EVANS, Arthur Leslie

NAME:  Arthur Leslie EVANS                                                                                                                         

SERVICE NO:  1970

YEAR OF BIRTH:  1893

PLACE OF BIRTH:  Warrnambool

DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 29 July 1915

PLACE OF ENLISTMENT:  Melbourne

AGE AT ENLISTMENT:  21

UNIT: 11th Australian Field Artillery Brigade (late 8th Light Horse 14th Reinforcement)

EMBARKED: 27 January 1916

TROOPSHIP:  HMAT A1 Hymettus

FATE:  Killed in Action – 27 April 1918 – France

Arthur Evans was born in Warrnambool in 1893, a son of George Evans and Agnes Jane Morton Gardner who married in 1893.  The family lived at Panmure until at least 1908.  Arthur’s father apparently died sometime in the years before, leaving Agnes and a large family.  In 1910, Agnes remarried to Robert Charles Richardson and they resided in Ararat.  Agnes had a further two children in 1910 and 1912.

War broke and Arthur’s brother Robert enlisted on 26 July 1915.  Days later, Arthur also enlisted.  He spent time at the 21st Battalion depot in Warrnambool in late 1915 then moved on to the No. 2 Squadron Depot at Seymour before finally transferring to the 8th Light Horse Regiment (8th LHR) on 20 January 1916.  He sailed with the 14th Reinforcements of the 8th LHR a week later.  When he reached Egypt, Arthur transferred to the 4th Division Artillery. The Field Artillery Brigades (FAB) required horsemen to drive wagons to move artillery and ammunition. Soon after Arthur transferred to the 12th FAB as a Mustered Gunner.

AN AUSTRALIAN DIVISIONAL AMMUNITION COLUMN RETURNING FROM DELIVERING AMMUNITION TO THE FRONTLINE, FRANCE c1916. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C46379

Meanwhile, at home, Arthur’s step-father Robert Richardson enlisted on 28 February 1916 and Agnes moved to Hamilton.

Arthur arrived at Marseilles, France with the 12th FAB in June 1916 but on 15 July 1916, he was on the move again to the 24th FAB, again as a driver.  On 27 September Arthur was kicked by a horse and spent time in hospital before returning to duty in early October.  He transferred again on 11 February 1917 to the 11th FAB then at Delville Wood, France.  The brigade later went to Belgium and was involved in the Battle of Messines.  Later in the year, Arthur’s brother Robert’s actions with the 5th Battalion in Belgium saw him recommended for and awarded a Military Medal. In time, the 11th FAB moved back to the Somme.

THE 11th FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE IN FRANCE IN 1917. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C388084

On 27 April 1918, Arthur was transporting ammunition to anti-tank guns between Melincourt and Henencourt, France.  He was killed during the trip.  Chaplin Garnet Shaw of the 11th FAB wrote to Agnes, then living in Lonsdale Street, Hamilton, on 30 April 1918 with details of Arthur’s death,

Your lad was recognised as having one of the nicest natures in the battery, (to use the words of an officer who knew him), and so many of his comrades voluntarily walked some miles to attend his funeral. Your son was taking up ammunition when he was killed. It will be a comfort to you to know that his death was instantaneous and therefore painless. I myself, was able to take the burial service, and the grave lies in a dear little cemetery in a village called Frechencourt, some eight miles from Alaertwhere also a number of his comrades have been laid to rest. A cross, together with identification inscriptions being placed over the grave
Agnes’ husband Robert Richardson returned to Australia in December 1918 and her son Robert on March 1919.  She died in 1948 at Ararat aged seventy-seven.
Arthur Evans is remembered on the Borough of Hamilton WW1 Honour Roll.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Australian War Memorial – 11th Field Artillery Brigade Unit Diary

Australian War Memorial – Red Cross Missing and Wounded Files – Arthur Leslie Evans

Australian War Memorial – Roll of Honour – Arthur Leslie Evans

Australian War Memorial – WW1 Embarkation Roll – Arthur Leslie Evans

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Frechencourt Communal Cemetery – Arthur Leslie Evans

Discovering Anzacs – WW1 Service Record – Arthur Leslie Evans

Newspaper Articles from Trove – Arthur Leslie Evans

The AIF Project – Arthur Leslie Evans