Private Alfred EVANS


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
2nd Battalion
Service Number:
70609
Date of Death:
1 July 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 87 to 89.


Personal History:

Alfred was born in the September quarter 1895, the eldest son of Joseph Henry and Mary Elizabeth (née Lomas) Evans of 82 Bennett Street, Buxton. He had four younger brothers, George Henry, Joseph, John and James. (1901 Census RG 13/3269)

In 1911 (Census RG 14/) the family were at the same address and Alfred was working as a "Dairy Lad".
Military History:
According to the SDGW database Alfred enlisted in Buxton. The 2nd Battalion had originally landed at St Nazaire on the 11th September 1914, part of 18th Brigade in the 6th Division. On the 27th October 1915 his Battalion transferred to 71st Brigade in same (6th) Division.

Alfred's Medal Index Card, however, shows that he entered France to join his Battalion after 1915 as he did not qualify for the 1915 Star Medal. Unfortunately, none of his Service Papers has survived.

The first major action of the Division after Alfred joined his Battalion was during the Battles of the Somme 1916, and in particular the phases known as The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, 15th - 22nd September; The Battle of Morval, 25th - 28th September, and The Battle of the Transloy Ridges, 1st -18th October 1916.

On the 29th June 1917 the 2nd Battalion were near Loos and the C.O. received orders to advance on the Lens - Lièvin road and the network of trenches in front of it, ideal ground for the enemy's defence, with houses, railway embankments and slag heaps.

At about 10.00 p.m. on the 30th the Battalion started from Calonne to meet guides from the 7th Battalion who were to act as guides. However, the guides lost their way and as a result only two Companies reached the assembly line one hour before the attack was due to commence. Unfortunately, information of a change of "zero-hour" did not reach the centre Company in time. This Company advanced at the original time and were hit by their own artillery barrage.

The Officers on the right pushed forward to a clump of trees, before being stopped by machine-gun fire. 2/Lt Wildbore established a strong point and cleared trenches around it of the enemy. The left Company, under Captain Gamble, also advanced at the zero hour and met with considerable defence and severe fighting took place. 2/Lt Alexander COWLEY of the left platoon was killed.

The Battalion History recorded: "A great deal of work had been done in consolidating the advanced position and in deepening the trenches leading thereto. ........ The fighting on the morning of the 1st was very severe, and resulted in the loss of 5 Officers and 178 other ranks. ….. The men behaved most gallantly, and detailed recommendations will follow later."

The SDGW database shows that Albert was one of 63 men of the 2nd Battalion killed in action on the 1st July 1917. His body was lost and he is commemorated on the Memorial at Loos, alongside all but of his comrades of the 2nd Battalion killed that day. In addition to 2/Lt Alexander Cowley,  2/Lt Frank Burfield GAMBLE2/Lt Reginald Frank MARTIN  and 2/Lt Wallace Howard DAVIS were also killed in action. 


Sources::
· "1st and 2nd Battalions the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) in the Great War" by H. C. Wylly
   ISBN-10: 1845744241
· I am grateful to Michelle Young for the photo from the Loos memorial.
· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for the extracts from the Battalion history

Link to CWGC Record
The Loos Memorial
Pt Evans' name on The Loos Memorial
poppy