Tracing ancestor CF Evans who died in World War 2 (aged 39 in 1945)?


I am stuck at first-base in trying to trace my UK ancestry.

My grandfather died in World War 2 in 1945 at 39 years of age (according to the War Grave Commission). He was discharged from the Royal Artillery on medical grounds in January 43 (eleven men of his gun battery - that is almost the entire group - had been killed after a German shell hit their position at Reach Court Dover November 9, 1942.) I assume that the discharge and the event are connected.

He died two years later at St Hellier Hospital Sutton from a 'stress induced?' pulmonary condition.

Recently I found a 1939 register entry that states he was born on 25/10/1905, and his marriage certificate records his father's name as Arthur Frederick. However none of the combinations of Frederick/Charles/Frederick yield any clear matches - all entries show a father's name that doesn't match and you can't see the specific date of birth. Furthermore, I can't identify him on the 1911 census either. I rather wish we had a less common name than Evans.

I should add that I don't know his mother's maiden name, place of birth, where he lived before 1939, nor is there any knowledge passed down to me of any siblings. Therefore I lack background information to correlate his name against.

I know the date of death and I have seen the probate record. However I can trace no link between that death and a birth of a person of that name.

So is there anything to be done other than a scatter-gun approach of applying for multiple certificates - which would be very expensive as I can't really be sure about the dates or names accuracy given he's a bit of an enigma.

Update (15 Oct 2018):

@sean007 is correct in that he did serve in the Royal Artillery costal defence Dover. However the census information he has is for the wrong man. His headstone says about 39 years old and this fits with the 1939 register where he gives his date as 25/10/05. In 1911 he would have been 5. There's no record of a charles Frederick born in the final quarter of the 1905 birth register.

What there is a Frederick John Evans baptised in Mitcham Surrey on 29 October 1905 along with his sister at the parish church. His birth is registered in the last quarter of 1905. This is an intriguing possible because the father has the same name as given on a marriage certificate.

The problem is that there are lots of siblings, so you would have thought some would have survived and we'd know them.


Posted 2017-01-02T16:25:04.033

Reputation: 61


Welcome to G&FH.SE! While you're waiting for an answer, take a look at some of the other questions and answers on the site. This answer is about how to sort out death records about people with a common name, but the same techniques could be used for evaluating any kind of record.

– Jan Murphy – 2017-01-02T22:25:16.780

Thanks I appreciate that a systematic approach can yield some progress when tracing ancestors, and with my maternal and paternal/maternal line I have made progress back several generation even though that has led me to Germany and Ireland. The road-block is on my paternal line. I know the date of death and I have seen the probate record. However I can trace no link between that death and a birth of a person of that name. The War Graves Commission,who you would think had good access to the records, couldn'tn trace his birth in the 50's. They just put 'around 39' on his grave. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T08:28:04.487

Sorry. It just says '39' and apparently this is the common form. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T08:46:21.773

1If the War Graves commission was responsible for his grave, that suggests he served in the armed forces. Do you know which one? There might be some clues in his service record. – None – 2017-01-03T09:14:50.290

1@ColeValleyGirl - have a matching entry from the Royal Artillery. An attestation paper with same regt/name/number on findmypast notes discharge in 1943 under KR1940 para 390(xvi) which appears to be "ceasing to fulfil Army physical requirements". None of that helps with his ancestry though. Not sure if I should put any more identifying info in here though, as there's not much in the OP. – AndyW – 2017-01-03T10:33:45.517

1@AndyW Ordering the full service record from the MOD might provide some interesting next-of-kin details or place of birth. (I recently discovered a totally unexpected bigamous marriage that way). Expensive, though. – None – 2017-01-03T11:07:35.813


@Trevor: there certainly doesn't seem to be a uniquely obvious "CF Evans" in the birth records. It's entirely possible a name changed or was reported incorrectly. But the GRO birth indices only have about half a dozen entries for each of CF and FC Evans (assuming I've expanded C and F appropriately), within 1 year of 1906, most of which have mother's maiden names given. I'd proceed by searching for each possible "Evans marriage to Maidenname" for those to see if any have an Arthur Frederick or similar.

– AndyW – 2017-01-03T11:38:34.243

2Don't disregard the possibility that he was illegitimate and invented a father's name for his marriage certificate. – None – 2017-01-03T14:16:08.100

Yes he was discharged on medical grounds in January 43. Eleven men of his gun battery - that is almost the entire group - had been killed after a German shell hit their postion at Reach Court Dover November 9, 1942. I have assumed that the discharge and the event are connected. He died two years later at St Hellier Hospital Sutton from a 'stress induced?' pulmonary condition. I can't check against maiden name because the only information we have is the father's name on the wedding certificate, and so far not casting the search criteria too wide none of the possibles return with that name. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T14:29:10.713

1I don't disregard the possibility that he had something to cover up, but I also think he might have lost his parents at a very young age and simply not have had a correct recall of dates and names. The problem is if I start widening the search, as they are very common names, I am going to come up with too many possiblities to eliminate. Looks as if I will probably never know. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T14:41:47.483

I did check against maiden names for CF Evans born last quarter 05 to see if an Arthur Frederick returned against them but all were negative. He gave information for the1939 census DOB and his marriage father's name and I suppose on both occassions it is possible he decided it was easier to make something up or state what he vaguely thought rather than say I don't know. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T14:46:22.573

2Never say never ;). You could easily find a tiny hint somewhere that leads to a breakthrough. A Dr Who episode where he spends billions of years punching through a wall comes to mind... Incidentally, you can use the @username syntax to alert someone (like @ColeValleyGirl) that you've replied to their comment. – AndyW – 2017-01-03T14:50:17.907

@Andyw. The analogy you give isn't that encouraging. I am not as persistant as the Dr. And he knew what he was doing and where he was going with the effort. I don't! – Trevor – 2017-01-03T15:25:11.367

1In the absence of any other information, you might have to take all the 'candidate' births and follow the individuals forward to prove that they can't be your man (or otherwise). Died too early, married the wrong person, emigrated, lived to a ripe old age, were elsewhere in the 1939 register... – None – 2017-01-03T16:24:32.330

@ColevalleyGirl. Thanks that might yield something. Shall keep trying. – Trevor – 2017-01-03T17:43:30.123

1@Trevor to put all the relevant info in one place, I've incorporated all the info you've given in comments into the original question -- please correct if I''ve got anything wrong. – None – 2017-01-03T19:19:42.550

2Another possibility: his birth was registered with a surname other than the one he married under (his mother may have married his father after he was born, or remarried and he took his step-fathers name -- my sister was born XXJ but married as XXW using her step-father's surname). Nobody checks at the time! So look for the right forenames in the right period but a different surname. – None – 2017-01-03T19:25:53.620

4May I encourage everyone to (eventually) start working up their suggestions into answers? And thanks @ColeValleyGirl for editing the Q to add the new information in. Also, Trevor now has more than 20 rep, so can participate in chat. The Conference Room is there, or you can make a separate room if SE starts nagging. – Jan Murphy – 2017-01-03T19:38:56.377



If I am correct the Charles Fredrick Evans as required by you is listed as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery. His service number was 1801591 and you could follow him up on line via Forces war records, if required for a fee. He is also listed under find a grave index, death 28 Feb 1945 and Listed with his mother Emma Elizabeth Evans, aged 42, when he was aged 7, on 1911 census in Paddington, London, with his two brothers, Thomas Edward Evans, aged 13 and Harry George Evans, aged 5. Charles Fredrick Evans father was Daniel Edward Evans, who married Emma Elizabeth Reeves at St Jude, Kensalgreen West Minster on 29 May 1932.


Posted 2017-01-02T16:25:04.033

Reputation: 330