Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 24, 1893
Place of BirthGoderich, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinCharles Symonds, father, Post Office Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingMiller
Service Details
Regimental Number2383453
Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentPost Office Keewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 10, 1918
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 15, 1966
Age at Death72
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Symonds, Maitland Rendal

Maitland Rendal Symonds was born on 24 November 1893 in Goderich, Ontario. His father Charles Symonds was born in London, England and had immigrated to Canada with his family as a child. His mother Mary Frances Hart was from Ashfield, Ontario where the couple married on 11 June 1891. In the early years the family lived in nearby Goderich where Charles worked as a barber. Children born in Goderich were Lulu Pearl (1892), Maitland, May Beatrice (1896), and Baden William (1900). Around 1905 the family moved to Keewatin in northwestern Ontario near Kenora where Charles worked at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company.

Drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917, Maitland had his medical examination in November of 1917 in Keewatin and was called up for service on 10 January 1918 in Port Arthur, Ontario. At the time he had been working as a miller at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. His date of birth was given as 24 November 1894 and his father Charles in Keewatin as next of kin.

Maitland arrived in England with the 3rd Draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment on 4 March 1918 aboard the Cretic. First taken on strength with the 11th Reserve Battalion, in July he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion for duty overseas, arriving at the unit on 10 August. The 43rd Battalion had landed in France on 22 February 1916 where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. On 26 August Maitland was admitted to the No 14 Canadian Field Ambulance with troubles with the interconnective tissue in his heel, rejoining the unit on 3 October. With the end of the war Maitland returned to England in late February of 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Olympic on 17 March. Maitland was discharged from service on demobilization on 29 March 1919 in Winnipeg.

On 17 September 1919, in Winnipeg, Maitland married Gladys May House. Born on 10 August 1898 in Inwood, Lambton County, Ontario, Gladys was the daughter of James House and Amelia Kitchen. Her family had also moved to Keewatin for work at the flour mill. Maitland and Gladys made Keewatin their home, giving birth to four sons, Gerald, Roy, Ralph, and infant Randal James who died a few days after birth in 1920, and a daughter, Mildred. Maitland worked for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company four forty-four years, retiring in 1954. He was a member of the Keewatin United Church, the Keewatin Masonic Lodge No 417, and the Canadian Order of Foresters.

Maitland died on 15 July 1966 in the Kenora General Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Gladys, sons Gerald of Fort William, Roy of Calgary, and Ralph of Red Deer, daughter Mildred (Charles) Eaid of Sault Sainte Marie and nine grandchildren. Also surviving were his sister May (Allan) Shaw of Kenora and brother Baden of Jacksonville, Florida. He was predeceased by his infant son, his mother Mary Frances in 1938, his sister Lulu (Jospeh) Harkins in 1947, and father Charles in 1948, all in Kenora. Maitland’s sister May later died in 1967, his wife Gladys in 1973, and brother Baden in 1977. Maitland and Gladys are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora along with other family members.

Maitland’s wife Gladys’ brother Charles House¬†also served during the war as well as his sister May’s husband Allan Shaw. The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 to honour all who served. Medals and badges were presented to the returned veterans and to the families of the fallen, Maitland’s name included on the list as published in the Kenora Miner and News. Maitland is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque, Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque, and the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour.

By Judy Stockham

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