ALIAS enlistments Holton+Symons

Four Symons brothers from Blackall Range, Maleny volunteered to serve with the AIF during the First World War. They enlisted under their father's assumed name HOLTON which concealed their real identities, two of them were under age.

Clockwise from top left: William, George, Francis & Alfred.

The family reunion never eventuated; Alfred snr and Mary (Edith) had a son of their own, Arthur Holton in 1913. Family legend has it that the four brothers enlisted in the AIF to spite their father and were for ever estranged from him.

Postcard sent by George Holton. George is standing, third row, second from the right, marked with a cross. His younger brother William is sitting front row in front of the Sergeant. 

William was just 14 and George 16.Demosthenes

George and William took 'French Leave' in November 1916 whilst in England to visit their mother and sister, it would have been the last time they saw each other.

When eldest brother Francis was notified that young George had been killed in action (age 17) he was so concerned for the fate of William (then aged 15) he spoke to his commanding officer Captain Sanderson that same day, asking for William to be “fetched out of it”.

having made a mis-statement as to his age on enlistment

Francis was severely wounded in both legs two days later and although he recovered from his injuries, his health continued to deteriorate. He was repatriated to Australia in February 1918.  Francis was admitted to the Soldiers Sanatorium Hospital in Stanthorpe where he died of Tuberculosis in June 1919.

Alfred returned to Australia at the end of the war, the two surviving brothers remained estranged from their father.

Further reading:

Francis SYMONS b.1895 d.1919

Alfred James SYMONS b.1896 d.1961

George SYMONS b.1900 d.5 October 1917

  • #441 41st Infantry Battalion. Enlisted 15 Nov 1915, age 16 embarked 18 May 1916 HMAT Demosthenes. Killed in Action, 5 October 1917.
  • Service Record: Symons, George
  • Adopt a Digger: Holton/Symons, George

William (Bill) Herbert Corrie SYMONS b.1902 d.1970

Marg Powell



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