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Author Topic: Private Harold Edward Evered - suicide  (Read 103 times)
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« on: May 10, 2017, 13:48:08 PM »

Harold Edward Evered
Middlesex Regiment Depot
Service number PS/404

Died on the 28th August 1917.

Buried in the churchyard of St. Bartholomew's Church, Horley, Surrey - grave reference - West of Church

The CWGC details for the churchyard of St. Bartholomew's Church, Horley shows that Private H. Evered (no first names on CWGC site) is buried in the "Family Vault", west of the Church.  I found the Evered family vault quite easily but the only name that I can associate with the CWGC details are on the side and state :

              DEARLY LOVED AND SON
             OF R.B. AND S.G. EVERED
BORN JANY. 22nd. 1879. DIED MAY 28th 1917.

This clearly shows a different date of death.  The following newspaper article, however, definitely refers to the 'Private H. Evered, Middlesex Regiment' referred to on the CWGC site.

Surrey Mirror - Friday 31 August 1917



A sad story was unfolded at an inquiry held at Oaklands, Horley, on Wednesday before the Coroner for East Surrey (Mr. F.J. Nightingale), into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Harold Edward Evered, a brass founder of Edgbaston, Birmingham.  The deceased gentleman, who was a member of a family well known in commercial circles in the Midlands and London, was on a visit to his mother.  Evidence was given to show that his nervous system had broken down, and the jury, who expressed their sympathy with the members of the family in their sad loss, returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane".

Mr. Harold Evered was well known at Horley, where he resided for many years.  He was at one time a pupil of the Rev. H.T. Lewis's, and competed his education at Brighton.  In his younger days he was possessed of a bright and cheerful disposition, and made many friends.  He was a conspicuous member of the Horley Hockey Club many years ago.  He embarked upon his business career with Messrs. Glasiers and Sons, the well known estate agents, valuers and surveyors, of Grafton-street, London, W.  He subsequently became associated with the firm of Messrs. Evered and Co., Ltd, brass founders of London and Edgbaston, with whom his late father and brothers were so prominently connected.  For some years before the outbreak of war he was a gunner with the H.A.C., but resigned some two years before the outbreak of hostilities.  Upon the outbreak of war he received a wire to join his unit, but was ill at the time, and upon his recovery it transpires that there were no vacancies.  He then joined the Public School Battalion and for some time trained at Kempton Park.  He subsequently enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment, but was released to enter unto important duties in connection with munitions work.  At the time of his death he was in charge of important munition work at Smethwick.  Last October he had the misfortune to fall off his bicycle, sustaining serious injuries to his head.  

The news of his untimely death created a feeling of profound sorrow in Horley where the family are held in very high regard.  Much sympathy has been expressed with Mrs. Evered and the members of her family in their lamented loss.


At the inquest on Wednesday the following evidence was adduced :-

Stanley Evered, of 5 Rotten Park-road, Edgbaston, gave evidence of identification.  He said that he had seen his brother daily.
The Coroner : Recently, have you noticed anything peculiar about him ? ;   -  Yes, his nervous system had gone all to pieces.
Had he any real troubles or were they mostly imaginary troubles ? ;  -  I think they were mostly imaginary. One always has worries in business, but nothing more than we all have. He had no real worries that I know of.
Have you ever known him to threaten to take his life ? ;  -  Never, I spoke to him on Monday on the telephone.
Did he appear to be normal then ? ;  -  No.
Did he say anything that indicated that to you ? ;  -  The trouble was what I had noticed for some days. He did not seem able to decide one way or the other what he was going to do.  He said he would go home or to the works, he did not know which. I rang him up again at 12 o'clock, and he said he had decided to go home.
Was he coming here for a rest ? ;  -  That was the idea.  That was the last I heard of him. The gun produced belonged to my brother.  He kept it under his bed.

Elizabeth Chapman said she was in the service of Mrs. Evered at "Oaklands", Horley, and was in the house on the previous day.
The Coroner : What was it that directed your attention ? ;  -  I heard a noise as of something falling, in the direction of Mr. Evered's bedroom. I told Miss Evered, and together we went upstairs.  We opened the door and looked inside and saw Mr. Evered lying on the floor. Dr. Clarke was called and he went into the room.

Dr. S.A. Clarke, practising at Horley, said he attended he attended deceased on the previous morning.  He had a telephone message on the night before to say that Mr. Harold Evered was coming from Birmingham and was asked to call and see him.  He did not come until past ten o'clock at night, and he received a message to say he had gone upstairs and that the following morning would do.  The following morning after he had finished attending patients at his surgery, he went to the house, arriving at about eleven o'clock.  Miss Evered met him and said "Harold is still asleep".  She told witness how poorly he had been.  Witness had attended him previously, about a year ago, for epilepsy.  Witness added , we went upstairs together and when we opened the door he was certainly asleep.  Miss Evered said "Harold, here is Dr. Clarke" and he looked up at me. I went over to him, sat down, and said "Hallo Harold, what is the matter,  down in the dumps?" and he said "Yes I have made a mess of everything, Clarke". I said "Nonsense, most of us have done that in our time", I added "Can I help you ?  I have known you a good many years. If I can do anything for you, you only have to ask me and I wild it".  He said "I don't think you can help me, I have made a mess of everything" repeating it again.  I explained to him that he had come down here for a rest and that he would feel better. I also told him he was run down.  While I was examining him he said "It is no use examining my heart, there is nothing the matter with it".  I asked him if he had had any breakfast and he replied "It is no good eating". I said "Nonsense, you have something to eat and your will feel better".  I further said "Harold, you will be soon about again. as fit as ever going about the farm first, and then having a day with your gun". He said "Yes, probably, or something like that". I said "Suppose I get you some breakfast. Will you eat it ?", and he said "Yes".  Witness said that he went down and suggested to Mrs. Evered that he be given a chop and some coffee for breakfast and that was ordered.  While he was making a casual remark to Mrs. Evered the last witness asked him to go upstairs.  He had heard a knock but had thought it was a gale blowing against the windows.  He rushed upstairs, went into the room, and found what had happened.  The gun was lying near the window, and in the corner of the room he saw the body of the deceased lying on its face.  He walked straight up to the gun, opened it and took the live cartridge out, and put it down again. He turned the deceased over and saw what had happened.
The Coroner : What was the nature of the injuries ? ;  -  He had put the gun into his mouth, evidently, and had fired the right barrel obliquely from left to right. He had broken the lower and upper jaw, the base of the brain and the skull.  Death was instantaneous.
When you saw him before did he appear depressed then ? ;  -  Melancholia is a symptom one often gets with epilepsy.  There is no doubt he had melancholia.  One of the symptoms of epilepsy was to imagine trouble when there was nothing in it.  He had been poorly for some time.  He said that even in Spring when he heard the cuckoo he was depressed, and the doves cooing worried him, showing his nervous system was very unstrung.  

The Coroner said he would not trouble the jury with any further evidence.  They must come to the conclusion that this unfortunate gentleman took his life.  From the evidence they had been given he thought they would be satisfied he was not in a normal condition when he committed the act.  There was ample evidence for them to form that conclusion.

The jury returned the verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane".  The Forman said that on behalf of the jury they desired to express their sympathy with Mrs. Evered and family.  The Coroner conveyed these sentiments to Mr. Stanley Evered and said that he would like to join in them himself.  
Mr Stanley Evered : Thank you, very much.

The inquiry then terminated.

Attached are two photographs I took last week.  The first is of the Evered family vault.  The second is the inscription on the side relating to "Harold", although, as I said earlier, the date of death is different.

See what you think ..........................

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 21:12:39 PM »

Name:   Harold Edward Evered
Birth Place:   Putney, Surrey 1879
Residence:   Horley, Surrey
Death Date:   28 Aug 1917
Death Place:   Home
Enlistment Place:   London
Rank:   Private
Regiment:   Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment

In 1911, with mother Sarah Georgianna(widow) & sister Sarah Eliza. Also 4 servants. At Oatlands, Horley, Surrey. Mother & sister were on Private Means, Harold an Iron Founder.
Mother showed 11 children, 9 living. Father died 1906(leaving £60271)

Probate. Of Oatlands, Horley. Died 28.8.1917. Admin to Stanley Evered(brother), Brass manufacturer. Effects £4069.

Soldiers Effects:- Suicide. £15.14.11 & War Gratuity £7.15.0 to brother Stanley.

Service Records:-
A Brassfounder when he attested on 11.9.1914
Previously with HAC “B” Battery—time expired
He was temporarily released from military duty whist working with Messrs Evered Ltd, 11.5.1915.
Then posted 9.7.1915.
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 12:27:59 PM »

There is another Horley and military connection with the Evered family vault and you can only see it if you go right around the back of the cross at the far end (see the picture in the opening post).  There is an inscription on the plinth at the back which reads :

                              IN MEMORY OF
                         CAPt. H. S. TODD  M.C.
                                AGED 20.

This refers to Captain Herbert Stanley Todd, MC and bar, Croix de Guerre (Belgium).

The CWGC entry for Captain Todd states :

Date of Death:18/09/1918 Age:20
Regiment/Service:East Surrey Regiment 4th Bn. attd. 8th Bn.
Awards:M C and Bar
Additional Information:Croix de Guerre (Belgium). Son of H. C. and Nellie Todd, of 4, Elm Grove Rd., Ealing, London.

In the book "Men of Horley" by Doug Cox, the entry for Captain Todd reads :

                                                                               Herbert Todd
                                                                      MC & Bar (Croix de Guerre)
                                                 Captain, 4th (attached 8th) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment

Herbert Stanley Todd was born on 1st April 1898 in Twickenham, to Herbert and Ellen Todd. He was educated at Wellesley House, in Broadstairs, and Westminster School. Ellen was the daughter of R.V. Evered of Oatlands, Horley.

Herbert joined the 16th (Public Schools) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment in September 1914 and the battalion joined the BEF in France in November 1915. He was commissioned with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 8th August 1916 and posted to the front again, this time with the East Surrey Regiment; promoted Lieutenant on 5th February 1917, then Acting Captain on 1st October 1917. He served in Italy from November 1917 to February 1918, at which time he was invalided home, returning to France in August 1918.

He was awarded his  first Military Cross for an action in 1917: ‘For conspicuous gallantry in sector south of Tower Hamlets, leading his men after all the other officers had become casualties, he advanced with great dash and gallantry; reaching his objective, he consolidated in depth. He reorganised his company, and all through showed an utter disregard for personal danger.  this, combined with his personal cheeriness, had great effect on his men. During the whole of the operations this officer was suffering from fever.’

He won his second MC: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at St Pierre Vaast Wood on 1st September 1918. He was in command of one of two companies in the attack and, when the other Company Commander was wounded at the start, he supervised the advance of both for a distance of two miles, without any previous reconnaissance. He reached his objective up to time, reorganised and gained touch with the  flanks, showing great resource against determined opposition.’

Herbert was also awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for gallantry at Ypres.

Captain Todd was killed in action leading D Company in an attack at Roussoy on 18th September 1918, aged 20, during which the Company lost all of its officers.

He was killed by a machine gun bullet to the head and was buried at Lieramont Cemetery. His Colonel wrote “He would undoubtedly have made a great name for himself as he had great personality and force of character”.

He was later reburied at Peronne Communal Cemetery, Rue de Peupliers, Peronne.

Captain Todd's mother, Ellen Todd, is commemorated on the side of the plinth, on the lower section. Again, please see the photograph in the opening post.

Many thanks again to Horley Town Council and Doug Cox for the above information. Horley Town Council commissioned the book "Men of Horley" to commemorate the start of WWI.  The research done by Doug Cox and the end product are excellent and a brilliant source of reference and accurate information.

Attached is a photograph of the rear of the plinth on the Evered family vault showing the commemoration inscription for Captain Todd.

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