Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 13, 1877
Place of BirthMeanwood, Yorkshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEthel May Symons, wife, Norfolk House, Turvey, Bedfordshire, England
Trade / CallingSurveyor
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number45464
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion8th Field Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentShorncliffe, England
Date of EnlistmentJune 8, 1916
Age at Enlistment39
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 31, 1958
Age at Death81
Buried AtSt Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Hartfield, Wealden District, East Sussex, England

Symons, Ralph Twenebroke

Ralph Twenebroke Symons was born on 13 April 1877 in Meanwood near Leeds in Yorkshire, England. His father Edward Warwick Jelinger Symons was from Aylestone in Hereford while his mother Hannah Byrth Glazebrook was from Egremont in Cheshire. The couple married in the registration district of Plymouth St Mary in Devonshire during the third quarter of 1876. By the 1881 census the family was living in Wellingborough district in Northamptonshire where they were to live for many years, with Edward listed as the curate of the All Saints church. Children born to the couple were Ralph, Hugh Jelinger (1878-1964), Rosa Katherine (1879-1964), Lina Georgina Mary (1881-1968), Philip Francis Edward (1884-1966), Kendall Glazebrook (1890-1954), and Dorothy Elizabeth (1892).

At the time of the 1891 census Ralph was attending the St John Foundation School in Leatherhead, Surrey. For the 1901 census he was living with Glazebrook relatives in Surbiton in southwest London and working as a land agent/improver. In 1903 Ralph immigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal aboard the Tunisian on 2 October. On the passenger list his occupation was given as farmer and his destination as Innisfail, Alberta. At some point Ralph travelled back to England, returning to Canada in August of 1907, arriving in Quebec aboard the Empress of Britain. In July of 1908 he arrived in Liverpool on the Victorian, listed as a land agent on the manifest.

During the second quarter of 1910, in the registration district of Hinckley, Leicestershire, Ralph married Ethel May Matthews. Born on 13 December 1879 in Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire, Ethel was the daughter of Samuel James Matthews and his second wife Isabella Sharp, the couple marrying in 1864 in Leicester. Ralph and Ethel immigrated to Canada following the marriage, arriving in Quebec on 14 July 1910 aboard the Victorian and on their way to Winnipeg. Having given birth to son Edward Graham, by the time of the 1911 census the family was living in Kenora in northwestern Ontario where Ralph found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1913 they returned to England, arriving in Liverpool aboard the Canada on 11 December.

Ralph enlisted with the Canadian Engineers Training Depot on 8 June 1916 at Shorncliffe. His occupation was given as surveyor and his wife Ethel at Norfolk House in Turvey, Bedfordshire as next of kin. That August he arrived in France to serve with the 8th Field Company, Canadian Engineers (Shorncliffe). In August 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal and granted a leave in November. The 8th Field Company was absorbed by 8th Battalion, Canadian Engineers in May 1918 and Ralph was promoted to Corporal. In June he was on command to the Canadian School of Military Engineers (Officer Training Centre or Candidate) and by November was appointed Temporary Lieutenant. With the end of the war Ralph chose to retire in the British Isles, discharged on 22 June 1919.

During the war Ethel had given birth to daughter Hannah Isabella on 11 April 1917 in Bedford. By the mid 1920’s the family was living in the Hartfield/Uckfield area of Sussex. They had built their home that was known as Kiln Wood and had an increasingly successful poultry farm. During WW2 son Edward served as a Flying Officer (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was reported as killed in action on 12 February 1942 over the English Channel/North Sea near the Dutch coast during Operation Fuller. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as well as on his parents grave marker.

Ralph died on 31 August 1958 in Bexhill, Sussex. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Ethel and daughter Hannah Rooth and family. He was predeceased by his father Edward in 1915, mother Hannah in 1936, and sibling Kendall in 1954 as well as his son Edward. Ethel later died on 9 April 1974. Ralph is interred in the St Mary the Virgin Churchyard Cemetery in Hartfield.

By Judy Stockham


« Back To Soldier Biographies