The AIF Project

Alfred John EVANS

Regimental number3139
Place of birthAnglesea River, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressAnglesea River via Geelong, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 4.25"
Weight135 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Evans, Anglesea River via Geelong, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date24 October 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll24 October 1916
Place of enlistmentGeelong, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name58th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/75/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A7 Medic on 16 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll58th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death25
Age at death from cemetery records25
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
165
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Mary Kate EVANS, Anglesea River, Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 146 December 1916; disembarked Plymouth, 18 February 1917 and marched into 15th Training Bn, Hurdcott, the same day.

Admitted to Fovant Hospital, 26 March 1917 (pneumonia).

Admitted to Fovant Hospital, 5 May 1917; rejoined 15th Training Bn, Hurdcott, 13 June 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 29 August 1917; marched into 5th Australian Intermediate Base Depot, Le Havre, 30 August 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 6 September 1917; taken on strength of 58th Bn, in the field, 8 September 1917.

Admitted to No 15 Australian Field Ambulance, 9 September 1917 (venereal disease); transferred to No 10 Stationary Hospital, St Omer, 10 September 1917; to No 39 General Hospital, Le Havre, 11 September 1917; discharged, 25 October 1917, and marched into 5th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Le Havre, 25 October 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 47 days.

Proceeded to unit, 30 October 1917; rejoined 58th Bn, 2 November 1917.

Admitted to 5th Divisional Rest Station, 7 December 1917 (gastritis); discharged to 5th Australian Divisional Rest Camp, 15 December 1917; rejoined unit, 17 December 1917.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Report by Reverend C. Hall, attending 58th Bn, 'buried at [Sheet] 62D E.26 C.50.70'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Statement, 2382 Pte F. HINDS, D Company 58th Bn, 4 October 1918: 'On the night of July 4th, at Villers sur Ancre, just before we went over to attack, a shell got Evans in a shelter he was in. It killed him outright. The whole of his body was covered with wounds. I saw him after death. His body was buried on the next day, July 5th, after the stunt was over. I have seen the grave, it is about 300 yards in front of the village of Villers-sur-Ancre, and just behind the front line trench, that was then. There is a wooden cross on the grave with his name, and number and date of death on it, and the nearest grave to him was about 30 yards off.'

Second statement, 343 Corporal A. QUINN, B Company, 58th Bn, 2 October 1918: 'Evans was badly knocked about by a shell while we were in trenches at Villers sur Ancre, he being killed instantaneously. We buried him the same night where he died, in the trenches.'

Third statement, 3238 Pte E.R. WARD, 58th Bn, 17 October 1919: 'I knew Casualty ... Casualty was advancing on Villers-sur-ancre [sic] when a bomb was thrown by an enemy bomber, landing near Casualty. He was wounded and died in a few minutes. He was buried near where he fell, near the Catacombs, Villers-sur-ancre.'

Fourth statement, 5219 Pte M.H. TIPPINS, D Company, 58th Bn, 19 October 1918: 'I saw him killed instantly by a Bomb in a Hop over between Morlincourt [sic] and Dernacourt in the morning. He is buried where he fell, there was no Padre, a Cross was erected with full details the next night.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, EVANS Alfred John
Red Cross File No 1020505D

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