Second Lieutenant Frank Dudley Evans from Castle Bromwich died of wounds on 9th June 1916 after a flying accident at Bristol. He was 18 years old and was serving with the 4th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attached to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
The Newcastle Journal 12th June 1916 reported that the engine of his [Avro 504] biplane misfired at about 150 feet, but that he continued climbing to about 400 feet when the aircraft made a very flat turn and nosedived to the ground. Lieutenant Evans suffered a fractured skull. His coffin was draped in a Union Flag, topped with a large floral cross from his comrades, and was borne back to Castle Bromwich on a transport wagon by officers and men of the Royal Flying Corps. His funeral was held at St Mary & St Margaret’s Church, with the choir singing “Lead, Kindly Light” and the large congregation included a uniformed detachment of Red Cross auxiliary nurses, of whom his mother was an officer.
Frank was the eldest of the two sons of Alfred Dudley Evans and his wife, Charlotte Ann (née Beswick). His brother, William Norman Dudley Evans, was 12 years younger. Frank was born in Handsworth on 3rd August 1897. The family was still in Handsworth in 1901, when the father, Alfred, was listed as being a newspaper reporter. He was also Honorary Secretary of the Institute of Journalists around this time. They had moved to Castle Bromwich by the time of the birth of their youngest son in 1910.
Frank obtained his flying certificate on 27th April 1916 at the Military School, Thetford, flying a Maurice Farman biplane.
He is buried in Castle Bromwich graveyard, and is also commemorated on the village war memorial and the roll of honour plaque in St Mary & St Margaret’s Church.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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