Officer William Evans’s Memories


This section contains the memories and poetry of an officer, until recently only identified as William.   In the past few months, however, we have not only been able to provide William with a surname, but a little brother, not to mention a photo of Will in uniform; identity confirmed by a document found shortly after, in Oxford where he studied before joining the Great War.  We are now as certain as we can be that this young soldier was William Evans, born in Renfrew, Scotland in 1889.  He had two brothers: James, and Andrew, both killed in the war.   Will served first for an infantry regiment (3rd Gordons appears the most likely, or the Seaforths) before transferring to the RFC later.   He, himself died in 1918.

It is very important for the all at the site, as well as Will, that he has been so thoroughly identified as that can only help strengthen the case of the Rittmeister who believes he saw Will just before he died.   Drawings he made some time before the discovery of the photo, plus his recollection of Wills appearance concur remarkably with the photo that was discovered.  Both the drawings and the photo are on site for readers to see for themselves. Wills presence in the area helps to prove that the historical account of the Freiherrs death is not all it seems.

The circumstances around the discovery of Wills identity cannot be fully recounted here but came about largely due to the appearance of James Evans, introduced to Officer Will by the Rittmeister in September this year.  The Rittmeister had a notion that James could provide some insight into Wills past, despite the fact that, at that point none of us knew that the two were actually brothers.  I don’t know who began to realise this first but certainly for Jamie, the description of Wills journal certainly started the ball of suspicion rolling.   The first significant discovery was Jamies birth certificate, and that of his brother Andrew; it was only then that it came to light that an Evans brother existed by the name of William: Andrews twin.  Through discussion, research and what sometimes has seemed sheer luck, we have been able to piece together the facts about Officer Will from that point on.   Jamies present-day contacts, including War historians has proved rather useful, as has research.  Wills memories of studying at Oxford have been very significant in the search.

Mercury Falling

Out-of-print survivors
manage to rise with yellowy pages and half broken spines
to carry me back to the century gone.

Your words quick like mercury, scatter
a childhood congealed in gold light.
When all the world was in gentle repose
before madness became your right.

Was it you that spoke of the specters
Of the future a hundred years hence,
You see I traveled your well worn ghost road
I am the future
Who mourns your dead.


I find I’m submerged in antiquity
as I search for a clue to your life.
Where volumes decompose into oblivion
and words are devoured by time.

Could time then be a room that I could call upon.
Caught in the permanence of an earlier age.
To perhaps slip through the wavy lines
not hiding from the present,
only searching for something I left behind.

Layers of Stone

Dreams in the quiet hours expend me
Real images live and breathe
Scenes rise to the surface
In a sub-conscience twist
Dredging the past from within

Down in the hole never felt more alone
Where did my honour and pride now protect me.
It seethed my young soul when I lay down and died
It’s a caldron of now who I am.

Peel away, Peel away layers of stone
The entrance to the underworld hiding
Losing the layers of past memory spent
It won’t be long now until I’m flying.


I know how the boots would feel on my feet as they marched through the fear and the mud. The tunic I wore that covered my frame, the rife that slung at my side.

The metal helmet I wore on my head across the fields of France. I know some farmer’s still finding our bones disclosed by a working plow.

copyrighted to Officer William