Edwin Maskell Evans

Alberta Regiment - Canadian Infantry

Unit/Regiment Canadian Infantry - Alberta Regiment
Battalion 31st
Rank Private
Service Number 434506
Theatre of War first served in Western European Theatre
Date of entry therein
Age at Death 29
Date of Death 15/09/1916
Burial/Memorial Reference Serre Road Cemetery No2
Family Details Next of Kin - George Evans, 6 Davis Street,Newbridge, South Wales
Where Born Newport, Mons
Enlisted Calgary, Alberta 25/01/1915
Resided Penticton, British Columbia
How Died Killed in action
Theatre of War Western European Theatre
Medal Entitlement British War Medal
Victory Medal
Notes Commemorated on the Celynen Collieries Roll of Honour

Edwin Maskell Evans' Story

31st Alberta Regiment cap badge


Edwin Maskell Evans was born in Abercarn on 23/08/1887, the second son of John and Frances Evans. In 1901 the family were living next to the Beaufort Arms in Abercarn where they were joined by Edwin’s older brother Fred who was working as a striker for a blacksmith.

By 1911 Edwin was working as a Coal Trimmer and had moved into lodgings at 4 Davies Street, Newbridge where he lived with the Trott family. The 1911 Census was taken on Sunday 2nd April 1911, seventeen days later on 19th April 1911 Edward Maskell Evans set sail for a new life in Canada aboard the RMS Royal George. The ship departed from Avonmouth (Bristol) destined for Montreal, Canada under the stewardship of Captain James Harrison.

In the 1911 Census of Canada, Edwin (or Eddie as he now called himself) was living in Penticton, British Columbia and had found employment as a deck hand on SS Okanagan.


On 25th January 1915 Edwin Maskell Evans enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in Calgary, Alberta. He joined 'C' company, 31st (Alberta) Battalion and was allocated the regimental number 343506.

On 17 May 1915, the battalion sailed for England on the RMS Carpathia, with a complement of 36 officers and 1033 other ranks. After initial training in England, the battalion disembarked in France on 18 September 1915 and fought in Belgium and France with the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division.

On 15th September 1916 the 31st were engaged in the advance from Pozieres to Courcelette; two platoons of Edwin Evans' C company were allocated the task of 'mopping-up' in the German Front Line whilst another platoon was designated as a carrying party. These parties were tasked with carrying the following stores (in addition to their rifle, personal equipment etc):

  • Mopping-up party - 220 rounds Small Arms Ammunition per man
  • 2 Mills bombs per man
  • 3 sandbags per man
  • Also, 30 "P" grenades, 30 shovels and ten picks.
  • Carrying party - 220 rounds Small Arms Ammunition per man
  • 2 Mills bombs per man
  • 5 sandbags per man
  • Every first and second man a shovel, every third man a pick and every fourth man a can of water.

The attack was met with ferocious fire from the defending germans as was noted by Pte. Ernest Wakelyn in a letter written on 17th September.

"I have just been through what they claim was the greatest British success since the commencement of the war.  It was certainly 'some' fight. During the night we had to dig holes like gophers to protect ourselves against the incessant shell fire of the enemy, and in the morning we prepared to go over the parapet.  As soon as we showed ourselves we were met with a perfect hail of machine gun bullets.  The pellets were flying in every direction and it was then that our casualties were the heaviest".

It was during this attack Edwin Maskell Evans was killed, initially his body was not recovered and the official Canadian records show that he was due to be commemorated on the Vimy Memorial but subsequently his body was discovered, exhumed and buried in Serre Road Cemetery No2 , Beaumont Hamel.