A Fulham hero of the First World War, awarded the highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy, was remembered at a service this weekend.
A memorial stone was laid at the Fulham War Memorial to honour Company Sergeant Major George Evans of the Scots Guards, who was born in Hilmer Street West Kensington.
The event on Saturday July 30 marked 100 years to the day he volunteered to deliver a vital message after five runners had died attempting to during the attack at Guillemont, France.
Company Sergeant Major Evans faced heavy rifle and machine gun fire for 700 yards but delivered the message. Despite being wounded, he refused medical treatment so he could rejoin his men using the same dangerous route, dodging from shell hole to shell hole. He made it back before being taken prisoner hours later.
The stone was unveiled by his granddaughter Dilys Fisher, Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry who received the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Iraq war and Hammersmith & Fulham Mayor Cllr Mercy Umeh.
“Company Sergeant Major George Evans was a hero and it’s only right we honour him in this way on the centenary of one of his bravest acts,” said Cllr Umeh.
“It was particularly touching that members of his family could be here to join in the commemorations and give such a fascinating insight into his life.”
Company Sergeant Major George Evan’s great grandson Jonathan Fisher gave an account of his early life leading up to his heroism, pieced together from diaries and public records.
Jonathan gave details of the company sergeant major’s distinguished career in the army including fighting in the Boer War, before becoming a policemen and then devoting himself to the NSPCC for 27 years. He reenlisted with the Scots Guards aged 38 and even switched company when told his was to stay behind, so he could join his regiment to fight in the First World War.
“I’m very proud,” said Jonathan, speaking after the ceremony.
“It’s a real honour. He was a very modest man and we’ve got to be proud, as we all have of any ancestor who served.”
“It’s terribly important to remember what they did and this was a fabulous ceremony.”
Those attending the ceremony included the Company Sergeant Major’s family, soldiers from his regiment, clergy, including the rev canon Joe Hawes and the Rev Lesley Bilinda, H&F councillors, Chelsea pensioners and cadets.
Company Sergeant Major George Evans’ memorial stone was laid next to one for Private Edward Dwyer who was honoured last year on the centenary of his own heroic acts.