Francis (Ken) EVANS

EVANS, Francis

Service Number: 2399
Enlisted: 3 April 1916, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Wangarattta, Victoria, Australia, 13 October 1884
Home Town: Moyhu, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School
Occupation: Stock and Station Agent
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 13 October 1917, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Passchendaele, New British Cemetery
Plot 13, Row A, Grave 30,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Melbourne Grammar School WW1 Fallen Honour Roll, Myrrhee HB1, Myrrhee State School Pictorial HB, Oxley War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

3 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2399, Perth, Western Australia
20 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2399, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '19' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Uganda embarkation_ship_number: A66 public_note: ''
20 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2399, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Uganda, Fremantle
17 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2399, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1), Third Ypres

The valiant know

In what many literary critics consider to be Australia’s rival to Erich Maria Lemarque’s “All quite on the Western Front”, Frederic Manning paraphrased William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act II, Scene II for the title of his book (see below), “The middle parts of fortune (1929).” In many ways, the book and its title summarise the significant contribution made by privates such as Ken Evans and all the rest who fought valiantly but were never singled out for distinction. The satisfactory completion of WWI from the Allies perspective would not have been possible without their roles both during the war and their enduring of the consequences of that contribution after the war was finished.

William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, (Act II, Scene II).
Hamlet: My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do you both? Rosencrantz: As the indifferent children of the earth. Guildenstern: Happy, in that we are not overhappy. On Fortune’s cap we are not the very button. Hamlet: Nor the soles of her shoes? Rosencrantz: Neither, my lord. Hamlet: Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favors? Guildenstern: Faith, her privates we. Hamlet: In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true. She is a strumpet. What news? Rosencrantz: None, my lord, but that the world’s grown honest. Hamlet: Then is doomsday near?…..


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. The spine of this story are provided by the sampling of letters from Ken Evans and his brother Gerald Evans home from 1915-1917.

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Sophie Scott

Francis Evans, nicknamed Ken, was born on October 13th 1884 in Redcamp Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia. He lived with his father, John Evans, mother, Eleanor Lucy Evans, and his multiple brothers and sisters. His sister, J.M Evans and brother Albert Evans are mentioned along with their mother in a source attached. His youngest brother, David Gerald Evans, also fought and died in the war.

As previously mentioned, Evans went to Melbourne Grammar School in 1902 and 1903 and based on a photo taken we can see that Evans was a part of the rowing team. Sources tell us Evans was a stock and station agent but was an auctioneer closer to when he enrolled for the war.

On March 3rd, 1916, Francis Evans enlisted to join the war whilst in Blackboy Hill, Perth, Western Australia despite having no previous military experience. He got accepted, meeting the requirements needed to become a soldier and later that year on the 20th of September, he embarked from Fremantle.

Evans was appointed from 4th reinforcments to 5th reinforcements in the 51st battalion on the 19th of December 1916.

He was admitted into the sick hospital on the 1st of January 1917 and lateer re-joined his unit on the 17th of February 1917.

Evans was killed in action in Zonnebeke, Belgium. He was on his way to relieve another battalion, just behind the front line, but before he could reach his fellow soldiers, he and another man were hit by an oncoming shell. Most sources and documented papers say he died on the 13th of October, 1917, but some claim he actually died on the 10th of October 1917.

Francis's grave lies in Passchendaele, New British Cemetery. Plot 13, row A, grave 30.

Since Francis Evans was killed in action, he was unable to return home and continue a normal life and perhaps start his own family. however, he is not forgotten, he had his many brothers and sisters to keep the memory of not only him but also his brother alive.



Francis Evans (Ken to the family and Frank to his army mates) was born at Redcamp, Moyhu, via Wangaratta and was the third youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Evans of Redcamp, Moyhu, via Wangaratta, and a brother of David Gerald Evans. He was born in 1885 and was at Melbourne Grammar School in 1902 and 1903. On leaving school after being on Redcamp station with his father he joined a firm of Stock and Station agents first in Wangaratta and then with Dalgety & Co. Ltd. in Perth. He enlisted in Western Australia and was a signaller in the 51st Battalion. After a year at the Front he was killed by a shell at Zonnebeke on 13th October, 1917.

Francis's brother Captain Gerald Evans (/explore/people/232126) (8th Battalion) was killed 3 weeks earlier in 1917 near Polygon Wood.

On May 22nd 1917 Francis wrote home including the following:-

"I saw Gerald for a few minutes yesterday. I was marching through a village where his Battalion had been billeted for four days and he happened to be standing on the side of the road, I couldn't stop but we saw one another at about the same time, and he walked along side me for a good way & we had a bit of a talk, I was more than glad to see him as I have been wishing to for some time & he looks really well. He was leaving there that afternoon, so we are moving in the opposite directions at present."  This is thought to be the last time the brothers saw each other.