William Arthur Evans was born in Flint on 13th May, 1893 and baptised on 31st May, 1893 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the eldest of three children to Captain William John Evans and Mary Florence (Eaton). He was a nephew to Private John Evans.
By 1901 the Evans family had moved to live at 33, Park Road, Dover, Kent, and by 1911 were living at 59, Buckland Avenue, Dover.
William Arthur never married and joined the Royal Navy straight from school and began as a Boy Artificer Engineer.
He enlisted for 12 years at Chatham, Kent on 13th May, 1911 and his service record is as follows:
On enlistment he was 5ft 7ins, chest 34ins, auburn hair, blue eyes, fresh complexion with freckles, and had a horizontal scar below the right knee. He served on the following ships: Tenedos, as a Boy Articifer, 1st January, 1909 to 15th July, 1910; Indus, 16th July, 1910 to 3rd January, 1912; Vivid II, 4th January, 1913 to 23rd March, 1913 – warned for inadequate progress and workmanship; Lord Nelson, 24th March, 1913 to 8th April, 1914; Pembroke II, 9th April, 1914 to 19th May, 1914; Queen, 20th May, 1914 to 2nd June, 1914; Pembroke II, 3rd June, 1914 to 5th June, 1914; Implacable, 6th June, 1914 to 1st August, 1914; Pembroke II, 2nd August, 1914 to 24th October, 1914; Recruit, 25th October, 1914 to 1st May, 1915; his conduct was described as very good throughout his career.
He was drowned at sea on 1st May, 1915 after his ship, HMS Recruit, was blown up by a German submarine.
HMS Recruit was a “C” Class Destroyer launched by J & G Thomson, Clydebank, yard No. 290, on 22nd August, 1896 and sunk on her first patrol 1st May, 1915, in the southern North Sea, 30 miles southwest from Galloper Light Vessel, off the Thames Estuary, Southeast England – torpedoed, probably by German “U 6” or “UB 6.” The Recruit and sister-ship, Brazen were on patrol off Galloper when the Recruit was torpedoed. She was cut in two and sank around 11:20 hours. Brazen attacked the U-boat without success. Some 39 men were lost, but a Dutch steamship saved four officers and 22 ratings. Sources vary on the identity of the attacker and include U 6, U 66, UB 6 and UB 16.
William Arthur’s body was not recovered but he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, on Panel 11. He is also remembered on the memorial at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. It is not known if he was awarded any medals.
William Arthur’s father, William John, was born in Flint and died in Dover in 1939, aged 73. He was a Trinity House Pilot and a well-known navigator, who was for some time employed in bringing vessels from different Ports for Government purposes. He was an older brother to Private John Evans, and before his marriage resided at 7, Princes Street, Flint.
His mother, Mary Florence, also born in Flint, died in Folkestone in 1957, aged 85. She was a daughter of Thomas Eaton (c.1825– 1891), licensed victualler of the Ship and Anchor Inn, Holywell Road, Flint, and his wife Bridget (c.1830–1887).