PRIVATE HARRY WALTER EVANS
30TH SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 21
BURIED: CANTIMPRE CANADIAN CEMETERY, SAILLY , FRANCE
This inscription asserts a belief in Spiritualism, the belief that the spirit never dies and that it is possible for humans to communicate across the chasm of death. Whilst the world of Spiritualism was awash with cranks and charlatans there were many respected academics who felt convinced of it too. The best known being the highly respected British physicist, Sir Oliver Lodge, who played a key part in the development of radio.
After his son Raymond was killed in action in 1915, Sir Oliver wrote a memoir of his son in which he laid out his beliefs and his evidence, writing:
"Well, speaking for myself and with full and cautious responsibity, I have to state that as an outcome of my investigation into physical matters I have at length and quite gradually become convinced, after more than thirty years of study, not only that persistent individual existence is a fact, but that occasional communication across the chasm - with difficulty and under definite conditions - is possible.
This is not a subject on which one comes lightly and easily to a conclusion, nor can the evidence be explained except to those who will give to it time and careful study; but clearly the conclusion is either folly and self-deception, or it is truth of the utmost importance to humanity - "
'Raymond or Life and Death' by Sir Oliver Lodge Methuen & Co. 1916 p. 389
Mrs Mary Evans, Private Evans' mother, appears to seen it as truth.
Evans was born in Ramsgate, Kent on 12 August 1897. He attested on 4 August 1915 just after his eighteenth birthday. By this time both he and his widowed mother were living in Canada. Evans served with the 75th Battalion Canadian Infantry in France from 11 August 1916 - the day before his nineteenth birthday. He was killed in action on 30 September 1918 when the 75th led the attack on the Cambrai-Douai railway cutting on the sunken road that ran south from Blecourt.
His will, a perforated form torn out from the back of his pay book, left "£10 to Miss Agnes Patterson, Wright County, Cantley, Quebec, Canada, my friend".