Bertie Langham Evans
My paternal grandfather, Bertie Langham Evans, was born on Boxing Day (26th December) 1887 in Beulah Road, East Croyden, Surrey. His mother was Mary Evans. His father, Frederick Charles, is described as an "Assistant Club Secretary". Later, on Grandpa's wedding certificate, he was described as Secretary of the Guards Club (Pall Mall). Grandpa had a younger brother Douglas, an older brother Frederick, as well as an older sister Haidée. Douglas was killed in September 1916 during the Great War. He was fighting with the 6th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment.
My grandfather joined the Army as an officer. He was with the East Surrey Regiment. In 1914, just before the Great War, he married my grandmother, Gladys Louise Weatherley. They were posted to India where they spent six years. I rather think that the life my grandmother led was like the majority of the British depicted in "Passage to India". These days she would most definitely not be "politically correct". They came home in 1920 and bought a house in Chaldon, Surrey. They called it Kailana, after Lake Kailana near Jodphur in North West India. My father, Dennis Frederick Langham Evans , was born in August 1920, and his brother Alan Langham Evans in August 1924.
In 1920 Grandpa was still in the Army, with the rank of Brevet Major. Later, Grandpa reverted to civilian life and worked for the Provincial Insurance Company in London. In World War II he joined up again and went to Norway on the Norway campaign in 1940, more or less as the Germans were invading that country. By this time he was a Colonel with the East Surreys.
When I was old enough to became aware of what he did, he was already retired. As children we used to go round to my grandparents for tea and Grandpa would give us sixpence, and half a crown on special occasions: end of term reports, birthdays and Christmas. I intend to visit the East Surrey Regimental museum one day to find out more about what Grandpa did with them. I do remember that every 1st of June, he held a garden party to celebrate a famous regimental victory when the regiment was acting as marines on board HMS Queen Charlotte and others in a battle against the French in 1794.
He was also a Latin scholar and loved that I was studying Catullus at school. When Winnie ille Pooh came out we back-translated it together!
Here is a photograph of him dressed in his best uniform, taken just before he left for Westminster Abbey for the Coronation in 1953. The family story goes that he had his sandwiches in his hat and had to sit in the Abbey for several hours before the coronation started.
He was also Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey for a period in the 1960s, quite a prestigious honorary post.
He died in 1978, aged 90. I was very pleased that he lived long enough to hold his first great grandchildren, my niece Maia, and son Stephen, in his arms. (photo taken Christmas 1975).