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Private Richard Evans

234800, 52nd Bn., Canadian Infantry
Died 26th February 1919
Son of Thomas Evans

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Remembered with Honour

Sketty (Bethel) Welsh Congregation Chapelyard
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Richard (Dick) Evans was born on 51h October 1889 in Swansea. He was the oldest child of Thomas (Tom) and Elizabeth Evans, both born in 1864 in Swansea and Pyle respectively, and married about 1886. Tom worked as a copper works furnaceman in 1891 and 1901, and as a copper works warehouseman by 1911.

In 1891 the family lived at 4 Cae Bank, Sketty but had moved to 1 Prospect Place, Sketty, by 1901 when the household included his parents, 7 siblings and his mother’s parents. The family remained at the same address at least until 1911 by which time Richard, aged 24, was working as a charge wheeler in the Morfa copper works.

Sometime between 1911 and 1915 Richard moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, where he worked as a farmer in Glen Ewan and was unmarried. He enlisted in the 52nd Battalion Canadian Infantry as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Ox Bow, Saskatchewan on 20th April 1916, no. 234800, when he was described as a Methodist in his attestation papers.

He returned to Sketty on leave in December 1917 to attend his cousin’s wedding:

Popular Sketty Wedding: at Sketty Wesley Chapel on Wednesday, the wedding took place of Sapper Ivor Edwards, RE, and Miss Hi/do May Searle, eldest daughter of Mr E. Searle, Carnglas Road, Sketty. The full choir, with its conductor, Mr Thos. Edwards, were present and the service was choral, Miss Florrie Jones, organist, playing the wedding marches. The bride was given away by her father. She was attended by Misses Irene George, Mavis George, Gertrude M. Searle and Phyllis Searle. Rev. W.R. Green (Mumbles) officiated. The best man was Trooper Dick Evans, Canadian Expeditionary Force, (cousin of the bridegroom), an old Sketty boy home on furlough. Sapper Edwards returns to his duties at the front on Sunday. He was a popular teacher in the Sunday School and active Band of Hope worker at Sketty Wesley Chapel, and his wife has been an earnest worker at the new Baptist Chapel, corn glas, since its start. Amongst the many presents received was a handsome Bible from the members. The reception took place at the bride’s parents’ residence, Charlton, Carnglas Road, Sketty.

South Wales Weekly Post 29m December 1917

Although Richard Evans survived thirty months fighting in the war with the Canadian forces, he died on 26th February 1919 at his parents’ home in Cae Bank, Sketty and was buried five days later at the Welsh Congregational (Bethel) Churchyard in Carnglas Road, Sketty. His cause of death so soon after the war and in Sketty rather than in Canada suggests that he died as a result of wounds or the effects of gas poisoning. The 52nd Battalion was active in pushing the Germans back from northern France in August to November 1918.

Military Funeral at Sketty (on March rd 1919)

In the military funeral of the late Richard Evans, Canadian Expeditionary Force, from his parents’ residence at Cae Bank, Sketty, to the Welsh Chapel burial ground, both Army and Navy were represented by Sketty lads, former friends of deceased. An impressive service was first held in Wesley Chapel by Rev. W.R. Green, who also officiated at the graveside; Miss Florrie Jones played funeral marches, and the hymns “There is a Happy Land” and “He has Gone Beyond the Sky” were fervently sung. The principal mourners were Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Evans (father and mother), Misses Cissy, Gladys, Mabel, Lilian and Winifred Evans (sisters), Mesdames Thomas and Wynne Mardy (aunts), Messrs David Evans, Manse/ton; Thomas, Dunvant, and W. Evans, Swansea (uncles); W. Stephens, Llansamlet; John Thomas, Dunvant; David Williams, Manselton; Ivor Edwards, Sketty; Mrs. George, Mrs. Evans, Cockett, and Mrs. White, Manselton (cousins). A large number of floral tributes were received. Prior to the War the deceased was employed at the Morfa Works.

South Wales Weekly Post 8th March 1919

The Canadian Expeditionary Force

Shortly after the British declaration of war in August 1914, Canada offered an initial contingent of 25,000 for service overseas. The Militia was not mobilized and instead an independent Canadian Expeditionary Force was raised. A second contingent was offered in the autumn of 1914. The 1st Canadian Division was formed from units of the first contingent in January 1915, and was fighting in France the following month.

In September 1915, the Canadian Corps was formed, incorporating the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions, and the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. Further contingents and reinforcement drafts continued to be sent overseas. At the time of the Armistice in November 1918, the Canadian Corps had expanded to include four infantry divisions and corps units. Other Canadian units, including some artillery batteries, engineering companies, and railway and forestry troops, served directly under British command in France and Belgium. Still other units, responsible for administrative support, training, forestry and medical care, served in England.

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), as the army raised during the First World War was designated, grew in the course of the conflict to 619,636, of whom 424,589 served in Europe. Canada’s total casualties stood at the end of the war at 67,000 killed and 250,000 wounded.

The highpoints of Canadian military achievement during the First World War came during the Somme, Vimy, and Passchendaele battles and what later became known as “Canada’s Hundred Days”, the final three months of the war. Throughout these three final months, the Canadian troops saw action in several areas along the Western Front including Amiens, Arras, Cambrai and Mons. In this period, the Canadian Corps suffered 46,000 casualties of whom Richard Evans may have been gassed or wounded.

 

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