David Gerald (Gerry) EVANS MC, MiD

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EVANS, David Gerald

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 8 February 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wangaratta, Victoria, 8 December 1889
Home Town: Moyhu, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne CofE Grammar School
Occupation: Farmer/Grazier
Died: Died of wounds, Belgium, 20 September 1917, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
Plot 19, Row A, Grave 11
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Myrrhee HB1, Myrrhee State School Pictorial HB
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World War 1 Service

8 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Melbourne, Victoria
29 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 22nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
29 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 22nd Infantry Battalion, RMS Osterley, Melbourne
1 Apr 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
25 Jul 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, Lieutenant DG Evans, 8th Battalion, March to September, 1916 As a platoon Commander of “D” Coy, this officer has done consistently good work. In the attack on Pozières on 25/7/16 he showed great courage and initiative. His platoon led the attack and under heavy fire from M. guns and artillery. He has the credentials for leadership, and is coolness and calm courage have given the men under him great confidence. Major General N.M. Smyth on behalf of Major General HB Walker Commanding 1st Australian Division
27 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
28 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, Pozières, Remaining on duty
30 Sep 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, Recommendation for a Military Cross, ended up being a Mentioned in Dispatches. Lieutenant DG Evans, 8th Battalion, 2nd October, 1916 Running a raid on the German trenches near Hollebeke on the night of 30th Sept/1st Oct, Lt Evans was in command of the left raiding party. He trained his men so well that they do the work with calm regularity and precision in very great danger. He took his post on the enemy parapet and controlled his party with great coolness. The party killed one German and brought to our lines one wounded German from whom the necessary identification was established. His fine leadership was to a very great extent responsible for the success of his party. Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Gordon Bennett, Commanding Officer
7 Mar 1917: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, Lieutenant DG Evans, 8th Battalion, 7th March, 1917 A highly competent and efficient officer, who since joining the battalion 18 months ago, has done a splendid work and shown initiative and great ability as a leader. His work as a leader of raiding parties has always been gallant. His calmness and courage had at all times given great confidence to men under him. He is most reliable, and his work has been consistently good and well worthy of recognition.
24 Apr 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion
8 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (Second)
9 May 1917: Honoured Military Cross, Lieutenant DG Evans, 8th Battalion, 17 May, 1917 (Bullecourt, 2nd Battle) During the heavy fighting in the Hindenburg line on the 8th and 9th instant, Lieut. Evans was in charge of the flank company which had the enemy in the same trench alongside of them. Lieut. Evans organised and personally led a bombing attack along the trench, thereby gaining about 200 yards of same. He personally supervised the consolidation of the new position, successfully repelled three strong counter-attacks. Throughout the fighting, Lieut. EVANS’ courageous and capable leadership and example inspired his men to a wonderful degree. By his dash and courage an almost impossible position was greatly improved and placed on a sound tactical basis. (Awarded)
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
20 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, Menin Road

Comments of mates

After Gerald’s death on 20th September 1917, the following comments were recorded.

One of the most decorated men in the 8th Battalion, Lieutenant Percy Lay (DCM, MM, MC, C de G) noted in his diary that day. “We had lost the best Captain in the AIF.” A fellow officer went even further in his praise saying: “Gerry was a grand man… I cannot speak highly enough of Gerry’s courage and behaviour…. The test of a man is to know what the men think of him and Gerry was, to use the boy’s own phrase betokening the hall-mark ‘A Dinkim Bloke.’ Believe me, that is the highest tribute a man can be paid.” (from Cobbers in Khaki, Ron Austin 1997)

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Still the Stream Glides

I have written a book considering my journey from our joint birth places to the fields of France where my two great uncles died. My point is trying to understand what it all meant and why today we are attracted to visit the sites today.

If you would like a pdf of this book, mates rates (ie no charge), just download all you would like from the Facebook link below). It is a story of two journey's, 100 years apart, converging on the Menin gate Ypres and giving a contemporary context to the remembrance to those we lost in France/Belgium in WWI.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/227753790902842/

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Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

DAVID GERALD EVANS who died of wounds in France on 20th September 1917 was the younger son of Mr. John Evans of " Red Camp," Moyhu. He was born in 1889 and was at School from 1905 to 1907.

He was with his father on their station at Moyhu when he enlisted. He gained his commission on 1st June 1915 in 22nd
Battalion. After some months in Egypt he was on 7th April 1916 taken on strength of 8th Battalion. He then went to France and on 27th July 1916 was promoted to Lieutenant.

He was Mentioned in Sir D. Haig's Despatches of 13th November 1916 and 9th April 1917 and was on 24th May 1917 promoted to Captain. On 18th July 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for: " Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He organised and personally led a successful bombing attack, consolidated the captured position and successfully repelled three strong counterattacks. His courage and able  leadership set a splendid example to his men and placed an almost impossible position on a sound tactical basis."

He died in the 10th Casualty Clearing Station as a result of shell wounds received at Zonnebeke Farm and was buried at Lyssenthoek Cemetery. One of his brother-officers writes of him : " In a short time I had formed a high opinion of him as a man and an officer, which subsequently became a deep attachment, so intimately were we associated in our lives in the fighting at Fleurbaix, Messines, Pozieres, Martinpuich and Ypres. On service one conceives an attachment for some men which is deeper than any feelings I know. Jerry was a grand man, and on the occasion of attack on Pozieres we spent 12 hours in the Chalk Pit. The Boche had seen us enter there, and that 12 hours I shall not forget. Jerry was wounded in the side and I felt hopeless-almost quite sure that he would go away, but to his everlasting credit he returned after having his wound dressed. I cannot speak highly enough of Jerry's courage and behaviour then or any other time. The test of a man is to know what his men think of him, and Jerry was, to use the boys' own phrase betokening the hall-mark, `A Dinkum Bloke.' Believe me, that is the highest tribute a man can be paid."

Another officer writes: "At present quite a gloom hangs over the 'A' Company and the Battalion and Brigade over Gerald's death.
I was one of his platoon officers, and one of the two officers with him at Bullecourt in the bombing attack when he won his Military Cross. On the morning of the 20th Gerald was just assembling his company prior to the great attack and was hit by a piece of shell, and he died the same day. When his Military Cross came through the men cheered, and when his captaincy came we were more proud of
him than ever. The boys worshipped him, his officers, his Colonel and his General loved him. Though he has made the greatest sacrifice, in that he laid down his life for his King, his country and his God, the life he led, the example he set us, will never be forgotten. He lived for everything that was good and clean, and he had high, lofty and noble ideals, and above all he was a man among men. My
mind last night was taken back to Gerald when I heard a man recite 'Be a Man.' We have lost our leader, our friend, our brother in arms, but when the men went over the top last Thursday morning they knew what was required of them and they answered the call. We have a vacant chair which can never be filled. Though he will not be with us in person we will always remember him."

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Biography

David Gerald Evans was born at Redcamp, Moyhu, via Wangaratta, in 1889.  He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Evans.  He went to Melbourne Grammar School from 1905 to 1907 and was with his father on Redcamp Station until he was enlisted.  He was promoted to Captain on 24th May, 1917, and was awarded the Military Cross in July, 1917. He died in the 10th Casualty Clearing Station as a result of shell wounds received approaching Clapham Junction on 20th September, 1917, and was buried at Lyssenthoek Cemetery.

He was awarded the Military Cross for "Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  He organised and personally led a successful bombing attack, consolidated the captured position and successfully repelled three strong counter attacks.  His courage and able leadership set a splendid example to his men and placed an almost impossible position on a sound tactical basis"  (2nd Battle of Battle of Bullecourt, 17th May, 1917)

Note also brother of Private Francis (Ken) Evans (/explore/people/291803), 51st Infantry Battalion, also listed in these archives.

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