b. 28/05/1898 Carmarthen, Wales. d. 08/12/1985 Claro, North Yorkshire.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 16/09/1918 Dover, Kent.
David Hwyel Evans (1898-1985) was born on 28th May 1898 in Carmarthen, Wales. He was the son of Samuel J Evans OBE and his wife, Annie (nee Griffiths). He was brought up on Anglesey and he was educated at Llangefni Grammar School where his father was the Headmaster. He had a brother, Frederick. David became Head Boy of his school and excelled at sports, and on leaving at 18, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as a signalman. In the First World War, he served in the 13th Submarine Flotilla and in HMS Trident in the Dover Patrol. He took part in both the Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids which saw a number of gallantry awards.
On the 16th September 1918, he was in Dover, Kent, when there was an explosion amidships on HMS Glatton. The explosion and fire cut off the after part of the ship, killing or seriously injuring all the officers who were on board with one exception. The whole ship could have blown up at any moment. Evans, Lieutenant George Belden, Petty Officer Albert Stoker and Able Seaman Edward Nunn were in boats that were rescuing men who had been blown overboard or jumped into the sea. They proceeded on board on their own initiative and entered the superstructure, which was full of dense smoke, and then went to the deck below. They succeeded in rescuing 7 or 8 badly injured men from the mess deck, as well as 15 men whom they rescued from the superstructure. This work was carried out without gas masks, and, although at one point they were driven out by fire, they proceeded down again after hoses had been played on the flames. They continued until all chance of rescuing others had passed and the ship was abandoned; she was sunk by torpedo as the fire was spreading and it was impossible to flood the magazines. All 4 men were awarded the Albert Medal, but only Evans lived long enough to exchange it for a George Cross.
After the War, Evans resigned his commission as a Lieutenant and studied for a General Science degree at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and became Science Master at Radley College from 1923 to 1925, but the call of the sea was strong and he returned to the Navy, and served until 1947 as an Instructor Officer.
During the Second World War he served in the South Atlantic and later on the Arctic convoys where he was a Strategical Officer of the Fleet flagship. For two years from 1940-1942 he was Commander of the Royal Naval College at Wills Hill, Bristol.
In 1947, he was offered a post as a part time lecturer in the Maths Department, and was Warden of the Devonshire Hall of Residence, University of Leeds. He had married Marjorie Elisabeth Lea who hailed from Canada in 1932 and they had a daughter Bronwen. Evans and his wife retired to Yorkshire, and Evans was Honorary Secretary of the Albert Medal Association from 1966 to 1972, and a committee member of the VCGCA from 1972. He was also Vice-President of the Zeebrugge (1918) Association. He died on 8th December 1985 near Ripon, Yorkshire. He was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Kirkby Malzeard, Yorkshire on 12th December 1985.
David’s medals including the GC (which he exchanged in 1971), British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45 and the 1977 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal are still held in the family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT’S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: KIRKBY MALZEARD CEMETERY, KIRKBY MALZEARD, YORKSHIRE.
Reverend Ian Kitchen – Image of Evans GC Grave in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Kirkby Malzeard.