By Gilly Carr
Reginald James Symons was born on 16 November 1888 in the parish of St Helier, Jersey. We know little about his life before the Occupation, but according to his registration form, he had served in the Royal Engineers from 1915-1920 as a sapper.
At the time of the registration of Islanders in January 1941, Symons was 52 years old, married (but possibly separated) to Louise Symons née Olliver, for whom a record has not yet been found. Symons worked as a lorry driver during the Occupation. He had one son named Ronald, born in 1931, and at least one other, named Reginald, born 1912, who served in the Royal Engineers during the war.
Symons comes to our attention because, on 23 December 1940, he was sentenced by the Troop Court of Field Command 515 to four months’ imprisonment for ‘bodily injury through negligence, and manslaughter’. This was described in the political prisoner log book as an ‘Infraction of the Law on Roads’. We do not know why he was tried by the German court for this offence and not the Royal Court. The associated story is not available to us.
Symons was deported on 29 December 1940 and arrived at Caen Prison one day later, on 30 December. According to his Caen prison record, he was let out on 23 April 1941. One day later, on 24 April, he returned to Jersey.
Symons died in September 1955 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
The family of Reginald Symons are invited to get in touch with the Frank Falla Archive if they wish to share information about his story.
Reginald Symons’ Occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/7/4607.
Reginald Symons’ Occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/7/4608 and 9.
Reginald Symons’ record, political prisoner register copyright Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Reginald Symons’ court records, copyright Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/1/7.
Reginald Symons’ records from Caen Prison, Calvados Archives ref. 1664 w 33.