Thomas (Tom) Evans was born in Flint in March 1897 and baptised on 2nd April 1897 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, and the fourth of six children to Edwin Evans and Gertrude (Cooper). He was a brother to Private Peter Evans.
The 1911 census revealed Thomas was employed as a shop boy and living at 4, Bennetts, Row, Oakenholt. He never married and before joining the Army was working as a spinner.
He enlisted in Flint on 22nd February 1916 with the 3/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, No 3742.
He was medically examined in Flint by Dr Twemlow of 33, Church Street. He was 5ft 4ins, weighed 8st 8lbs, chest 35ins, his physical development was good and vision was good.
His service record is as follows:- Home based from 22nd February 1916 to 26th June 1916; embarked on HMT “Northland” at Devonport, 27th June 1916; disembarked at Alexandria, 9th July 1916; Joined at Base Depot, Alexandra, 9th July 1916; joined for Duty at 1/5th RWF in Ismailia, 14th July 1916; to Hospital at 3rd H F Ambulance with “scabies,” 13th January 1917; 2 Australian Stat Hospital with “scabies,” 19th January 1917; 24th Stat Hospital with “scabies,” 1st March 1917; 31st General Hospital at Port Said with “scabies,” 3rd March 1917; re-joined Bn for Duty in the Field, 12th May 1917; Posted to 5/6th RWF, 2nd August 1918.
Private Evans accidentally received a gunshot wound in the right pelvis on 20th September 1918 and taken to No 74 Casualty Clearing Station, Egypt, where it was reported he was dangerously ill. He died there on 28th September.
A Court of Inquiry assembled in the Field on the 30th Day of September 1918 by order of Major T H Parry DSO Commanding 5/6th Royal Welsh Fusiliers for the purpose of inquiring into the circumstances under which 241471 Pte T Evans “C” Coy 5/6th RWF was injured.
In the presence of Captain A K Richardson 3rd RWF (President) and Lieut W Marshall 5/6th RWF & 2nd Lieut W N Roberts 1/6th RWF (Members).
The Court having assembled pursuant to order, proceed to take evidence.
1st witness – Capt J B Marsden Commanding Officer ‘C’ Company 5/6th RWF
I was in action with my Company and about midnight I noticed two figures silhouetted in the moonlight approaching my right rear. I ordered my acting Company sergeant major to halt & challenge them. He picked up a rifle and moved towards them. They appeared to be moving in what I considered to be a suspicious manner. The acting sergeant major challenged them three times. On the third time one appeared to double off back. The acting sergeant major then fired his rifle and I afterwards found my servant No 241471 Pte T Evans RWF had been wounded. I should say they were between 50 and 60 yards away. Stretcher-bearers were detailed to convey the injured man to Battalion Headquarters. These men had received no orders from me to be wandering about.
2nd witness – 240863 Pte Williams, J 5/6th RWF
On 19th September at about midnight Pte Evans T (No 241471) and I were going to Company Headquarters to fetch our water bottle. We were challenged by the acting Company sergeant major twice. Pte Evans answered the challenge twice: “Officers servant” and I shouted “Friend” once. Then the acting sergeant major & I observed that No 241471 Pte Evans had been hit in the hip. We were roughly 30 yards away when the sergeant major challenged. I went to Pte Evans assistance.
3rd witness – 240575 Sgt Hession “C” Coy 5/6th RWF
I was with Capt Marsden OC “C” Coy when he saw two men approaching from our right flank rear and asked me to challenge. I called loudly: “Halt! Who goes there?” There was no reply. I advanced 5 or 6 paces and repeated the challenge. Again there was no response. I advanced further and again repeated the challenge. The men then halted but did not reply. I then ordered them to advance to be recognised. The man in rear appeared to turn about & move in the direction from which he had come. I then fired and immediately after one of the men called out: “Sergeant Hession.” The man who had moved away came back and I found that Pte Evans had been wounded. Neither of these two men had to my knowledge received orders to leave the position in the line.
4th witness – No 62552 Pte Bradbury, W V “C” Company 5/6th RWF
On the night of the 19th September about midnight I was in Company with Captain Marsden and Coy Sergeant major Hession at Coy Headquarters. I heard Coy Sergeant major Hession challenge two figures in a crouching position moving in the direction of our rear right flank. I heard no reply to the challenges. I afterwards learnt that Pte T Evans had been wounded in the hip. The two figures appeared to be between 50 and 60 yards away.
5th witness – Capt Harding Roberts 5/6th RWF “C” Company
I heard someone shout: “Halt! Who goes there?” and immediately afterwards I heard someone shout out: “Oh my leg.” I had heard no reply to the challenge. I phoned through to OC “C” Coy and asked him what had happened where after I was informed that Pte T Evans had been hit.
T H Parry Major Commanding 5/6 RWF In the Field
2nd October 1918
I am of opinion that acting sergeant major Hession acted quite properly in firing when he did, as he took every precaution by way of challenging prior to doing. Pte Williams states in his evidence that both Pte Evans & himself heard the challenge and both replied to same. A/S M Hession must have been prevented from hearing the responses to his challenges owing to the firing that was going on at the time, and the distance at which Pte Evans and Pte Williams were from him. Taking into consideration all the circumstances I have come to the conclusion that the occurrence was accidental, and that no blame can be attached to anyone for it.
Private Evans was buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel, in Plot L, Grave 59.
He is remembered on two war memorials – Flint House and St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt, and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.