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Forces War Records Blog


Lt-Col Dick Evans, who has died aged 92, was awarded a Military Cross in Italy in 1944 while serving with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.

In February 1944, Evans was in the Anzio beachhead serving as adjutant of the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (1 KSLI). Their position was under relentless shelling. A railway gun, known as “Anzio Archie”, was particularly troublesome; the high explosive shell weighed 550lb and had a range of 30 miles.
Infiltration by the Germans was continuous. On the night of February 7, a captured German officer shouted as he was being led away: “Do a Dunkirk while you still have time!” At dusk the next day it was reported that two rifle companies had been pinned down by machine-gun fire and most of their officers had become casualties. Evans was sent forward in darkness and pouring rain with orders to contact them.
This was a most hazardous assignment because the companies’ exact location was not known and they were still in close contact with the enemy. Evans found them, however, reorganised their defences and, by morning, they were ready to face the enemy again. The citation for the award of an MC paid tribute to Evan’s courage, cheerfulness and determination during 15 days of bitter fighting.
Richard Evans was born at Eyton, Herefordshire, on January 15 1920 and educated at Stowe and Worcester College, Oxford, where he read Agriculture; he played rugby and tennis for his college.
After the outbreak of war, he was posted to Mill Hill barracks and then to OCTU at Farnborough. He and another cadet found the food so disgusting that they had breakfast every day in a nearby hotel.
Commissioned into the KSLI in November 1940, he saw active service with the 1st Battalion throughout the war, first as part of the First Army in North Africa and then during the diversionary attack on the island of Pantelleria, the assault landing at Anzio and the series of fierce battles which followed. During the latter part of the campaign in Italy, he commanded “A” Company 1KSLI and saw further action during the major battles in the Monte Grande and Monte Cenere sectors. He was awarded the American Bronze Star. After the war he was engaged in a challenging operational tour of duty in Palestine, followed by deployment to the Sudan. In 1947 he returned to England on his appointment as adjutant of 4KSLI (TA). He rejoined 1KSLI, stationed in Hong Kong in 1951, and went on to see active service with the battalion in Korea. While commanding his company, after crossing the River Imjin on a reconnaissance mission – “a thoroughly stupid and ill-conceived operation,” he wrote afterwards — he was severely wounded when his HQ was mortared by the Chinese. After recovering from his wounds, he was posted to the Light Infantry Brigade HQ as brigade adjutant. A spell with 4 KSLI as training major was followed by a move back to 1KSLI during the Mau Mau campaign in Kenya. He took command of the battalion in 1960 and retired from the Army three years later. Evans was a keen rugby and tennis player throughout his career in the Army, and in his leisure time he enjoyed hunting, shooting and fishing. In retirement he farmed in Herefordshire. He bred Holsteins for many years and was a keen member of the Ludlow Hunt. For 25 years he served as a JP in Leominster. A robust and genial supporter of his regiment, he was always ready to offer encouragement and sound advice. Dick Evans married, in 1965, Marian Cuff. She predeceased him and he is survived by their son. Lt-Col Dick Evans, born January 15 1920, died November 12 2012 Source: Telegraph.
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