World War I
Charles Evans


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In March of 1901 the enumerators recorded the presence of the Evans family, all eight of them. They lived in the School House just above Lilystone Hall, and opposite All Saints Church. The Evans’ had arrived in the village prior to the census to take charge of the village school. Henry and Ann along with eldest son Frank were the teachers, the latter only being 15! Kate, Charles, Harry, Jessie and Hubert made up the remainder of the family. None had been born in the village and indeed you could trace the family’s travels across the country by where the children had been born, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Cornwall.
Charles Evans was born in 1889 and was the third child of six, and had been born at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire. They all lived in the school house next to the school, both buildings still exist, but are privately owned. Life at the school was hard as his father Henry appears to have been an exceptionally strict headmaster, which filtered into his family life. He was a good sportsman and at one time played for Essex County Cricket club's youth team. He also at one point worked in the grocer's shop in the High Street at the corner of Swan Lane,
When war was declared, Charles already 25 was comparatively old when he enlisted at Warley and entered the war with the 326th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, service number 30886.
It was this unit of the army that provided the heavy calibre guns and howitzers placed some way behind the front line, and provided the sustained support before an attack. The battery was armed with four 6" Howitzers (26 cwt) which were developed in 1915 to replace the earlier 25 cwt and 30 cwt models, each had a maximum range of 11,400 yds and fired shrapnel & high explosive shells weighing 86 lb.
In late 1916 Charles who by this time he was a sergeant, and the battery were sent to the Eastern Mediterranean. When they returned, they went back to their depot near Tilstock, Shropshire. It was not long before the damp weather in contrast to the heat of the Mediterranean took its toll on the soldiers, and an outbreak of influenza was recorded. It had a devastating effect and on 8th Feb 1917 Charles died from its effects, he was 28 years old.
As was common to war dead, he and his comrades were given full military honours and buried in Tilstock Churchyard, and are cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves.
Charles was unlucky as he died at home away from the fighting, but at the same time he was away from his family, but he is remembered on the Stock War Memorial.
Hubert his youngest brother is buried in All Saints Churchyard, and was actively involved in many aspects of the village, such as the cricket team.
I was recently contacted by Charles’s great niece and nephew, who had accessed Charles’s information via the Stock website and subsequently been enticed to Shropshire to pay their respects on the strength of it. They presented me with a photograph of his headstone which can been seen on the virtual memorial on the internet.
Stock Index War Memorials