Born in Bridport, Dorset in May 1908, Ben Symes’ father had unfortunately been killed during the Somme offensive in 1916, so he was brought up in South Wales by his fathers cousin.
Upon leaving school he worked in the local mines and joined the Army in 1928 serving 6 years in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Royal Tank Regiments. He was then in the Army Reserves.
At the outbreak of war he joined the 9t Lancers and went with them as part of the BEF to France in 1940 He was evacuated several months later via Brest.
After significant tank training in the UK Sgt. Symes landed on D Day with 1st Troop C Squadron 24th Lancers and fought his way throughout the Normandy campaign with them until his regiment was disbanded on or around July 31.
He was then one of 28 men (two troops) of the 24th Lancers who joined the Sherwood Rangers at this time.
Ben Symes fought and survived with the Regiment till the end of the war.
He then served with the BAOR till demobbed in 1947.
Ben Symes was a prolific letter writer and wrote home constantly detailing his experiences in NW Europe.
After the war he worked in the car trade in Oxford and passed away just two weeks shy of his 68th birthday in May 1976.
Ben Symes is pictured middle background in this fantastic photograph with his comrades of the 4th RTR during training with Vickers tanks.
Photograph and many thanks to his grandson Robert Miles.