Private 10048 John Evans

Evans John 96 428x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 25th April 1917, age 24.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 144th Company. 48th Division.
Formerly 25921 Worcestershire Regiment.

Son of Mr and Mrs J. M. Evans, of 45, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/753813/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
17 Bradley Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Joshua M. Evans (43, Iron Moulder, born Dawley Green, Salop), his wife Elizabeth (43, born Tipton), and their 7 children: Frederick (18, born Tipton), Florrie (16, born Tipton), Gertrude (15, born Tipton), George (13, born Tipton), Sarah (10, born Tipton), Jack (8, born Tipton) and Arthur (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
45 Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Joshua Evans (53, Iron Moulder, born Dawley, Salop), his wife Elizabeth (53, born Bilston), and 7 of their 9 surviving children of 11: Florence (26, Servant, born Tipton), Gertie (25, born Dawley), George (23, Bridge Riveter, born Tipton), Sarah (20, Coat Finisher, born Tipton), Jack (18, Bridge Riveter, born Tipton), Arthur (12, School, born Tipton) and Lillian (9, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

In March and April 1917 the Germans had conducted their ordered retreat to the Hindenburg line. The 144th Company Machine Gun Corps, as part of 48th (South Midlands) Division, had been following and harassing the Germans eastward from Peronne. By 24th April they were just a mile from the Hindenburg Line, which at this point ran just in front of the St. Quentin Canal at Bony. Here Gillemont Farm sat on a spur of land with good visibility over the German positions of the Hindenburg Line.

At 03.45am on the 24th April the 144th Company MGC supported an attack on Gillemont Farm. A strong German counter-attack at 08.00am, under a devastating bombardment, forced a retreat to their start point after suffering heavy casualties. The assault on Gillemont Farm was ordered to recommence at 2300 on the 24th. A confused struggle ensued in the darkness with bomb and bayonet, but eventually the Worcestershire lads forced the enemy out of the Farm and down the slopes.

Dawn on the 25th April brought a storm of fire from all directions onto Gillemont Farm; the narrow spur gave the enemy a target impossible to miss. At 0600 a strong German counter attack was made, which the Worcesters managed to beat off with difficulty. They continued to hold firm throughout the day, until they were finally relieved at nightfall.

During the 25th, Jack Evans was waiting in a shelter until it was time to go forward, when a shell hit the shelter and killed him instantly. A letter from his officer says that he was buried by a Lance Corporal of the Worcestershire Regiment with whom he used to work, but the location of the grave was lost and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald May 12th 1917
Information has been received by Mr. & Mrs Evans of Burnt Tree, that their son, Lance Corporal Jack Evans, was killed in action on April 25th. He had been in France about 12 months, during which time he had been in very heavy fighting. He was in a Machine Gun section. His officer, writing to his parents, say that he did splendidly in every charge, and that he was very popular with all his comrades. He was an old scholar of Burnt Tree Council School, and a member of St Michael's Church. His two brothers, (Privates Fred and Arthur Evans) are also serving their country.

Tipton Herald May 26th 1917
As previously briefly announced, Lance Corporal Jack Evans, whose parents live in Burnt Tree, Tipton, has been killed in action on April 25th. He had been in France for 12 months in the MG company, and had done very good work. He was 24 years of age. He has two brothers also serving their country, namely, Lance Corporal Fred Evans (who has been in France for over two years in the South Staffords), and Private Arthur Evans, who is in training.
The following letter has been received by Mrs Evans from Second Lieut R.G. Foster:- " It is with very much regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son Jack in action on April 25th. He was one of the very best men in my section, and I had him promoted to Lance Corporal above men who had been out here almost two years. His team had advanced a certain distance and were supporting an infantry attack on an important farm held by the enemy. They were waiting in a shelter they had found till it was time to go further forward, when a shell hit the shelter and killed your son instantly. He was a man we could ill afford to lose at any time, and I, at least, have lost one who will take a lot of replacing. He was always thoroughly straight in all his doings, and a man one could always rely on. I miss him very much. The exact location of his grave - he was buried by a Lance Corporal of the Worcestershire Regiment, with whom he used to work - has been communicated to the authorities."