Lewis Pugh Evans

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Lewis Pugh Evans
Lewis Pugh Evans VC IWM HU 93411.jpg
Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Pugh Evans c. 1918
Born (1881-01-03)3 January 1881
Abermadd, Cardiganshire, Wales
Died 30 November 1962(1962-11-30) (aged 81)
Paddington, London, England
Buried Llanbadarn Fawr, Ceredigion
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1899–1938
1939–1941
Rank Brigadier
Commands held 159th Brigade
2nd Battalion, Black Watch
14th Brigade
Black Watch
1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Battles/wars

Second Boer War
First World War

Second World War
Awards Victoria Cross
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (7)
Officer of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Croix de guerre (France)
Relations Sir James Hills-Johnes VC (uncle)
William George Cubitt VC (uncle)

Brigadier Lewis Pugh Evans, VC, CB, CMG, DSO & Bar, DL (3 January 1881 – 30 November 1962) was a British Army officer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.[1]

Early years and family

Lewis Pugh Evans was born at Abermadd to Sir Gruffydd Humphrey Pugh Evans (1840–1902), Advocate-General of Bengal and a member of the Viceroy's Council, and Lady Emilia Savi Pugh Evans (née Hills; 1849–1938). Lewis Pugh Evans was educated at Eton and entered the army after training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

Lewis Pugh Evans married Margaret Dorothea Seagrave Vaughan-Pryse-Rice on 10 October 1918. They lived at Lovesgrove on the death of his elder brother[2] in 1945.[3]

Military career

Following a year at Sandhurst Evans entered the British Army with a commission in the Black Watch, with whom he served in the Second Boer War in South Africa. After service with his regiment in India, Evans returned to England and obtained a pilot's certificate.

First World War

When the First World War broke out in 1914 he was posted as an air observer with the Royal Flying Corps, but after a few months he returned to the Black Watch and in 1917 was appointed to command the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

On 4 October 1917 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, Pugh was commanding his battalion when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:

For most conspicuous bravery and leadership. Lt.-Col. Evans took his battalion in perfect order through a terrific enemy barrage, personally formed up all units, and led them to the assault. While a strong machine gun emplacement was causing casualties, and the troops were working round the flank, Lt.-Col. Evans rushed at it himself and by firing his revolver through the loophole forced the garrison to capitulate. After capturing the first objective he was severely wounded in the shoulder, but refused to be bandaged, and re-formed the troops, pointed out all future objectives, and again led his battalion forward. Again badly wounded, he nevertheless continued to command until the second objective was won, and, after consolidation, collapsed from loss of blood. As there were numerous casualties, he refused assistance, and by his own efforts ultimately reached the Dressing Station.

His example of cool bravery stimulated in all ranks the highest valour and determination to win.[4]

After recovering from his wounds he returned to duty with the 1st Battalion. On 9 April 1918 their lines came under attack in the Germans' Spring Offensive in a three-day battle. He was awarded for this a Bar to his Distinguished Service Order,[3] the citation for which read:

On the first day he was moving about everywhere in his forward area during operations, the next day he personally conducted reconnaissance for the counterattack, which he carried out on the third day. It was largely due to his untiring energy and method that the enemy was checked and finally driven out.[5]

At the end of hostilities in November 1918 he was commanding the 14th Infantry Brigade of the 32nd Division with temporary rank of Brigadier-General.[3]

Awards

Evans was mentioned in despatches seven times and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order[6] and Bar;[5] the 1914 Star and Clasp; the British War Medal; the Victory Medal; the Order of Leopold (Belgium)[7] and the Croix de Guerre.[citation needed] He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919,[8] and a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1938.[9] Pugh was also invested as an Officer of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.[10]

He also as a living recipient of the Victoria Cross received the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal (1935), King George VI Coronation Medal (1937), and Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953).

His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.

Retirement

In 1938 he retired from the army but returned to service in the Second World War as a Military Liaison Officer at the Headquarters of the Wales Region. He worked with the Special Operations Executive in India. He later achieved the rank of brigadier. Between October 1947 and January 1951 he was Honorary Colonel of the 16th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.[11][12]

Pugh Evans was Honorary Colonel of the Army Cadet Force in Ceredigion and was for 25 years President of the Aberystwyth Branch of the Royal British Legion.

He was a Churchwarden at Llanbadarn Fawr, where he now lies buried, and a Justice of the Peace on the local bench as well as Deputy Lieutenant for Cardiganshire[13] and a Freeman of the borough of Aberystwyth. Evans was also invested as an Officer of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.[10]

He died of a heart attack, aged eighty-one, at Paddington Station, London.[3]

References

  1. ^ "Stand To!" (journal of the Western Front Association Issue No 66, dated January 2003 'Remembering Brigadier General Lewis Evans Pugh, VC. CB, CMG, DSO'
  2. ^ Marriage info.
  3. ^ a b c d [1] Article.
  4. ^ "No. 30400". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 November 1917. p. 12327. 
  5. ^ a b "No. 30901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1918. p. 10856. 
  6. ^ "No. 29240". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 July 1915. p. 7280. 
  7. ^ "No. 30302". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 September 1917. p. 9861. 
  8. ^ "No. 13453". The Edinburgh Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1919. p. 1826. 
  9. ^ "No. 34518". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1938. p. 3687. 
  10. ^ a b "No. 35203". The London Gazette. 27 June 1941. p. 3674. 
  11. ^ "No. 38127". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 November 1947. p. 5492. 
  12. ^ "No. 39200". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 April 1951. p. 2058. 
  13. ^ "No. 34451". The London Gazette. 5 November 1937. p. 6899. 
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