Charles ‘Percy’ Evans - Death of a Boy Soldier
Charles ‘Percy’ Evans was born in 1898 at Brampton Abbotts, Herefordshire. His parents George Evans and Sarah Ann Merrick. Percy was the older brother to my grandfather Reg Evans, who was born in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Entry in the family bible
In 1915, Percy joined the 3rd Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment at Abertillery when he was just 16 years of age. I had been told many years ago that Percy had left the family home at Penpergwm, Abergavenny, and had exaggerated his age to enable him join up. Percy’s date of entry is recorded as the 13th Feb 1915. The following night Percy and his Battalion sailed from Southampton on the S.S. ‘Chyabassa’ to Flanders.
Percy and the 3rd Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment (3rd MONS) were in the trenches near the Flemish town of Ypres. The 3rd Mons suffered catastrophic losses from April 24th- May 11th as they were bombarded by German shelling and faced direct infantry assaults. The exchanges in April 1915 at Ypres were the first use of poisonous gas by the Germans. The 3rd Mons were decimated, of the 1020 men who arrived with Percy in Feb 1915, only 134 men were alive on the 10th May 1915. This may be the reason that there is conflicting information over the exact date, the boy soldier, Percy was killed. Some records state the 2nd May and others 11th May 1915. On the 11th May 1915 the Battalion was moved out of the front line to Peperinghe. Here there were parcels awaiting them that couldn’t be delivered to the front line. The majority of which were addressed to boys and young men that could no longer receive them.
Last letter home from Percy to his Mother
Charles ‘Percy’ Evans was awarded two medals, the ‘Star’ and the ‘Victory’. For the loss of his son, his father George Evans received a gratuity of just £3. Private Percy Evans is memorialised at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.