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2203 - 1/5 London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) - 56th (1st London) Division

Beaumont Augustin Patmore Symonds, born on 1st May 1897, lived with his family in Lambeth, London at 82 Barkham Terrace - a house that overlooks what is today the Imperial War Museum, London, and what was then known as The Royal Bethlam Hospital or "Bedlam". His parents were William John Augustin Symonds and Eleanor Cather Symonds (née Peters). He is mentioned in the 1911 Census as a pupil attending a school located at Muncaster Church, Ashford Road.

Symonds' service records do not survive online but it is clear that he served with the 56th (London) Division, joining the 169th Brigade in March 1916; a newly reformed outfit. Moving onto the front line in the first week of May 1916, the 56th Division was flanked by the 46th (North Midland) Division to their North and the 48th (South Midland) Division to their South, organised around the Gommecourt Salient. Once in the field, the units proceeded to begin operational training, and made to attempt to conceal these preparations from the Germans. 

The focus of the Attack on the Gommecourt Salient was to be primarily diversionary to protect the north flank of the main attack. On the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, Symonds' and his comrades overran the first two German trenches in the sector but the assault stagnated at a stronghold at Nameless Farm. No Man's Land at this part of the front line was wider than nomally considered acceptable for an attack, up to 800 yards in places. The German artillery, only increasing in intensity after the failed attack and withdrawal at Serre to the South, laid down a standing barrage along No Man's Land. This cut off the 56th Division from reinforcements, stalling their progress. Running out of bombs and suffering increasing casualties, the attack withdrew by mid-afternoon and the advance completely abandoned the German front line by 8pm that evening. 

There were nearly 7,000 casualties taken that day in the Attack on the Gommecourt Salient, with almost 2,000 deaths. Symonds was one of 269 casualties from the 1/5 London Regiment that perished that day.

Symonds is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial - Pier and Face 9 D. Under a second regimental number "301390".  


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