Parker Whitley Tucknott SYMONS


SYMONS, Parker Whitley Tucknott

Service Numbers: 13488, Officer, Commissioned Officer
Enlisted: 30 September 1916
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Moonta, Copper Coast, South Australia, 4 August 1893
Home Town: St Peters, Norwood Payneham St Peters, South Australia
Schooling: East Adelaide Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in action, Ath, Walloon, Belgium, 4 November 1918, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Cement House Cemetery
(Plot XVIII, Row A, Grave No 9), Langemark, Belgium
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, St Peters Heroes War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

30 Sep 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Driver, SN 13488, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies
22 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Driver, SN 13488, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '22' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Persic embarkation_ship_number: A34 public_note: ''
12 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, AFC / RFC operations Western Front / Middle East
4 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Commissioned Officer, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, AFC / RFC operations Western Front / Middle East

Black Day for 4 Squadron AFC

In the afternoon of 4 November 1918, 16 Sopwith Snipes of the 4th Squadron were escorting a group of British bombers back to base along with several craft from the 2nd Squadron AFC, when a dozen Fokker aircraft were spotted. These Fokker aircraft belonged to the feared Jagdstaffel 2 (Jasta 2) Squadron. Soon a grand dog fight erupted in the skies over Ath and nearby villages. While the 4th Squadron downed four of the German aircraft three of their own went missing that afternoon. It was later concluded at a Court of Inquiry that all 3 pilots had being shot down and killed.

The three aircraft belonged to:

1. Captain Thomas Charles Richmond Baker DFC, MM & Bar. A South Australian fighter ace, in his career as a fighter pilot on the Western Front he had downed 12 enemy aircraft before himself being claimed on 4 November 1918.

2. Lieutenant Arthur John Palliser. A Tasmanian fighter ace, he had shot down 7 aircraft in his time with the 4th Squadron, which including downing 3 enemy aircraft on one day (29 October 1918.)

3 Lieutenant Parker Whitley Symons. Another South Australian fighter pilot, he had moderate success in the 4th Squadron, however, he had not yet claimed the prized 5 'kills' and thus was not classed as an 'ace.'

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Parker Whitley Symons was born in Moonta South Australia, a mining town on the York Peninsula in 1893, to James Nagor and Sarah Threader SYMONS.

A the time of his enlistment in 1916 his address (and that of his parents) was listed as  No 9 Hackney Road, St Peters, South Australia

Parker had served for 3 years in the 24th Light Horse Regiment before it disbanded.

He enlisted on 30 Sep 1916 into the Auxiliary Mechanical Transport Company 3, Section 2, and embarked from Melbourne on 22 December 1916.  They disembarked at Devonport, England, 3 March 1916.  Parker marched in to Australian Army Service Corps Training Depot, Parkhouse, 6 March 1917.

He proceeded overseas to France, 20 June 1917.  He sought and was granted a transfer to the Australian Flying Corps, 21 December 1917.

He joined No 2 Royal Flying Corps School of Military Aeronautics, Oxford, to qualify as Flying Officer (Pilot), and appointed Cadet.  On completion of pilot training he was appointed Flying Officer (Pilot) and 2nd Lieutenant, 6 June 1918.  He then proceeded overseas to France, on 21 August 1918 and was subsequently taken on strength, No 4 Squadron, in the field, on 22 August 1918.

Parker was one of three pilots lost in a melee between No. 4 Squadron and Jasta 2 of the Prussian Flying Corps over Ath in Belgium.  He was reported 'Missing in Action, 5 November 1918'.  Originally buried in Russeignies Churchyard, Parker Symons was exhumed and reburied at Cement House Cemetery.  The 4th Squadron war diary recoefds the loss as 4th November 1918.

In a Court of Enquiry, held at Cologne, 14 February 1919, it was concluded that Parker was 'Killed in action, 5 November 1918'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal


The Symons family had five sons who seved.

301117 Leading Stoker Reginald James Magar SYMONS, HMS Conquest, killed in action, 25 April 1916;

881 Pte Lionel Hamilton Hyde SYMONS, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 10 May 1916;

22180 Gunner Lavenville Kemble Cropley Symons, 7th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 1 July 1919;

Stoker F.M.S. Symons, RAN.


Compiled by Steve Larkins 5 August 2017 from Service record.