George Evans, Private 202036, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 7th June 1917 in France, aged 19
George Evans was born in about 1897, the eldest son of Mr & Mrs Edwin Evans, of Croswylan Cottage, Weston Lane, Oswestry. In 1911, thirteen-year-old George was living at the Puss in Boots, 189 Buxton Road, Macclesfield with his aunt and uncle, Elizabeth and John Hatton, a publican, who had been married for eighteen years but had no children, and a sister or cousin Maggie Evans (26), who worked as a barmaid.
George was educated at Mill Street Wesleyan Day School and attended St Paul’s Church, being a member of the choir. After leaving school, he worked for Mr Thomas Etchells, a butcher of 113 Mill Street, Macclesfield.
George enlisted in Macclesfield on 13 November 1916, joining the 13th Cheshire Regiment, which came under orders of the 74th Brigade in the 25th Division. He returned to Macclesfield for his last leave before departing for France in May 1917 to take part in the Battle of Messines, which began on 7th June 1917.
On 1st June 1917 the 13th Cheshire Regiment was at La Creche, near Bailleul, preparing for a forthcoming offensive. The battalion moved to Breemerchen on 5th June and the men were issued with tools and ammunition. The following day the men moved forward again into assembly trenches, during which two men were wounded. At 3.10am on 7th June the battalion started their attack; unfortunately part of the war diary is missing at this point.
It is not known exactly when or how George was injured but he died of his wounds at a casualty clearing station on 7 June 1917 after only three weeks active service.
A report of the death of George Evans was printed in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 22 June 1917:
PRIVATE G EVANS – Official information has been received that Private George Evans (19), of the Cheshires, was killed in action in France on the 7th inst. He joined the Army in November 1916, and came home on his last leave (prior to being drafted to the front) during the first week of May. He lived with his aunt and uncle at the Puss in Boots, Buxton Road, Macclesfield, and previous to enlisting was in the employ of Mr Etchells, butcher, Park Green, for over four years. Deceased was educated at Mill Street School, and attended St Paul’s Church. On the 6th inst. he sent a field card to Mrs Etchells, stating that he was all right, but before the card reached its destination he was called upon to lay down his life for his country. He was a bright, cheerful youth, and made friends wherever he went. Both the sons of his employer (Mr Etchells) are serving in H.M. Forces, and one of them was over on furlough at the same time as Private Evans.
A report was also printed in the Macclesfield Times on the same date:
DIED OF WOUNDS – YOUTH SUCCUMBS IN FRANCE – Mr and Mrs Hatton, Puss in Boots Hotel, Buxton Road, Macclesfield, have been officially notified that their nephew, Private George Evans, Cheshire Regt, died on June 7th at a casualty clearing station in France from wounds received in action. A native of Shropshire, the late Private Evans was in his 19th year and received his education at the Mill Street Wesleyan Day School. He was connected with St Paul’s Church, being a member of the choir, and prior to joining the Army was employed by Mr Etchells, butcher, Mill Street. The deceased joined up on November 13th and was over on draft leave seven weeks ago. On returning to Oswestry he was sent straight out to France.
and in the Border Counties Advertiser (Oswestry area local newspaper) on 4 July 1917:
Evans Pte George Ches. Rgt. – Pte Evans who died of wounds at a casualty clearing station on June 7 after 3 weeks active service was the eldest son of Mr & Mrs Edwin Evans, Croswylan Cottage Weston Lane Oswestry. He was 19 years of age and previously to enlisting was employed as a butcher in Macclesfield.
Private George Evans is buried in Grave Ref. III. C. 231 of the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private George Evans, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Elsewhere, he is commemorated on the War Memorial Gates at Cae Glas Park, Oswestry.
Brother of Private W A Evans, Welsh Regiment, who was admitted into Wimereux Hospital on 10 April 1918 suffering from gas shell wounds but is believed to have survived the war.
Thanks to John Davies of the Oswestry Men on the Gates WW1 Commemorative Project for advising that George Evans is named on that memorial.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WW1 War Diaries (France, Belgium, Germany), 1914-1920: 13th Cheshire Regt (WO 95/2246/3)
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 22 June 1917
Macclesfield Advertiser: 22 June 1917
Border Counties Advertiser: 4 July 1917
Llangollen Advertiser: 3 May 1918