James Evans was born about 1896 in Flintshire. His parents were John H and Mary Evans.
He was recorded on the 1911 census living with his Welsh speaking family in Berthengham Holywell. Listed on the form were Mary Evans who was 47. She stated that she had been married for 27 years and had given birth to 7 children, 4 of whom had sadly not survived. Her husband was not there on census night but there was a little note at the top of the form that said ‘Husband working from home’ and that he was a ‘Stone Cutter’ The listed children were James Evans 15 an Apprentice Butcher’ and Lizzie Evans who was 10.
UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914-19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details at the top of this page and tells us that he enlisted in Birkenhead, Tranmere. This source tells us he was killed in action in France/Flanders. His medal index card also on Ancestry lists the Victory and British War Medals but his Army Service Records also includes the 1915 Star.
James’s Service Records have survived and are accessible on Ancestry.
They tell us that he attested (swore an oath) and signed up for the duration of the war on the 6th December 1915. He was 20 years old and his address was 66 Chestnut Grove, Tranmere. His trade was a Butcher and he worked for E.D Roberts. He was 5 feet 2 and half inches tall, had a chest measurement of 34 inches with an expansion range of 2 and a half inches. He had a medical examination and was pronounced fit for General Service. His next of kin was first his mother Mary but that was crossed out and replaced with his father.
But there followed a slight hiccup in his enlistment process. Correspondence in the Records between the army and Mr Roberts – James’s boss, tells us that just after he had enlisted his boss tried to have him exempted from serving. In 1916 James was living and working in Birkenhead where he was a Butcher working for Mr E A Roberts. I include the correspondence here between Mr Roberts and the Army concerning James’s enlistment. There are some words that are very difficult to read and the last couple of sentences are frustratingly missing from one letter, but it is possible to piece together what was happening.
From E.A.Roberts to Lieut Bylont
for R6 Birkenhead
Birkenhead 21st January 1916
I hereby certify that James Evans who is employed by me at 32 Wellington Road Oxon is a Butcher and Slaughterman. He has been with me a considerable time and knows the customers and is the only one these ****** the manager that can do anything in the shop. He cannot be replaced at the Slaughterhouse at the present time if anyone was ill for a considerable time our business would be at a standstill. In this light I think he is indispensible. From a patriotic point of view I would not hinder him **** from going but am******
Bottom of letter is missing
To Mr E Roberts
10 Markets Place South
26th January 1916
Re Group 3 Number 183
Your Employee James Evans, 66 Chestnut Grove, Tranmere. Describes himself as a Butcher. In compliance with War Office instructions I ask you to make a true statement of his duties and qualifications in the space opposite and also inform me of your honest opinion as to whether he is indispensible or not to your business. I must point out that any misrepresentation I have to report to the War Office
I appeal to your patriotic co-operation.
Birkenhead 25th January 1916
Dear Col Brownridge, I think under instructions contained in page 22 of Lord Derby’s notes this case should be investigated as the latter part of Mr Roberts’s letter states that he is protesting for the convenience of the man.
R O Birkenhead.
James Evans is employed by Mr Roberts as a slaughterman and a portion of his duties comprise dressing carcasses at the abattoir. But his principal occupation is Shopman in which I understand he is employed 4 out of 6 days.
This case has been considered by the Advisory Board and Tribunal and the application refused.
I have seen Mr Roberts who appears to be satisfied with the explanation and as man is not to be called up until 14th **** he does not propose taking any further action.
29th January 1916.
James was in fact mobilised on the 15th February 1916. He embarked from Folkstone on the 15th June 1916 and joined his Bttn in the field on the 26th June 1916. Sixteen days later he was killed in action.
There are documents concerning the receipt of his medals, commemorative plaque and scroll and his personal possessions.
A Living Relatives Form was completed for the army in 1920. It listed his father John H Evans and Mother Mary Evans and sister Lizzie Evans who was 19. They all lived at Bro Dawel, Berthengham, Holywell.
There is an index card for James Evans in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record office in Hawarden. It confirms his regimental details at the top of this page. The address given is Bro Dawel, Berthengam, Holywell and it says he was killed in France on 12th July 1916. It was signed by John Evans on 16th September 1919.