An appeal has been launched for standard bearers to help give one of the last surviving Dunkirk veterans, who has died at the age of 102, a fitting send-off during his funeral service on Monday.
Mr David Evans, who served as a cavalryman with the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own), is to be remembered at a funeral service at 11am, on August 2, at the new chapel at Darlington Crematorium, Yorkshire.
His family then plan to visit the Catterick Garrison camp centre roundabout - the site of a First World War memorial Mr Evans unveiled in 2018 - to lay wreaths and listen to a piper play 'Amazing Grace' before heading to St Michael and All Angel’s Church in Spennithorne for a Service Of Thanksgiving.
Mr Evans’ friend WO1 (Retd) Graham Prince, speaking to broadcaster Chris Kaye, of BFBS, the Forces Station, said he was urging a call to action to honour the survivor of the Dunkirk evacuation, as he told of the veteran's service.
“If any branch standards are available to parade at either or both these venues it would be magnificent and would be a fitting tribute to this soldier's final journey.”
LISTEN: WO1 (Retd) Graham Prince, speaking to broadcaster Chris Kaye
In May 1940, hundreds of thousands of Allied troops found themselves trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk on the northwest French coast after the German Army, who had invaded France only two weeks earlier, encircled them.
British soldiers were facing capture so the Royal Navy and a flotilla of civilian small ships executed an audacious rescue to bring them back to Britain.
As reported by Richmondshire Today in July 2021, Mr Evans waited three days to be evacuated from Dunkirk, saying:
“I actually found it quite orderly, despite half the quayside being blown off.
“I hadn’t slept for six days and eaten for three, and I got a place aboard a small fishing boat. “I settled back against the side of the boat and fell into a deep sleep.
"I woke up in Dover - I can’t remember anything of the crossing.”
Mr Evans celebrated his 100th birthday in 2018 by unveiling the memorial at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire to those who fought in the First World War.
Helped by two soldiers, Mr Evans walked from his wheelchair to the memorial which was draped in the Union Flag, before unveiling it.
WATCH: Mr Evans unveils the memorial at Catterick Garrison in 2018
The idea to have a memorial in the UK’s largest garrison was the brainchild of Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jordan who was, at the time, Commander of Catterick Garrison. He said:
“It is a masterpiece that will live on through generation after generation.
“It is a powerful piece of stonework that will forever stand in memoriam of the fallen throughout both World Wars and conflicts since.
“It will not only honour the dead but stand as a mark of our gratitude to all the Armed Forces personnel, both past and present.”
The memorial is one of four statues on the roundabout, all designed to honour the memory of those who died during the First World War.
The other three stone monuments at Catterick depict the Garrison’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell, one of a Great War Tommy and the third is of a member of the Royal Flying Corps.