In memory of Richard Evans
Richard Evans was born on 5 March 1919, writes niece Mair Jones. He was the youngest son of Mary Ellen and Richard Evans of Tan y Graig Bach, Gwalchmai. His father served with the Royal Army Service Corps in World War One. His father had been gassed while serving with the Royal Army Service in the First World War, and passed away at home on 26 October 1919. Richard Evans senior, who is commemorated on Gwalchmai war memorial, left his wife, three daughters and two sons.
In 1921 Mrs Evans married John Jones, a widower who had five children. Two were in service and three at home. The two parents loved all their children dearly. The family went to live at Tŷ’r Gwydd, where two other sisters were born.
Richard attended Gwalchmai Primary School until he was 14 years old, when he began working on local farms as a labourer. His main hobby was boxing. While in the Royal Navy he won a boxing tournament and was awarded a silver cup with his name engraved on it. It is still kept by the family. He also liked football and socialising with friends over a pint or two of beer. He enjoyed catching rabbits with his step-father.
When the Second World War was declared, Richard joined the Royal Navy. One step-brother, John, was a regular solider with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was taken prisoner of war when the British forces hurriedly retreated from the Continent through Dunkirk in 1940. Step-brother Owen was with the Royal Army Corps. Both came home safe.
Able Seaman Richard Evans served on several ships. Latterly he was on the destroyer HMS Versatile (pictured right), built in the First World War and deployed from September 1939 to escort convoys of ships. At around the time the ship went into dry dock at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he fell overboard and drowned on 24 November 1941. His body was discovered weeks later. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his ship as HMS Cleopatra, which was not commissioned for service until December 1941.
Richard’s parents insisted on having his body brought home for burial. The coffin was transported by train to Bodorgan station, Anglesey, where a hearse was waiting to bring his body home to Tŷ’r Gwydd. His funeral was held on 7 January 1942 at St.Morhaiarn Church, Gwalchmai, where Mary Ellen had buried her first husband in 1919.
She was buried with her son Richard in December 1948. Her second husband was buried there in July 1961.