Biography

Birth date: 20 February 1903
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Kew
Death date: 07 November 1965
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Richmond
Final rank: Lieutenant
Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit: HMS Vernon

Melbourne-born Hugh Syme (1903-1965) had a lifelong involvement in the newspaper industry. He was awarded the George Cross and the George Medal and Bar for his brave work in dealing with enemy mines. Returning to Victoria, he set up a mine disposal section before leaving the navy to return to business in 1944.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : George Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : George Medal

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : George Medal

  • Unit: HMS Vernon
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Bar to George Medal

  • Unit: HMS Vernon
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : George Cross

  • Unit: HMS Vernon
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Photograph

061953

PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT HUGH RANDALL SYME. GC., GM., AND BAR, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY VOLUNTEER RESERVE, WHO WAS AWARDED HIS DECORATIONS FOR OUTSTANDING BRAVERY IN "DE-LOUSING" UNEXPLODED ENEMY MINES DURING THE AIR WAR AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN.

061953

061953A

PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT H. R. SYME, GC., GM AND BAR, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY VOLUNTEER RESERVE, WHO WAS AWARDED HIS DECORATION FOR OUTSTANDING BRAVERY IN "DE-LOUSING" UNEXPLODED ENEMY MINES DURING THE AIR WAR AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN.

061953A

141701

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, 1944-09-16. LIEUTENANT H.R. SYME, GC, GM AND BAR, OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT HOUSE AFTER RECEIVING THE GEORGE CROSS AT AN INVESTITURE.

141701

Private Record

Heraldry

Officer's undress jacket : Lieutenant H R Syme Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve officer's black wool superfine undress or 'monkey' jacket. The double breasted jacket has notched turn back lapels; two rows of four gilded brass RAN officer's buttons, made by Firmin, London; an inset welt pocket on the left breast; two inset welt pockets...

REL35391

Weight belt : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Weight belt. The belt is made from 25 mm cotton webbing with an aluminium buckle at one end. 8 circular lead weights are threaded onto the belt. Each weight is made up from two circular pieces, with the bottom piece having a 25 mm x 3 mm section cut through the middle. This gives the belt room to...

REL35394

Officer's greatcoat : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Officer's navy blue wool double breasted greatcoat, lined throughout with black polished cotton twill. The coat has a stand and fall collar, two rows of six gilded brass Royal Navy officer's buttons (made by Pitt & Co., 31 Maddox Street, London), an inset pocket with rectangular flap over each...

REL35395

Yellow name sign : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

The sign has been cut out from a sheet of aluminium. At the top of the sign, the centre area has been cut out and the two uncut 'arms' have been folded over, allowing the sign to be hung from a bar or door frame. The front of the sign has been painted yellow and graphite pencil has been used to...

REL35396

Custom made leather gaiters : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

The upper band of each gaiter is made from a stiff band of brown leather. This is secured to the wearer's leg by two metal buckles and straps, one set below the other on the outside of the gaiter. The middle section of each gaiter is made of soft leather with a concertina pattern down each section....

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Officers peaked cap : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Officers RAN dark blue peaked service dress cap. The cap's crown is of dark blue Oxford wool cloth and has a black mohair hatband. Sewn to the front of the hatband is the King's crown embroidered in gold bullion thread with purple velvet in the crown's arches. Beneath the crown is a white metal...

REL35402

Epaulettes : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Pair of Australian Second World War Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve rank epaulettes. The epaulettes have a black wool upper and a white cotton underside. The rank shown on the epaulettes in that of an Australian Navy Reserve Lieutenant. The rank itself is shown in gold bullion braid with...

REL35403

White cloth spats : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Pair of white cloth spats. Each spat is made from three separate panels of thickly woven linen sewn together and have been lined with three matching panels of a tightly woven white linen. Sewn on the inside of the right spat is a small cotton label with 'PURE IRISH / LINEN' machine sewn in red...

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Gas Mask (British) : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Respirator, anti-gas, MK V Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) crewman variant. This variant was also favoured by air crews in Bomber Command. The rubber facemask is moulded black rubber which has been stiffened around the eye pieces and mouth. The eye piece rims are alloy and are screwed into...

REL35405

Customised Tool Belt for Mine Clearance : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Customised Tool Belt. The leather belt, originally a cartridge belt, has had 24 individual metal holders riveted to the sides and back. 10 of the holders have become detached either deliberately or through long use. The belt has a single claw buckle and 9 buckle holes punched into the opposite end...

REL35406

British MK II steel helmet : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

British MK II steel helmet. The helmet is stamped into shape from sheet metal and has a rolled edge of sheet metal around the brim to cover the sharp edges. Inside the helmet, the liner is attached to the crown by one external screw through the top of the crown Beneath the screw the initials 'HRS'...

REL35407

Hessian Blackout Curtain : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Hessian Blackout Curtain. The top of the hessian has been folded over and seamed to strengthen the top of the curtain. Sewn to the reverse side of the curtain below the top edge is a length of cotton tape which has two lengths of string threaded through it to cinch the hessian fabric. 12 brass...

REL35409

Kit Bag : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Custom made cylindrical canvas kit bag. The bag is made from heavy duty canvas with a one piece upper and cylindrical base. The stitching has been reinforced with leather strips. 10 brass eyelets have been set into the top of the bag. Threaded through the eyelets is a brass kitbag lock with a...

REL35410

George Cross : Lieutenant H R Syme, RANVR

George Cross (Geo VI). Engraved reverse with recipient's details.

RELAWM32408.001

George Medal and bar : Lieutenant H R Syme, RANVR

George Medal and bar (Geo VI). Medal engraved around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM32408.002

Defence Medal : Lieutenant H R Syme, RANVR

Defence Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM32408.003

British War Medal 1939-45 : Lieutenant H R Syme, RANVR

British War Medal 1939-45. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM32408.004

Australia Service Medal : Lieutenant H R Syme, RANVR

Australia Service Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM32408.005

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal : Hugh Randall Syme

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. Unnamed as issued.

RELAWM32408.006

Customised Flotation Vest : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Customised Flotation Vest. The front of the waist coat has been cut extra long with the middle being folded back in on itself, creating a central loop to fit the internal rubber inflatable bladder. The waist coat has four buttons sewn down the front. Sewn to the back of the waist coat is a thin...

REL35408

Technology

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. This is likely to be a fuze. It is similar in shape to a franking stamp and has 'A.N. / MP 40 2 / ME B-41 / NO. 10 [broad arrow symbol]' stamped into the face. A broad arrow symbol is also stamped on the top of the piece.

REL35392.001

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part thought to be taken from a German mine. This piece is in a shape similar to a syringe. The lower end has a small 'needle' attached to a cylindrical barrel body and the upper end has a plunger. When the plunger is pulled and then released, the mechanism slides back into the barrel and...

REL35392.002

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part thought to be taken from a German mine. This piece is in a shape similar to a syringe. The lower end has a small 'needle' attached to a cylindrical barrel body and the upper end has a plunger. When the plunger is pulled and then released, the mechanism slides back into the barrel and...

REL35392.003

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part thought to be taken from a German mine. This piece is in a shape similar to a syringe. The lower end has a small 'needle' attached to a cylindrical barrel body and the upper end has a plunger. The body of this piece has threading at the top end and a six-sided screw is attached. When...

REL35392.004

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. This piece appears to be either a fuze or a timing mechanism. The body of this piece is cylindrical. The bottom end has a small brass fan. The top end of the piece has a large winder in the shape of a wing nut attached.

REL35392.005

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. This piece is cylindrical with five hollow arms extending from the top. Small brass sockets are located within the arms. Written in raised detail between the arms is 'MADE IN GERMANY'. The main body of this piece is hollow and has a globe placed within it. The...

REL35392.006

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. This piece is likely to have been a cover for another piece of the mine. It is shaped like a lid to a saucepan and has a small handle on top. There are 12 holes drilled around the outside of this piece. The underside in concave and had '99027' stamped in the...

REL35392.007

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. This piece is cylindrical with a domed top. Near the base of the dome has been etched the numbers '25425-15'. The outside of the object has a grooved middle, similar to screw threading. At the top of the dome is a brass ring in the centre of which is a...

REL35392.008

German mine part : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unknown part taken from a German mine. Shaped like a syringe, this piece is likely to have been a capacitor. The 'needle' end has a hollow centre running back into the cylindrical body. Three glass ports are set into the Bakelite base above the needle. '1B - 171' over a circle with the number '76'...

REL35392.009

Extraction tool : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Extraction tool possibly used in deactivating mines and bombs. The extraction tool consists of a brass cylinder which is attached to a wider piece of brass tubing at the front end. Fitted around the pieces of brass tubing is a solid piece of wood which has been machined smooth and provides a hand...

REL35393

Magnetic mine gyroscopic gimbal mount : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Type 'D' German magnetic parachute mine gyroscopic gimbal mount. The external part of the mount is made from aluminium and has several attachment points for fitting to the Type 'D' mine's outer casing. Stamped into an edge of the outer casing is 'FPV' in a circle with '41 4B 40' next to it. The...

REL35397

German mine mechanical Impact fuze : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

German mine mechanical Impact fuze Vz Z 34 A (clockwork, self destructing) as used in C and D type parachute mines (Luftmine). This fuze is designed to activate 22 seconds after impact should the mine fall on land or in shallow water (less than 2.5 to 4.5 metres) so the weapon cannot be recovered...

REL35398

Hydrostatic clock : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Hydrostatic clock taken from a German Type C acoustic parachute mine. A cast aluminium cover with internal threads covers a trigger mechanism for the device. Inside the device a copper core is connected to brass clock works which in turn are connected to the safety switch. The copper core and...

REL35399

Condenser : Lieutenant H R Syme, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

The 2 uF condenser is a rectangular shaped capacitor which is made from aluminium. It has two prongs extending out from one end to allow wires to be wound onto them so it can create a charge.

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Sound

Radio 3TR program "50 and Over". Lieutenant Commander Hugh Randall Syme GC, GM and Bar talks about his experiences in mine disposal in the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

Mr Hugh Randall Syme was the general manager of the Melbourne Age newspaper in 1957. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy volunteering for the mine disposal unit in the United Kingdom. He carried out disposal of parachute mines. The British Army dealt with bombs, the Royal Navy with...

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Timeline

Date of birth 1903-02-20
Date of death 1965-11-07