Evans, John Harold

John Harold Evans of Alma Place Buckley was a Lieutenant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died of double pneumonia in the Hospital Militaire, Valenciennes, France 12 December 1919, more than a year after the Armistice and after he had relinquished his commission on completion of service, 27 Aug 1919, but he was granted a Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial.

John Harold Evans married Annie Elizabeth Millington of Alma Place, Chester Road Buckley on 3 March 1919. Annie was the daughter of George Holmes and Polly Millington born in Buckley 17 November 1894 and baptised at St. Matthews 6 January 1895. The family living at Alma Place in 1911 were George 41, iron works clerk born Buckley, Polly 38 born Manchester, Annie E 16, Harry 12, Hilda 9, Frank 3.

In the parish register for his marriage John Harold declared that his father was John Evans (deceased) a Chartered Accountant; however further evidence obtained from his service record and census returns indicate that his declared father’s profession was not correct.

John Harold’s family has been found as the result of research at the National Archives arranged by Graham Caldwell who extracted his service record. This confirmed that he was born in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire on 2nd February 1896 and enlisted in the 21st Btn RWF as a private, no. 37622, 26th January 1916. His address was given as Hawthorn Villas, Shotton. His next of kin was his sister, Emily Nesta Evans of Allanson Street, Parr, St Helens (looking at this address today it could be a school). His occupation was clerk. In a later file document he provided his address as c/o John Durham, Hawarden. Nesta Emily Evans later married Stanley Marshall in Manchester 1925.

John Harold transferred to the 9th Btn RWF, but never went overseas as a private soldier, and so is not found in the medal index. He was discharged on application for a commission as a Temp 2nd Lieutenant, 22 November 1917 in the 3rd Btn Welsh Regiment, but shortly afterwards he transferred to the 7th Btn RWF. In May 1919 he was again transferred, this time to the Royal Fusiliers Garrison Battalion. Temp 2nd Lieutenant J. H Evans relinquished his commission on completion of service on 27 Aug 1919 and was allowed to retain the rank of Hon. Lieutenant.

In the 1901 census John Harold Evans was living at Rose Cottage Northop, age 5, born Ashton under Lyne, with his mother Edith Evans and Sister Emily E Evans (age 33) both born Llanyblodwell, Shropshire; but his father, John Evans snr (identified from the 1891 census) is not present, yet Edith is not identified as a widow. This same family has not been found in 1911.

From the 1891 census for Trefonen, Shropshire, John Harold ’s father is John Evans, a coal miner born 1869 in the Trefonen area of Shropshire. This contradicted the information declared by John Harold on his 1919 marriage certificate after becoming a commissioned officer that his father’s occupation was a chartered accountant.

The crucial evidence connecting John Harold’s military record to the family living in Northop in 1905 comes from the character references for John Harold’s commission in 1917, provided by William Astbury, J.P., The Yalchog, Northop, Flints who said ‘I have known him all his life’ and from the Vicar of Northop who said ‘last four years he lived in this Parish’.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Buckley Memorial

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