Thomas Owen Evans

Thomas Owen Evans was the eldest son of Major General Thomas EvansĀ (CB). He was born on 2 Aug 1819, probably in Canada, but possibly in Cork, Ireland. He followed his father into 41st Foot and had obtained the rank of Lieutenant when he was killed by a sniper in Istalif, north of Kabul in Afghanistan.

His gallantry and bravery was the subject of much comment. The best descriptions come from ‘Scenes in a Soldier’s life’ by JHW Hall 1848. Lieutenant Evans already had a reputation for brave even foolhardy actions in the earlier Afghan campaign. But it was after the capture of Istalif by General McCaskill that he was shot dead in the street on 29 Sep 1842.

The letter from General England to his father is available

Thomas Evans’s younger brothers also joined the army, notably Charles Richard Ogden Evans and Richard John Evans. Both survived. This idea of a gallant military career must also have been well known to Charles Richard Ogden Evans nephew Charles Wilmot Evans, who was similarly to die at a young age on the Somme in 1916.

Thomas Owen Evans is also interesting because his name allows us to speculate on the origins of the ‘Owen’ name. It seems unlikely that it comes from his mother’s side and could point to his father’s mother’s maiden name, Mary Owen rather than Mary Banton. There is a significant marriage for 1767 listed in St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton between John Evans and a Mary Owen. The date and place are perfect for his grandparents – however apart from the middle name there would appear to be no other evidence to-date that could corroborate this speculation. In the absence of a marriage between John Evans and Mary Banton, this is highly probable. It would also mean we have to find a new explanation of why Daniel Banton, Mary’s putative brother, should have such a significant role in the upbringing of her children.