Sydney Stanna Bond was the son of Lewis Martin and Grace (nee Groom) Bond of Brisbane. He graduated from Toowoomba Grammar School in 1913, having also spent some time at Brisbane Grammar, and attended Queensland University. There were distinguished relatives on both sides. An uncle, Commander Thomas A. Bond RAN, was awarded the DSO for his work in capturing the German radio facility at Bita Paka near Rabaul, in PNG, in 1914. His father was the Manager at Perry Bros, ironmongers and hardware merchants of Queen St, Brisbane, an established business going back to 1861. His mother Grace was from the Groom family of Toowoomba, the daughter of William Groom, owner of The Chronicle newspaper, former mayor, former state MLA and first Federal Member for the Darling Downs. His uncle, Littleton Groom, was the current MHR for Darling Downs and assistant minister for Defence.
Sydney was an officer in the pre-war militia and enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane, soon after his nineteenth birthday, in February 1915. He was almost 5’9” tall, of a medium build and fair complexion. Before he embarked for overseas’ service he was commissioned as lieutenant and posted to B Coy of the new 25th Battalion. The regiment sailed from Brisbane aboard A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915. In September the 25th landed at Gallipoli where Sydney served until December before he was evacuated with paratyphoid fever. A Medical Board sent him back to Australia in January 1916 to recover. He made good progress in Brisbane and on 4 May 1916 he sailed with the 13/25th Reinforcements aboard A49 Seang Choon. His second voyage to war took him to France, where he served in several capacities in his battalion and was promoted to Captain in early 1917.
Sydney was killed at Passchendaele on 9 October 1917. The Red Cross spoke to numerous members of Sydney’s company who were involved in the fighting east of Ypres at the time he was killed. Almost all of them claim that he was killed on 11 October, but the official date remains two days earlier. There is less unanimity about the way he died. The majority stated that he was blown up by an artillery shell that landed on him or close by, and that death was instantaneous. Several recall that he had been wounded in the hand the day before and was wearing a bandage but refused to leave his men while they were in the front-line. Many stated that he was young and fair and “was one of the best.”
Sydney’s body was not recovered so his name is on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. His death is mentioned in C.E.W. Bean’s Official History, Vol. IV, p.898. He is also commemorated at Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery in the Groom family plot where a plaque is located to the four grandsons of William Groom who died in the Great War. (See the Groom brothers and E.W.B. Marlay, who also had connections with TGS.) Sydney Bond is also remembered at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Herries Street, Toowoomba, where his family worshipped, and at the University of Queensland’s Forgan Smith Building, where a plaque records the names of students who died in the Great War, under the heading Pro Patria Ceciderunt (They died for their Country). Sydney was 21 when he died.
Toowoomba Grammar School Archives state that he started school on 23 April 1906 and left on 1st April 1913. He was in the 1st XI Cricket in 1913; IstXV Rugby in 1911 and 1912 and was a School Prefect in 1912. The School Magazine of November 1917 states, ‘Only son of Mr. and Mrs. L. M.Bond, Hamilton, Brisbane, at School 1907-1912. Was in the Rifle, Swimming, Cricket and Football teams. Saw service as lieutenant in Gallipoli-was invalided home but returned as captain to France, where he was killed in action in October. Age 22.’
Australian War Memorial Military Records
Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing
Australian War Memorial Honour Roll
AWM4 unit war diaries Item No 23/42/26 25th BN OCTOBER 1917
Toowoomba Grammar School Cadet Unit: Winners of the March Past, Austral Festival 1911
Toowoomba Grammar School Old Boys in Cairo 1915