Each surgeon tells a story.
Frank Albert Symons was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 28 Apr 1869, the eldest son of John Hughes Symons and Anna Barbara Rudolf. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University and joined the army, rising up the ranks as a surgeon in the Royal Army Medical Corps in South Africa, Malta, Ceylon and ultimately in WW1. He married Dorothy Bennett at Salisbury Cathedral on 9 August 1900. By 1910, they had four daughters. He was killed by a shell on 30 April 1917 and is buried at St Nicolas British War Cemetery, just north of Arras.
His obituary was published in The Times, London, on 10 May 1917
Colonel Frank A. Symons, CMG, DSO, Assistant Director of Medical Services, was killed on April 30 while on his way to an advanced dressing station. He left England in August 1914, in command of a clearing hospital and, expecting a few days’ leave at intervals, has been abroad ever since. He was mentioned in Lord French’s first despatches and again later. In the first honours list of the war he was awarded the DSO, and in the New Year honours list of this year he was made a CMG. He served in the South African war, being present at the Relief of Ladysmith, including the action at Colenso.
Colonel Symons was a son of the late John Hughes Symons of Nova Scotia. In 1900 he married Dorothy, second daughter of the late Edmund Grove Bennett of The Close, Salisbury, and leaves a widow and four daughters.
A brother officer writes: “He died at his post doing his duty as always. He was a gallant officer, gifted above all of us, and a true friend who was universally beloved and respected. His place will be difficult to fill, and it is cruel that such a career as his should have been cut short by such a mischance”.
Colonel Symons was fond of writing, and for some years had contributed at intervals to several well-known magazines. During the winter months his ‘Tale of a Casualty Clearing Station’ was published in Blackwood’s Magazine under the pseudonym of ‘A Royal Field Leech.’
A bronze plaque in his memory is in St Paul’s Anglican Church, Halifax.
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A shout out to followers Betsy and Garvey for finding the nurses memorial at Toronto General Hospital.
Tis the season where my day job and other responsibilities are taking a serious bite out of time for leisure reading. Book reviews returning anon.