Evan John WILLIAMS was born in New Tredegar on 23 February 1898. Evan and his family lived at 4 Long Row, Tirphil. When he enlisted in 1913 he was a Collier, but joined the South Wales Borderers in Brecon in May that year. Initially joining the 3rd Battalion, he was posted to 1st Battalion on 21st May 1913.
His Next of Kin were listed as his father, Evan, and brother George, both at 4 Lower Cross Street, Tirphil. In 1901 the family were living at 43 Jubilee Terrace. Father, Evan (b c1868) had been born in New Tredegar, and was a Collier. Mother, Elizabeth was born in Tirphil c1869. Also at home were Martha (b. 1888), George (b. 1891) and William (aged 3).
By 1911 they had moved to 30 Upper Road, Cwmsyfiog. Evan (snr) was now a widower, and at home were Margretta (b New Tredegar c1892 – not shown on the 1901 Census), Evan J, and Rhoda (b New Tredegar 1900). Martha and George were no longer resident.
When the family moved to 4 Long Row, I don't know.
His 'Service Summary' states;
Home Service – 21/5/1913 – 9/12/1914; France - 10/12/1914 – 20/12/18; Home - 21/12/1918 – 20/3/1919.
This is a comprehensive document that makes fascinating reading, as follows:
1 May - Enlisted with South Wales Borderers.
21 May - Confirmed that Evan had joined 3 Battalion, South Wales Borderers Special Reserve.
8 August - Mobilised
10 December - Arrived in France.
It appears that Evan wasn't much of a one for keeping time - he was 'Absent' so many times between 17 September and 4 December that his ranks went from Private soldier to Sergeant, back to Private and then back up one flight to Lance Corporal !!!
9 May - Wounded in Action, Richebourg. L'Avoue. The Casualty Report at this time lists Evan's 'qualifications' as a Scout (this was just prior to the Battle of Festubert).
11 May - Rejoined Bn after being wounded.
? August - Admitted to 4 General Hospital, Versailles (ill)
8 August - Admitted to 9 Stationary Hospital, Havre (diagnosed STD 7 Sep)
30 September - Discharged to 11 Camp, Harfleur.
12 November - Admitted to 9 Stationary Hospital, Havre (same)
24 December - Discharged to No.1 Camp Details, Havre.
Feb/Mar - 3 more AWOL charges – reduced in rank to Private and returned to Battalion (No. 1 Company).
20 May - Retained at 1 Division Bomb School as an Instructor until 9 July, when he returned to the Battalion.
22 or 25 July - Wounded in Action – Contalmaison – gun shot wound to shoulder [possibly during the Battle of Poziers 22 July – 3 Sept 1916]
4 August - Rejoined Battalion. Was probably a bit sarcastic at his rejoining interview when, it seems, he volunteered to go straight to the Guardroom! He was awarded 3 days FP2 for this!
25 September - Wounded in Action. Hit in the jaw by shrapnel, he was first treated by 1/3 Field Ambulance and then admitted to 1/1 Hospital (probably 1 Stationary Hospital, Rouen).
27 September - Admitted to 6th General Hospital (Rouen) with gunshot wound to face.
2 October - Transferred to 2nd Convalescent Camp (this was located at Le Havre).
6 October - Promoted in rank.
30 October - Transferred to 5th Infantry Brigade Depot (IBD).
1 December - Rejoined 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers.
8 December - Appointed Acting (unpaid) Lance Corporal (L/Cpl)
22 December - Granted Leave (furlough) to UK.
26 January - Declared Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and received 4 days CB (Confined to Barracks) as punishment.
11 March - Admitted to 1st Stationary Hospital, Rouen (STD).
28 June - Discharged and transferred to 5th IBD again.
10 July - Back in hospital in Rouen, same problem.
12 – 17 December - Located with 58 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) in Lillers – but under arrest awaiting trial:
18 December - He was was found 'guilty' of 'breaking out of hospital in November 1917', and received 7 days FP1 (Field Punishment No.1 ), but in
..there was added information relating to this episode:
3 January 18 “When in confinement, escaping” and “Drunkeness” were the charges. Found guilty and he was sentenced to 77 days FP 1.
(An added note read: “Breaking out of hospital”)
10 January - Admitted to 7th Stationary Hospital in Boulogne.
3 February - Admitted to 1st Stationary Hospital (same medical problem).
9 April - From 1 Stationary Hospital to 17 Casualty Clearing Station (in Remy Siding) then 13 CCS (in Arneke) from 10 April – ill again, but classed this time as 'temporary duty'. He remained with 13 CCS until 27 Sep 1918 (this unit moved to Ascq, near Lille, towards the end of 1918). Meanwhile, Evan finds himself in a spot of bother again....
6/7 September - AWOL again, and was this time awarded 90 days FP1 on 22 September.
27 September - Transferred to 5th (Army) Field Punishment Camp (unlocated).
22 October - Back in hospital. - a different one this time, 39 Stationary Hospital (at Ascq).
6 December - Discharged 'on Duty' enroute Le Havre for demobilisation.
15 December - Medical examination at 7 General Hospital finds 'no disability caused by Military Service.
20 December - Medical Officeer (Boulogne) confirmed Evan's transfer to UK for Demobilisation, as Class 'Z' (liable for recall to the Colours should the situation warrant it).
21 December - His address on Leave Pass indicated he was staying at 21 Lower Cross Street whilst home on leave for 28 days.
18 July - Discharged - quote “on termination of 2nd part of engagement” (para 392 KR xxi). On discharge, Evan's military character was described as 'Fair', which is not really surprising considering the number of situations he got into ! In 1920 he possibly returned to work as a Collier but no records are found for this year. In 1921 he was still living at 4 Lower Cross Street. It was from this address he acknowledged receipt of his British War medal (March) and Victory medal (July). However, prior to this, his records show a letter written in January 1919, on behalf of Major General Patch CMG, asking why Evan had “not yet been presented with his DCM”. In the end it was not presented - he received it through the post on 15 February 1919.
Then, on 11 April 1921, Evan enlisted again, in Newport, this time into 1st Monmouthshire Regiment Defence Force (service number 105) as a Private soldier (they were located in Abergavenny). That same day he was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant, and 3 days later to Acting Colour Sergeant with the appointment of Company Quartermaster Sergeant! It may be the case that he didn’t enjoy all the associated administrative work though as, on 5th July, at his own request, he reverted to Acting Sergeant.
On completion of his Short Term Service, also on 5 July 1921, his character was listed as 'Very Good'.
Note: His discharge papers stated he had completed his term of engagement 'during the Emergency'. So he was possibly called up, under the conditions of the Army Reserves Act (Class Z had been abolished in 1920), or volunteered. Not sure it would have been the latter, as the only 'Emergency' period I can find in 1921 revolves around the 'Black Friday' Miners strike that resulted in the formation of the 'Defence Corps'. This may have been why he accepted a basically 'Administrative' position as CQMS.
But Evan was not finished, yet. The 'Fair' character reference was to go against him in 1921. In that same July he applied to join the Royal Irish Constabulary (aka 'Black and Tans'). Requests were made by the RIC to establish if there were 'mitigating circumstances' that may change the 'Fair' to 'Good' (the minimum requirement), but this was rejected, so his application was refused. His reference from the Defence Force was not mentioned.
DCM Citation LG Supp 1 Apr 15-available via Ancestry. P.S. Like the Award page format :)