b. c.1821 Paisley, Scotland. d. 04/10/1901 Edinburgh, Scotland.
Samuel Evans (1821-1901) was born to James and Anne Evens in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1821. He was apprenticed to the shawl weavers’ trade. At the age of 18 years, he enlisted in Gallowgate Barracks in Glasgow on the 30th September 1839 and signed his attestation papers to serve in the 26th Regiment of Foot until legally discharged. He was given the sum of two shilling and six pence and a duplicate of the Articles of War which he had signed Samuel Evens.
1535 Private Evens joined his regiment in India in 24th October 1840 and moved on to China on 5th August 1841 to participate in the China War for which he was later awarded the ‘China 1842’ medal. In August 1843, the regiment returned to Edinburgh Castle and were on duty there for the next eight years. He was promoted to Corporal on the 20th July 1848, but reverted after a mere 131 days. When volunteers were invited to join the 19th Foot bound for the Kaffir Wars in South Africa, Samuel Evens, Thomas McNichol and 20 other Cameronians put their names forward. When they arrived in Devonport in February 1852 to join the 19th Foot, he was given a new regimental number 2721 and thereafter called Evans. He was promoted to Corporal in September 1853, but was reduced to the ranks as well as being placed in confinement for three days after only 111 days at that rank. The reason for his demotion is not recorded.
The declaration of war with Russia changed the Green Howards’ intended move to South Africa. In 1854, Evans sailed with the 19th Foot to Varna and on to the Crimea. Private Evans fought at the Battle of Alma on 20th September 1854, was a sharpshooter on the heights of Victoria Ridge during the Battle of Inkerman on the 5th November. He then spent five months in the trenches before Sebastopol.
On the 13th April 1855, at Sebastopol, he repeatedly volunteered with another man to lead a small party to repair an embrasure at a very exposed part of the lines, under heavy and continuous fire. He was seriously wounded assaulting the Great Redan on 8th September 1855, and sent to the Scutari Hospital. He was then shipped back to England, where he was discharged from the Army at Chatham, Kent on 13th May 1856. He married Margaret McNicholl in Edinburgh in 1856 and became a time-keeper in the city.
He then was offered the job as Lodge Keeper at Holyrood Palace. Soon after this, he was awarded the Victoria Cross and he travelled down to London, for the first investiture at Hyde Park on 26th June 1857 and was presented with his medal by Queen Victoria. On his return to Scotland, he ran a general dealer’s business in Dumfries, but, at the age of 67, with increasing ill health, he returned to Edinburgh and lived at 332 Lawnmarket for the last 13 years of his life. In 1896, the elderly couple were invited to the Curragh in Ireland to stay with his old Regiment. After his wife died in 1899, he was again invited to stay with the Regiment at Bradford Moor Barracks.
He died on 4th October 1901, aged 80 years, and buried alongside his wife at Portobello Cemetery, Piershill in Edinburgh. The 1st Battalion, The Green Howards, on return from the Boer War in South Africa, had a memorial built for him and his wife over the grave. Samuel Evans bequeathed his medals to the Green Howards Regiment after his death, and they are displayed in the Regimental Museum in Richmond, Yorkshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL:GREEN HOWARDS MUSEUM, RICHMOND, YORKSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: PIERSHILL CEMETERY, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND. SECTION C, GRAVE 1183
Thomas Stewart – Image of his VC medal group at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond.