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Headstone for a hero secured!

 
Created on 11/05/2022 @ 10:32

 

One of Welshpool’s most decorated war heroes will finally have a headstone befitting of his service, and it is largely down to the generosity of local residents who have helped to make it happen.

Last year we highlighted a bid to raise £2,000 to replace the modest wooden cross marking the resting place of Rorke’s Drift survivor Evan Jones with a headstone so that generations to come would see what a remarkable man he was. 

The man behind the bid, Vince Morris, himself a former serviceman of 24 years with the Royal Welch Fusiliers within B.Coy Rourke’s Drift Company, confirmed last night that the target has been met and a big celebration is planned for the summer.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting this campaign over the past year,” said Vince, who is from West Wales but was fascinated with Evan’s story.

“We targeted £2,000 but have raised about £200 more so we can provide Evan with the lasting memorial he richly deserves.”

Evan was one of around 150 British and colonial troops who defeated up to 4,000 Zulu warriors at the South African outpost, a heroic defence that saw 11 Victoria Crosses awarded. The 1879 battle was made famous by the film Zulu starring Sir Michael Caine.

Evan went on to serve 43 years in the British Military, but despite being buried with full military honours at St Mary’s in 1931, his grave is marked by a modest wooden cross (pictured).

Vince expects the headstone to be put in place this August and hopes it will be an occasion that the town can support and be proud of.

“The town will be invited to attend and pay their respects to such a brave former resident,” he said. “The man served more than 40 years and was laid to rest with a wooden cross so he deserves a headstone.”

Who was Evan Jones?

Born 1859 at Bedwelty, Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire, Evan enlisted at Brecon on July 20, 1877. He was previously in the Royal Monmouth Engineers and served until his discharge on February 10, 1920.

He took part in the defence of Rorke's Drift, receiving the South Africa Medal with clasp, one of a number of service medals that he received.

His Welshpool connection began in 1898 when he married Alice Evans, a widow with four children, at the Register Office, Welshpool.

Their residence in 1900 was 7 Bear Yard, Welshpool, and he died at 19 Union Street, Welshpool, on August 12, 1931.

 

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