Private Clarence Jerrard Symes

Date of Birth 1893
Age at Death 22
Date of Death 24 December 1915
Service Number 1969
Military Service 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry
Merton Address The Farm, Lower Morden
Local Memorial St. Lawrence Church, Morden

Additional Information

Clarence Jerrard Symes was born in Leigh in Lancashire in 1893. He was the second son of Samuel Bartlett Symes, a farmer, and his wife Sophie. Clarence’s mother had died before 1901 and his father had moved to a farm at Studhayes in Kilmington in Devon. He had two brothers, Gordon and Eric, and a sister Mary. By 1911 the family had moved to The Farm, Lower Morden, Mitcham, Surrey and his father had remarried. The three older boys were working on the farm with their father and they now had three younger half-siblings.

Clarence enlisted in the Sussex Yeomanry in Brighton where the regiment had its headquarters. He was in the 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry, which was part of the 1st South Eastern Mounted Brigade, 1st Mounted Division. His service number was 1969. At the beginning of the war the brigade was based at Canterbury. In September 1915 it was dismounted and moved to Gallipoli where the allies had launched a campaign to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking control of the Turkish straits.

The brigade landed at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 7 October 1915. The exact circumstances of Private Symes’ death are not known but records show that he died of wounds on 24 December 1915, just days before his regiment retreated. He died on the Hospital Ship Devanha which was ferrying the wounded between the Peninsula, Alexandria and Malta.

Private Symes is commemorated on the Helles Memorial Panel 21. The Helles Memorial is a battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign. Clarence and his brother Eric are both named on one of the panels in the Lychgate at St. Lawrence Church, Morden, which serves as the parish war memorial. By the time of Eric's death his father had moved to Stoke Park Farm, Guildford, Surrey.


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