Private Griffith John Evans
Killed in action 15th June 1917

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Private Griffith John Evans, was born in 1892 in Llanarmon Mynnyd Mawr, the youngest of eleven children, to Evan & Grace Evans. In 1901, the eight year old Griffith was recorded as living with his uncle, Robert Moffat Roberts, his parents, and his two elder sisters, at Glanhafon Uchaf, Penybontfawr. His father at this time worked for his uncle who was a farmer. Griffith later worked in the shop of his grandfather, the Reverend Williams Roberts.

In 1911, at the age of 18, Griffith had left home and was boarding with an Elizabeth Evans, widow and dressmaker in Neath, South Wales - where he worked as a grocer’s assistant. According to Mrs Evans, Griffith was known to be ‘honest, punctual, and always paid strict attention to his duties.’ One day, in a church in Caernarfon, Griffith felt the urge to take up preaching. Later, when praying over a matter, he believed he was ‘told’ to give up his trade and enter the ministry. He eventually went to a divinity college in Brecon.

After war broke out, Griffith had his own battle with his faith and conscience about enlisting in the army. He wrote in a letter that nothing disgusted him more than the thought of handling munitions. He was however willing to join the medical corps. He and ten other Brecon divinity students applied. Nine were accepted but Griffiths was not, after a medical assessment in Rhyl. This was not surprising, due to his delicate constitution.

However, on returning home, he received a letter, from the recruiting officer in Oswestry, ordering him to report for enlistment in the regular army. This time he was passed as fit for service, and subsequently joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Griffith tried in vain to get a transfer to the medical corps, but eventually accepted his lot and began to look at his experience in the army as preparation for the ministry.

After a period of training, Griffith was posted to France in 1916. He does not appear to have fought in any named battles, but was presumably somewhere in the Ypres Salient in June 1917 with the 13th Battalion. They were preparing for what became known as the Battle of Passchendaele, when he was tragically killed by enemy fire. Private Griffith John Evans is buried and commemorated in the Essex Farm Cemetery, near Boezinge, Ypres, Belgium. 102 of the burials in the cemetery are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate 19 casualties, including Griffith, known or believed to be buried among them. Griffith is also commemorated on the war memorial in Llanrhaeadr.