There are confusing variations of this soldier’s full name and regimental details (Herbert Harold Evans or Herbert Harold Parry Evans). In his Last will and Testament dated 1st June 1916 sworn at Etaples France, he refers to himself as being 34408 Sgt Herbert Harold Parry Evans a soldier of Canadian Army Medical Corps of The British Expeditionary Force in France. (This clarifies some incorrect details on the Bodfari Memorial and The Commonwealth War Grave Commission data base). His mother’s maiden name being Parry.
He was born on the 22nd March 1888 in Wrexham.He was the fifth child of John and Laura Evans. In 1891 the family were living at Ynyscynhaiarn, near Portmadoc, his father was Superintendent of Agents. In 1896 his mother died and his father remarried Elizabeth. He is recorded on the census of 1901 living with his family at Berllan Bodfari. Head of the household was John aged 63 a Superannuated Insurance Agent who had been born in Caerwys. His wife Elizabeth was 50 and came from Llandyrnog Denbighshire. Their listed children were Florence, aged 16 who worked at the Post Office and had been born in Aberystwyth Cardiganshire. Herbert Harold was 13 and had been born in Wrexham. This was a Welsh speaking family.
On 6th August 1913, Herbert Harold left liverpool for North America. He travelled to Philadelphia, on the SS Haverford after which he seems to include Parry in his name (his late mother’s maiden name).
Herbert Harold Evans enlisted on 19th September 1914 in Camp Valcartier in Quebec, Canada. He gave the the name Herbert Parry Evans with the declared age of 26 year 5 months. His occupation was ‘Dispensing Chemist’. His next of kin was his father, John Evans of Bryn Tirion, Trefnant, Bodfari. His medical examination had taken place on the 28th August 1914 in Valcartier. He was described as being 5 feet 8 and a half inches tall, weighed 150bs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches with an expansion range of 1 inch. His complexion and hair were fair and eyes blue. He had a tattoo H.E on his left arm. His religion was Wesleyan. He was approved fit for service on 23rd September 1914
He was allocated to 1 General Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps with the regimental number of 34408. His Unit sailed on 3rd October 1914 presumably to the UK. We believe he spent a period of time based at Netherton Wiltshire. Tracking his career in the army is difficult. His Canadian records tell us that when he died he was a Staff Sergeant but there were times when he reverted to Private at his own request. At one time in 1917 he was a Quartermaster Sergeant with pay. The records tell us that he sailed from Southampton to France in May 1915 and was posted to No 1 General Hospital in Etaples. He was an Acting Sergeant at this point.
He was himself a patient in hospital in Etaples in July 1915 when he was ill with appendicitis and a fractured clavicle. (The records say he broke his clavicle whilst on military duty). He was in hospital for a month.
He was seriously ill again in June 1916 when during a Boxing bout, he fell down knocking himself on the hard wooden floor causing a blow to his forehead and nose. His nose was fractured. He was unconscious for seven (days on one source and hours on another) and was described as being very seriously ill. On the 22nd June he was declared ‘out of danger’. In July 1916 he had influenza. He spent a period of time at The Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bromley, Kent and was discharged on 11th September 1916. On that same day he set sail from Folkstone.
The records clearly show that throughout his service period almost all of his army pay ($25 Canadian dollars per month) was sent to a Mrs M Roberts of 98 Marin Avenue St Henri, Montreal but we do not know who she was.
He wrote a will on 1st June 1916 in Etaples in which he leaves his personal effects (clothing, watches, rings etc) to become the property of his father John Evans who was still in Bryn Tirion Bodfari. Cash deposited in the City and District Bank of Montreal was to be divided equally between his father John and a Blodwen Roberts of 98 Marin Avenue, St Henri, Montreal.
There was reference in the will to a Sun Life Assurance endowment policy to the value of $1000 to be paid to Maysel Agnes Lane, his fiance who was a Nursing Sister attached to No 1 Canadian General Hospital.
He married Maysel Agnes Lane on the 5th March 1918 in the UK.
On the 27th June 1918 he was aboard His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle sailing from Halifax Nova Scotia Canada to Liverpool. It was torpedoed off Southern Ireland. 24 people survived whilst 234 doctors, nurses and patients were killed in the attack. One of those missing presumed drowned was Staff Sergeant Evans. The attacking submarine was U86 under the command of captain Helmut Brummer-Patzig who later faced trial for the war crime of attacking a Hospital ship.
There is documentation in the records showing that after his death, his medals and decorations, the memorial plaque and scroll were sent to his widow Mrs Maysel A. Parry Evans of RMD #2 Prescott, Ontario. His Memorial Cross was sent to his mother Elizabeth Evans of Bryn Tirion, Bodfari. So far we have not established what medals he was awarded.