EDMUND EVANS written by Linda Trim
Eighteen year old West Kirby lad dies in Flaubert, France within nine months of enlistment.
Edmund Evans photograph
Edmund was the second of five children born to Abraham Evans (1866-1916) and Elizabeth Evans nee Box (1867-????). Elsie Victoria was born in 1897, Edmund in 1899, 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, but it is possible that there were other children prior to her that died before they were baptized, and since Evans is a very common name, it is hard to track down other possible births and deaths. 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.
It is unknown what he did for a living when he went to work. 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.
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 memorialized at 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)
Unit: King’s Liverpool 1/6th Rifles
Number and Rank: Private 90378
Medals: British & Victory
Commemorated: 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.