Born 6th April 1879 Leonard George Evans was the eldest son born to George and Elizabeth (nee Hanton) Evans, St. Oswald’s, Chester. By 1901 Leonard lived with his parents and elder sister, Elizabeth and three younger brothers, Charles, Harry and Stanley at Brewery Cottage, King Street, Chester. His father George worked as a joiner as did Leonard then aged 21, Charles 19, and Harry 15, Stanley 11, was still at School.
On 28th January 1906 Leonard married Alice Maud Foley at St. Peter’s Church Chester and they set up home at 5 Overleigh Terrace, Handbridge, Chester. By the time the 1911 census was taken Leonard and Alice had been married for five years and had one daughter Doris Elizabeth.
Leonard attested 11th December 1915, his given age was 36 years 6 months, he was 5ft 10 ¾ inches. He was mobilized 14th August 1916 and with his skills as a carpenter joined the Royal Engineers 23rd August, he would stay in the UK until the 19th April 1917 when he then embarked for France.
While training Leonard sent this postcard to his wife, the back reads: This is our Company which has been at the Gym, I am second from the left in second row at top. Our hair is cut to the skin as you can see and you get it cut every week. Len
He was transferred to the 69th Field Company R.E 16th May 1917 and died on 22nd June from wounds received the previous day. His widow Alice received a letter from the Major in command of the company, it states:
“I deeply regret to have to tell you of the death of your husband, Sapper Evans, who joined my company recently. He was wounded on the 21st and died next day in hospital. I was with him a few moments after he was hit, and he was calm and collected, and we all thought his wounds were not dangerous. He was at work about a mile behind the front line with another man when a shell struck the timber at his side, wounding him through the right eye. When I reached him, his comrades had already bandaged his head, and he spoke to me as if nothing could have daunted him. He was taken at once to a dressing station close by, and later in the morning was sent by ambulance to hospital. I am sure he was not suffering pain, because he talked away so freely and helped us to undo his coat. I was struck by his calmness. I had not known him long: he was one of the latest arrivals in the company, but he met his end as a gallant soldier and let no complaint fall from his lips. We all offer our deepest sympathy in the grievous loss you have to bear. We know what brave women at home have to bear. A white cross is being made to mark your husband’s grave.”
Notification of Leonard’s death appeared in The Cheshire Observer Saturday 30th June 1917.
‘DIED FROM WOUNDS’
EVANS – On 22nd June 1917, died of wounds received in action, aged 38 years, Sapper Leonard George Evans, R.E., dearly beloved husband of Alice Maud Evans, 5, Overleigh Terrace, Handbridge, Chester.
SAPPER LEONARD EVANS KILLED
Much sympathy will be felt with the wife of Sapper Leonard Evans, of 5, Overleigh Terrace, Handbridge, Chester, in the loss of her husband, who died from wounds on the 22nd of June. Sapper Evans, who was the son of Mr. Geo. Evans, joiner, of Watergate Street (who has three other sons in the army), assisted his father in business, and like many other patriotic Cestrians, responded to his country’s call and joined the Engineers. He had been not long at the Front before he received his fatal wound.
Within the surviving papers there are a couple of telegrams stating that Leonard died of a gunshot wound, This maybe an error.
Leonard is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun which was used from February 1917 by Casualty Clearing Stations.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Cassie Butler, Leonards great granddaughter for the pictures of Leonard.