The Late Flt.-Lieut. H. E. Symons

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We deeply regret to report the death of Humfrey Symons, who was on a ship which was apparently mined during the evacuation from Dunkirk. ln the last war, Symons did much observation work from kite balloons of the R.N.A.S., flown from destroyers, and later served with the Dwina Relief Force in Russia. He had much to do with founding the Boy Scout movement in Belgium. In 1922, when only twenty-two years of age, he became Sports Editor of “The Motor.” In this capacity he competed in many important events, and tested many famous cars. He competed in the Monte Carlo eight times, and won the Coupe des Glaciers three times. His race reports were always most readable, if at one time rather journalistically flowery, a trend which amused the author as much as anyone. We believe one of Symons’s fastest test runs was with a “3.3” Type 49 Bugatti. In 1933 he left “The Motor” of his own accord, and commenced editing “Brooklands Track and Air,” assisted by W. Boddy. At this time Symons was doing an immense amount of publicity writing for the motor trade, including instruction books for Aston-Martin and others, and he wrote regularly on motoring in the Society Press. He used an Armstrong-Siddeley Twelve as his personal car. Later he was appointed motoring correspondent to The Sunday Times. He coupled this work with his famous and remarkable African journeys, culminating in the Cape Record with the Wolseley, which still stands. His books “Monte Carlo Rally” and “Two Roads to Africa” are motoring classics. Symons was a great driver, and charming character. His love of adventure, his boyish enthusiasm for this kind of thing, allied to his ability to tackle successfully many trying jobs at once, and his great knowledge of travel in Europe and beyond, assisted his rise to fame as a motoring writer and adventurer. He took a Rolls-Royce to America with the J.C.C. Rally, and when war came joined the R.A.F., in which he was a Flight-Lieut, when he met his death. He never handled racing cars, but was known to have contemplated doing so, had his busy life permitted. He had many adventurous journeys in his journalistic career, by air, sea and land. His health was superb and doubtless enabled him to survive crashes and hardships in the Monte Carlo rallies and to endure the terrible accident which so nearly ended his Cape Record bid. Humfrey had a great, quiet sense of humour, and he enjoyed most of the good things of this world. He once told the present writer that he endeavoured to make as few enemies as possible in life, and those who met him, even casually, could hardly imagine him doing otherwise. A great motorist and a great sportsman has gone from amongst us. We tender our very sincere sympathies to Mrs. Symons and her small sons.

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