This post was written by Linda Trim
Eighteen year old West Kirby lad dies in Flaubert, France within nine months of enlistment.
Edmund, born at the end of 1899, was the second of five children born to Abraham Evans (1866-1916) and Elizabeth Box (1867-????). His siblings were Elsie Victoria born in 1897, James Abraham in 1902, Florence Box in 1904 and Herbert Box in 1906.
Abraham and Elizabeth were married by banns in St. Bridget’s church on 25th October 1891. The first of their children with a recorded baptism was Elsie, and no other children were registered before this. It was certainly unusual for the times to not have children for six years. Abraham was a general labourer who is shown on the censuses as working for a time as a mason, which was his father’s occupation, and also as a carter. Elizabeth was from Malvern in Worcestershire, and met Abraham while working in service in West Kirby. In 1911 Edmund was still at school. The Evans family were from West Kirby back to around 1822 when Edmund’s great grandfather James Evans, who was born in Arrow, Cheshire, married Martha Moore from Thurstaston, Cheshire. The men were labourers and agricultural workers, the kind of people that keep the world going in their quiet ways.
Edmund was working for Mr Hazlehurst, a blacksmith in West Kirby at the time of his enlistment. His mother was adamant that he not sign up for military service, but by the time he turned 18 in the latter part of 1917, conscription was in force. Young men could expect to receive their papers a few weeks before their birthday and would have their medical assessment done so that as soon as possible after their birthday they could be conscripted and sent off for training. With the exception of his medal card and the document listing his soldier’s effects there are no military records existing for him. They were probably lost in the London bombing in WW2. Since Abraham, Edmund’s father had died in 1916, it is little wonder that his mother did not want Edmund to go to war. He may well have been the main breadwinner in the house and by the time he turned 18 his mother – and everyone else – would have been aware of the high number of deaths in the war. His sister, Elsie Victoria was in the Women’s Auxiliary Corp and may have contributed to household expenses.
Deeside Advertiser 24 May 1918
The King’s Liverpool Rifles (1/6th) became part of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division during the war, and were part of the campaign on the Western Front for the entirety of the war. The Spring offensive on the Somme started on 21 March 1918 and there were several battles fought subsequently, but none were in progress on May 18th when Edmund died. His body was not recovered so presumably he got caught out somewhere, perhaps no-man’s land. He died in Festubert, France and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial which is in Loos-en-Gohelle, Dept du Pas-de-Calais, Nord Pas-de-Calais, France. The Loos Memorial commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave and who died in the area from the river Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay, from the 1st day of the battle of the Loos to the end of the war.
Book of Remembrance
Birth: 4th quarter 1899 at West Kirby
Death: 5 May 1918 at Festubert, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Addresses: Grange Road, West Kirby (01); 6, Darmonds Green, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: working for a blacksmith
Unit: King’s Liverpool 1/6th Rifles
Number and Rank: Private 90378
Medals: British & Victory
Commemorated: Loos Memorial, France; Grange Hill War Memorial West Kirby; United Reformed Church, West Kirby; Book of Remembrance
Sources: BR, CWGC, FT, GH, MC, PR, WK and thanks to Keith Hatton for providing us with information about Edmund, who is a relative of his.