Keith William Evans
Born in Orange on 11 January 1887, Keith William Evans was the second of four children of William Cunningham Evans and Harriet Priscilla nee Mackey, who had married in Balmain in 1883.
Keith’s father, William, was a journalist who had purchased the Orange Advocate newspaper in 1878. The family moved to Sydney following the William’s bankruptcy in 1890. Keith’s mother Harriet died in Balmain in October 1903, and William less than three months later, in February 1904.
On 15 September 1908 Keith, aged 21 years, enlisted in the Australian Naval Force. He served for five years as a stoker, 2nd class, aboard the Pyramus. Keith returned to Sydney following his engagement and resumed work as a station hand.
In November 1915 Keith enlisted for service in WWI, doing so at Casula. He nominated his sister Madeline (aka Madge) as his next of kin. He embarked HMAT A15 Star of England in Sydney on 8 March 1916, a private in the 4th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement.
Private Evans was transferred to the 56th Battalion at Serapeum in Egypt in April 1916, before proceeding to France in July.
In October 1917 Keith attended the Bomb School of Instruction, and, in January 1917, was detached to 14th Brigade Mining Company.
In mid July 1918 the 56th Battalion was stationed hear Bray on the Somme, conducting patrols along the enemy wire checking for gaps. On 18 July Captain Williamson recorded in the battalion’s diary:
The 55th Battalion relieved us tonight. It was a nasty wet night and the trenches were very sloppy. The relief was complete by 1.25am. Pte Evans, KW of B Company was killed. 3 other ranks were wounded.
The details surrounding Private Evans’ death are unknown.
Keith William Evans is commemorated on panel number 162 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Keith’s brother Vivian Herbert Evans also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in June 1919.