Remembering Arthur Evans

Exeter City marks the 100th anniversary of the death in action of player Arthur Evans

Today (Sunday, July 31) marks the 100th anniversary of death in action of Arthur Evans. He was one of four City players who was killed on the Somme.



Evans hailed from Horwich, a town situated midway between two of the clubs he played for, Manchester City and Blackpool. It was fellow Lancastrian Arthur Chadwick, Exeter’s manager, who signed him from Division Two Blackpool in 1913. First team opportunities, though, were hard to come by, and he would miss out on the South American tour.

Instead, during the 1914 close season, he accepted an appointment as cricket coach at West Buckland School. Arthur was one of several City pros who were useful cricketers. On scorecards in the school magazine, the lower status of the professional was emphasised by the absence of an initial: the batsman at number three was plain ‘Evans’.

When war arrived, Arthur Evans was among the first City pros to enlist, joining the West Country Company of the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, in November 1914. But he was allowed to continue to play for the Grecians, and did so at Villa Park in January 1915 in an FA Cup tie. One year later, Evans was in France, having arrived in November 1915.

In Exeter, at the club’s annual meeting in December 1916, we learn that Evans has been reported missing in action. A letter of sympathy is to be sent to his parents. Then, in the Western Times of January 25, 1917, the worst fears are confirmed. “One of his regiment met a comrade of Sergt. Evans, who found him (Evans) lying in a shell-hole very seriously wounded. He bandaged him and made him as comfortable as he possibly could, but later on had to leave him. He said that he felt sure Sergt. Evans must have died shortly after, as his wounds were so serious.”

Arthur Evans is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial and on the plaque at St James Park. At West Buckland School, in November, his name will be added to the Roll of Honour.

He will never be forgotten.

[acknowledgement: Alison Styles’s research]