Rudolph Clifford Symons was born in the autumn of 1887, one of ten children to Clifford and Clara Symons. Clifford ran a brick and tile manufacturer’s and later became a town councillor in the family’s home of Bridgwater in Somerset.
By the time of the 1911 census, Rudolph had become the works manager for his father, but war soon beckoned.
Sadly, Rudolph’s full military record has been lost to time, but he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps early on in the conflict and was promoted to Lieutenant at the end of September 1914. He was involved in recruiting new soldiers, and it was following one of these meetings that he was involved in an accident.
The local media picked up the story:
On Friday night, while riding through St Jon Street on his motorcycle, to which a side-car was attached, he collided with a horse and light waggon… Lieutenant Symons appears to have been struck by one of the shafts in the region of the heart, and was rendered unconscious. He was at once conveyed to his home, where he was medically attended and was subsequently removed to the nursing home on Friarn Street. On the following day a specialist was called in, and an operation performed, but the injuries were of so severe a character that death ensured on Monday.Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser: Wednesday 22nd September 1915
The coroner reported that Rudolph had died from an internal haemorrhage and the inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death, and exonerated the waggon driver – a dealer caller Wyatt – from all blame.
Lieutenant Symons was a popular man, a vocalist in the Bridgwater Amateur Operatic Society, and was also heavily involved in the local annual Guy Fawkes celebrations.
He died on 13th September 1915, aged 27 years old, and lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery in his home town.