Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 5 - Alfred La Combra Hastings Evans

In memory of
Lance Corporal
Alfred La Combra Hastings Evans
who died on November 2, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 463271
Age: 31
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Pioneers
Division: 3rd

Additional Information:

Son of Alfred Hastings Evans and Pauline Evans, of 1 13, Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea; husband of Catherine B. Evans, of 40, Beaumont Rd., Plymouth.
Cemetery: BRADFORD (SCHOLEMOOR) CEMETERY; Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Grave Reference: K. U. 654
Commemorated on Page 83 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

I confess I chose Alfred La Combra Hastings Evens partially because of his rather lengthy and unusual name. My thought was that it might make it simple to find information on him, and it almost worked too ! I began with his attestation papers which I found on
A few things jumped out at me initially.  Alfred was another UK born citizen who chose to fight with Canadian troops, but in the above memorial page his next of kin is listed as his wife Catherine B Evans with an address in Plymouth UK. However when he signed up on Aug 2 1915 in Vernon BC, his wife's address is given as Broadway Ave W in Vancouver. 
I found a possible listing on the 1911 Canadian census for an Alfred Evans

Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Age: 26
Birth Date: May 1885
Birthplace: England
Relation to Head of House: Lodger
Immigration Year: 1905
Tribal: English
Province: British Columbia
District: Vancouver

However I haven't been able to find a marriage in either Canada or England. Nor did I have any luck finding Catherine as a widow and without her maiden name I can't find out anything about her at all or any possible children of the marriage. The only corresponding tree on Ancestry did not list a spouse so it's a bit of a dead end for now.

The other thing that intrigued me about Alfred Evans was his unit- I had never heard of the Canadian Pioneers so I did a quick search and came up with very little. One source I found suggests
..the pioneers provide essentially the same duties as the engineers, working closely with the engineers to maintain lines of communication.  The only Pioneer Battalion that did not reorganize into the Engineers in 1917 was the 1st Pioneer Battalion, which instead converted to a Railway Troop.
That source did however lead me to another LAC database, War Diaries of the First World War where I found a daily summary of events and information about the 3rd battalion of the Canadian Pioneers. All of the entries I read contained only info on work that was accomplished- things like trenches dug and lines repaired - the most interesting part is the names like Mouton St, and Anniversaire Trench. No mention of battles or injuries at all, nor any indication of exact location. So no help there in discovering what happened to Alfred Evans or how he came to be buried back in Yorkshire England.

I finally had some luck when I did just a basic google search for his full name. One of the links that came up was a Rootsweb archive from 2003 for Bradford, UK,  the location of the cemetery in which Alfred is buried.

Hope you will find something to interest you here. A brief outline of the article in the Telegraph and Argus at the week-end...........anyone wanting a scan of it, please let me know.

"The outline of a maple leaf has led to an interesting discovery of Canadian soldiers buried in a Bradford cemetery nearly 90 years ago. During a recent visit to Scholemore graves have been found each bearing the characteristic maple leaf. It is thought the men may have ended up there after being shipped to hospital. The cemetery records show they had been in the Bradford War Hospital."

The names are
F W BROCK - aged 35 - Forestry Corps died Oct 19 1918
W J SCOTE - aged 20 - Canadian Army Service Corps died Oct 18 1918
W J LUCAS - aged 18 - 2nd Canadian Construction Coy died Nov 26 1918
G MEADE - no age - Canadian Machine Gun Corps died Jan 28 1919
C H EVANS - aged 31 - 3rd Canadian Pioneers - died Nov 2 1916 ****
R J GOODE - no age - 3rd Canadian Inf - died Oct 11 1916

The Telegraph & Argus researcher Alan MAGSON's research has revealed the ****C H EVANS full name was Alfred La Combra Hastings Evans, a lance corporal from Plymouth, Devon.

So it would seem that Alfred Evens was injured but survived long enough to be sent back to England, only to die in Bradford UK, on Nov 2, 1916.

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