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Graveside ceremony to honour Great War soldier

By Toby Neal | Oakengates | News | Published:

A graveside ceremony is being held on Saturday, January 20, to honour a Great War soldier from Shropshire close to the centenary of his death.

A contemporary newspaper picture of Private Charles Evans

It is part of a continuing six-year project by Oakengates & District Royal British Legion which is holding graveside ceremonies to mark the centenaries of the deaths of the fallen of the Great War who are buried in the area.

Private Charles Evans, of Snedshill, was in the Royal Field Artillery, and before enlisting in August 1917 he had worked at the Lilleshall Company's Woodhouse colliery.

During training he developed pneumonia. Discharged from a military hospital in Shoeburyness, he was brought home, where he died aged 25 on January 16, 1918.

Moira Wallace, branch secretary of Oakengates & District Royal British Legion, said: "l have been contacted by a great-great nephew of Charles, Ian Hayward, who currently lives in Glasgow. He is hoping to attend the commemoration. He is also contacting relatives who live locally."

The commemoration, being held as close as possible to the exact centenary, is at 11am at St Peter's Church, Priorslee, where Private Evans had once been a member of the church choir and was involved in the Bible Class.

He had also been a member of St Georges Temperance Band.

A number of similar commemorations have already been held as part of the project, typically including the attendance of RBL standard bearers and local dignitaries, and relatives when they can be traced, and the playing of the Last Post.

Moira said: "Charles was one of eight children - seven boys and one girl - born to William and Emily Evans of 5 Hydraulic Bank, Snedshill. Three of the sons, Arthur, Charles and William, were killed between 1918 and 1920. All three are remembered in St Peter's churchyard.

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"In 1911, aged 19, Charles was working as a steel worker locally. In 1911 the whole family, 10 in total, were living at 22 Priorslee Road, a house of three rooms.

"This year will be busy for us as we have a total of nine commemorations at various locations.

"We are also rebuilding the sandbag poppy cross in Hartshill Park, Oakengates, making it a permanent and lasting memorial to all those who have and still give their lives in conflict."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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