Stephen Alfred Symons
was the Pilot of
Vic served in the Fire Service at the beginning of
the war but immediately
joined up with RAF after
The crew of his Halifax, see print.
Air Bomber Vic is the 3rd from the left.
Photo from January 1945.
See S.A. Symons
Family * Telegram
Vic's log book March 1945
Vic discharged 1946
Mail from Stephen Symons
about his father Victor Symons - received on 24 AUG 2012 with 7 attached
files. This is much more than the story of one airman!
My cousin Margaret Balsom sent your contact details on to me and suggested
that I could supply details of my father, Victor Symons, the elder brother
of Stephen Alfred Symons who died when his plane crashed into the farm in
My father George Edward Victor Symons, known as Vic to his friends, was born
in Enfield, just north of London, England on 28th January 1913,
the second son and
third child of Stephen Cain Symons and Alice Marie Symons, née Slack. He
trained as a motor mechanic at the Clock Garage in Enfield, and once he
became a journeyman there was no more work for him at the garage and he was
discharged. Jobs were very scarce at that time, but he found employment
firstly as an ambulance driver then as a fireman with the Enfield Fire
Brigade. He married Beryl Judith Howlett, my Mother, in Jersey on 5th
His younger brother Stephen was killed as a result of enemy action over
Denmark in 1941. Victor was thus spurred to join the Royal Air Force
himself, no easy task as
he was then in a reserved occupation, which is to say one whose members were
not subject to compulsory military service as it was considered that their
work was essential to the war efforts. You must remember that he was a
Fireman in London during the blitz! He applied for and received exemption
from the War Office, and on
27th April 1942 joined RAF Bomber Command, spending his several
months at the Initial Training Wing at Torquay. He was then shipped to South
Africa for further
training with the rank of LAC [Leading Aircraftsman].
By early 1945 he was flying in Halifax heavy bombers on operations over
Europe. Initially he served with No 158 Squadron flying out of RAF Lissett
near Bridlington in Yorkshire, then with No 10 Squadron out of RAF
Melbourne, also in Yorkshire. He was by this time a Flight Sergeant, his
position being Air Bomber [that is to say navigator/ bomb aimer]. His
regimental number was 1399449. In July of 1945 he switched from Halifaxes
to flying Dakota aircraft under Transport Command, training
at towing gliders in preparation for the planned invasion of Japan. In
September 1945 he was sent to India, flying Dakota to supply British and
Allied forces then in
Burma. The American nuclear bombardment of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki obviated the planned masses troop landings as Japan
Victor finished his last few months with the RAF as a Warrant Officer on
administration duties at Dum Dum Airport in Calcutta. He was shipped home in
1946, and demobilised on 1st March 1946.
Victor immediately returned to his position with the Enfield Fire Brigade,
applying for and obtaining a position as workshop foreman for Whitbread
Breweries in the City
of London. In September of 1956 Victor, Beryl and their two children, Judith
aged 13 and Stephen aged 8, emigrated to New Zealand on the assisted passage
programme. Victor worked for the NZ Forest Service in Nelson for two years,
then for the Kaiangaroa Logging Company for a year before the family moved
to Auckland where Victor obtained a position as Transport Manager for New
Zealand Breweries Ltd. He remained with the Breweries until he retired in
Victor and Beryl later removed to Nelson to be near to their daughter
Judith, son-in-law Jim Chambers and three grandsons, Jason, Michael and
Carl. Victor died in
Nelson on 4th August 1991.
I have attached for your interest a number of photographs and documents which
are all self-explanatory. The group of four in the first photo are Stephen’s
[the mother of Margaret and Susan], Stephen’s wife Ruby, and Stephen Alfred
I do hope that you find all this of use in fleshing out the narrative.
With kindest regards
City of Christchurch Town Crier, New Zealand.
See also Poddimok Stephen
Symons' literary pages.
He retired in June 2016 after 27 years of
Christchurch's Town Crier hangs up his bell and hat.