Topic: Rifleman Percy William Edgar Evans

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War killed in action during the Somme Campaign.

Rifleman Percy William Edgar Evans - 23/418 Percy Evans 

Percy was born 24 June 1893 at Kowai Bush, son of Richard Robert and Christina Evans.  Prior to enlisting he was working as a labourer for R. Millar at Methven.  He was 5 ft 5 ½ inches tall with a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. The doctor noted that he said he had never had an accident, illness or fit.

Percy enlisted 29 May 1915 at Methven and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He embarked on 9th October 1915 from Wellington bound for Suez. Before he left he was guest at a Farewell Social where he was presented with a set of military brushes and a purse of sovereigns.  After time in Egypt the Rifle Brigade were sent to France and he embarked from Alexandria on board the Arcardia on 6th April 1916. He was killed in action on 10 September 1916 during the Somme campaign, aged 23. Over half those who went into action during that period have no known grave. His name is recorded on the Caterpillar Valley Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France. Percy is remembered on the Kowai Bush, Springfield and Ashburton Memorials.


Cemetery locale history: Longueval is a village approximately 13 kilometres east of Albert and 10 kilometres south of Bapaume. The Memorial is situated on a terrace in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, which lies a short distance west of Longueval, on the south side of the road to Contalmaison.
Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past "Caterpillar Wood", to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured, after very fierce fighting, in the latter part of July 1916. It was lost in the German advance of March 1918 and recovered by the 38th (Welsh) Division on 28 August 1918, when a little cemetery was made (now Plot 1 of this cemetery) containing 25 graves of the 38th Division and the 6th Dragoon Guards. After the Armistice, this cemetery was hugely increased when the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men were brought in from other small cemeteries, and the battlefields of the Somme. The great majority of these soldiers died in the autumn of 1916 and almost all the rest in August or September 1918. CATERPILLAR VALLEY CEMETERY now contains 5,569 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 3,796 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 32 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to three buried in McCormick's Post Cemetery whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. On 6 November 2004, the remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were entrusted to New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Longueval Memorial, France. The remains had been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, France, Plot 14, Row A, Grave 27 and were later laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand. On the east side of the cemetery is the CATERPILLAR VALLEY (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL, commemorating more than 1,200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known. This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

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Rifleman Percy William Edgar Evans

First Names:Percy William Edgar
Last Name:Evans
Date of Birth:24 June 1893
Place of Birth:Kowai Bush
Date of Death:10 September 1916
Place of Death:Somme, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France
Age at death:23
User Name:L M Seaton
Other names known by:BDM gives Percy Edgar William
Occupation before enlisting:Labourer
Marital Status:Single
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:29 May 1915
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Richard Robert and Christina (nee Petrie) Evans, of Kowai Bush, Canterbury.
Service Number:23/418
Rank last held:Rifleman
Embarkation:9 October 1915
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Theatres of War:Somme
Cause of Death:Killed in Action
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Rifleman Percy William Edgar Evans by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License