, Amelia Symonds.

He departed Australia in November 1915 on HMAT A11. During his service, Claude originally enlisted as a private, however, was promoted to Driver in 1918 in the 11th Field Ambulance. On the 21st of September, 1917, Claude was wounded in the field, receiving gunshot wounds to his right thigh and cheek. He thankfully recovered in hospital, and managed to continue his service throughout the war. Claude received the British Victory Medal, British War Medal and the 1914/15 Star.

He is recorded on the Cuddle Creek Millbrook public school roll of honor, The Gumeracha town hall WWI roll of honor and the Kersbrook roll of honor.

After his service, Claude survived the war and returned home on the 12th of May 1919. He died in 1988 at 94 years old.