Obituary: David Evans, Dunkirk veteran

David Evans, who has died at 102, was a veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation and a former National Park Authority officer in the Yorkshire Dales.

David Evans

David Evans, who has died at 102, was a veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation and a former National Park Authority officer in the Yorkshire Dales.

In 1940 he was one of the 340,000 Allied troops rescued from the advancing German army in France and transported back to England on the flotilla of “little ships” sent there by Winston Churchill.

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Born in South Wales, he and his six brothers had been brought up by their father, Thomas, after their mother, Miriam, died of a blood clot aged 37.

He had joined the Army in 1936 as a regular soldier and trained as a cavalryman. Having transferred to a mechanised unit, the 13/18 Royal Hussars, he was amongst the first to go to France in September 1939 with the British Expeditionary Force – managing to secure just enough leave beforehand to marry his late wife, Violet.

He saw action in Belgium and Holland as part of a Bren gun carrier team. But upon arrival on the Dunkirk beaches he faced a three-day wait for evacuation.

“The whole area was a mass of rubble,” he said, recalling the constant shell fire and the German Stuka divebombers “like birds dropping from the sky”.

After the evacuation, he was back with his regiment after just a week’s leave. Before the war was over he had sustained a serious injury to his leg which left him fearful he would not walk again. But he made a full recovery and was sent on to guard a secret military base at Penrith in Cumbria.

After the conflict he joined the police in Kent, retiring as a sergeant and moving to the Dales. His later years were spent largely in Leyburn.

He remained a member of the British Legion, attending the 50th and 60th anniversaries of Dunkirk. The final parade of veterans from what was officially termed Operation Dynamo took place in 2010, 70 years after the event. Eight years after that Mr Evans was guest of honour at the unveiling of a lasting memorial to the fallen at Catterick Garrison.