William 'Bill' and Muriel 'Nancy' Evans

25th September 1916 - 24th March 2012

WILLIAM EVANS (GRANDDAD BILL) passed away peacefully on 24th March 2012 with his family by his side at Magna Care Home. Much loved Husband, Father, Father-in-Law, Grandfather, Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather. Loving Husband to Nancy for 74 years and much loved Dad to Margaret, Arthur, Wilf, Pam, Pip and Gwyneth. A Service was held at Poole Salvation Army Hall on Thursday 5th April at 2:30 pm and followed by cremation at Poole Crematorium. 

The family requested BRIGHT CLOTHES ONLY and NO BLACK. Donations were made to St Werburgh Parish Church, Wembury, Devon. Wembury church is in the process of renovating and updating their church organ. The donations will be used to fund some of this project and a brass plate will be erected in memory of William 'Bill' Evans.

31st December 1919 - 10th March 2013

NANCY EVANS passed away unexpectedly on 10th March 2013. Much loved Wife, Mother, Mother-in-Law, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother.  A Service was held at Poole Salvation Army Hall on Friday 5th April at 2:00 pm and followed by cremation at Poole Crematorium. 

Donations were made to Corfe Mullen Monday Club and Home League Helping Hand Appeal Poole Salvation Army.

Plaque amongst the ashes

On 18th May 2015 members of the family meet at The Harbour View Woodlands Burial Grounds near Poole and buried their ashes in the bluebell wood as requested by Nancy,.

A small plaque has been mounted on the fence near their ashes in memory.

Goodbye grandma and granddad, together again.

William 'Bill' Evans

This website is to celebrate the life of Bill and Nancy Evans.  The following has been put together by his daughter Pam McGoldrick and published on the web by his son Pip Evans.  If you wish to contribute to this celebration of Bill's musical career and life then please send photos, ideas, emails, anecdotes, etc to pip_evans@btinternet.com

  1. William 'Bill' Evans
    1. EARLY YEARS:
    2. SALVATION ARMY:
    3. NANCY EVANS:
    4. ROYAL MARINES:
      1. HMS TRINIDAD:
      2. GEORGE LLOYD:
    5. Royal Tank Regiment (RTR):
      1. Harold Willis remembers Bill:
    6. CIVVY Life:
    7. The Ompah Band:

EARLY YEARS:

At one pm Monday 25th September 1916 two things happened, the hooter at the Gas Works in Nuneaton, Warwickshire sounded for lunch and William Evans arrived in the world just as loudly. 

In this photo Bill Evans is aged about 10 with his brother George and mother.

Bill George and their mother
Salavation Army badge

SALVATION ARMY:

It was noticed early in his life that he had a natural talent – the love of music.  Two men were responsible for encouraging his musical education:

  • A monk from the local monastery who in exchange for a home-cooked meal provided by Grandma Evans gave dad weekly lessons in the theory of music

  • Billie Owen a member of the Salvation Army who literally took the young Bill Evans off the street and sat him down with a Euphonium. 

Bill went on to instruct and conduct the Young Peoples’ Band  at Nuneaton.  Little did these two men know what they had started!

NANCY EVANS:

Nancy's mother was Louise Harrison who was born in Rugeley in March 1887.  Her father was William Harrison (b.1850) and mother was Emily Hassell (b.1845 d.1932). She had two elder sisters Gertie and Clara.Her father Arthur George Hall was born in 1880 in a village called Swefling, Suffolk.  His parents were William Hall (a labourer) and Ann Cooper.

Arthur Hall served in the Suffolk regiment in WW1 and was a prisoner of war.  His story can be read by clicking here.

It was while attending the Nuneaton Salvation Army Corps that he met Nancy Hall whom he married in 1938 – although he was a little shocked when asked if he took Muriel Anne Hall to be his wife to which he answered “No I want to marry Nancy” (although dedicated as Muriel she had always been known as Nancy).   

Seventy years later in January 2008 the Bournemouth Echo reported:

WHEN Bill and Nancy Evans married 70 years ago they celebrated - with a bottle of port and a pork pie.  Now the couple are celebrating their platinum anniversary with a slap-up do for their family and friends.  

The couple have fond memories of their wedding day in 1938 because not only did they have to borrow their wedding clothes and food but there was a mix up during the wedding vows. Bill said: "The funny thing was on our wedding day that when the registrar said our vows he called Nancy by her christened name - Muriel.

"It wasn't until that point that I realised her real name wasn't Nancy and that came as a bit of a surprise."

Nancy and Bill brought up their six children Margaret (b1938 d2013), Arthur, Wilfie, Pam, Pip (Philip) and Gwyneth five of whom still live in Dorset. The couple had ,in 2008, 16 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. 

Bill and Nancy who lived at Bovington before moving to Corfe Mullen, attended the Salvation Army service in Poole on most Sunday.

They also held a daily competition to see who could complete the crossword first.

The couple agreed that the key to a successful marriage that spans seven decades is to tolerate each other and battle through good and bad.

To celebrate their platinum anniversary the Evans' family held a 1940s themed party at Wimborne Football Club.  The Purbeck Big Band provided the entertainment.

The family altogether in 1968:

Family 1968

Bill Nancy and Margaret
Nancy, Gert, George and Nan Nancy, Margaret, Arthur, Wilfie and Pam
Nancy, bass, and kids Nancy, Margaret and Arthur

RM Badge

ROYAL MARINES:

There are many tales to tell about Bill's youth, but we would be here all night, so we will skip a few years and arrive at his call up papers arriving in the post.   He duly went to Coventry and enlisted in the Royal Marines (RM) a strange choice as he had only ever seen the sea a couple of times and lived about as far from the sea as you could in England.

HMS Excellence Whale Island c. 1940

He was posted to RM Band Deal and then HMS Excellence, Whale Island (pictured to the left) where he learnt how to work in the transmitting station using the gunnery computer without which no ship could fight this kind of warfare. 

HMS TRINIDAD:

He then went onto Plymouth to await the launching of the navy’s newest cruiser HMS Trinidad

HMS Trindad at sea
HMS Trinidad

HMS Trinidad
Bill Evans RM Bandsman

Bill Evans RM Bandsman

GEORGE LLOYD:

It was in Plymouth he became friends with George Lloyd who composed the “HMS Trinidad march which was played at the 2013 Last Night of the Proms.

George Lloyd

George Lloyd

Transcripts of letters sent by Bill Evans to George Lloyd kindly provided by the Lloyd family.

July 1942

November 1942

October 1945

A dock worker told Bill Evans that as HMS Trinidad was to sail on a Friday it would not come back, and sadly this prophecy came true it was damaged by one of its own torpedoes whilst on escort duty on convoy PQ13.  This terrible story is recorded by George Lloyd in the Blue Band magazine on line.  Of the 15 band members on board 9 were killed.  

Although HMS Trinidad limped on to Murmansk and was temporarily repaired on the return journey to Scapa Flow it was attacked and damaged by a German dive bombers and the decision to scuttle her was made as she was slowing the convoy down.  Fortunately Bill was returning on HMS Liverpool.   HMS Trinidad was torpedoed by HMS Matchless and sank in the Arctic Ocean, north of North Cape.  She sent to the bottom of the ocean displaying flags which carried the poignant signal, ”I am sailing to the Westward”.  

The story of HMS Trinidad has been told in music in a piece called 'Am Sailing Westward'.  It was written to remember the sacrifice of HMS Trinidad's crew and was performed at the Royal Albert Hall by massed bands of the Royal Marines during Mountbatten Festival of Music 2012. Click here for a version recorded by RM School of Music.

Further information regarding HMS Trinidad and the band members that lost their lives
is available at Devon Heritage .
 

Tribute to the dead bandsman from HMS Trinidad

A tribute to the lost bandsman of HMS Trinidad in St Werburgh Parish Church,Wembury, Devon.

The Times Roll of honour April 1942

Roll of honour 1942

Bill, William Swan, Anon, Anon

The two bandsmen on left are Bill Evans and William (Bill) Swann who both served on HMS TRINIDAD together on her fatal voyage in 1942 where they lost many of their friends and colleagues.

William (Bill) Swann was a cornet player, we believe he was washed overboard and washed back on board again.

The two on the right are not known to us so if anyone has any ideas please contact us by email to the address at bottom.

RM band having tea

HMS Trinidad band - Bill is seen above drinking out of large tea mug.

RM band

HMS Trinidad band
Bill is middle row second from right

RM Band RM Bandsmen
RM Bandies

As a result Bill spent several weeks in Russia.  When asked about his Russian experiences he would simply reply it was bloody cold and smelt of cabbages!


For a period in July 1942 Bill found himself in Soldiers’ Canteen, Westborough Methodist Church, Scarborough where he stayed at The Clifton Hotel.   He was on sick leave after a dose of Bronical trouble.

After the sick leave Bill continued his wartime service.  In November 1942 he spent time at HMS Wellesley, Caryl Street, Liverpool which not much is known about.  But HMS Wellesley appeared to be a training facility and signals men were assigned to ships on Atlantic Convoys.  He continued his music whilst in Liverpool doing dance jobs and playing with a local amateur orchestra.

After VE Day Bill visited Oslo Norway.  He was on the first ship in with the Crown Prince followed by another trip with the King Harkon and the Norwegian Royal Family who returned to Norway aboard the cruiser HMS Norfolk, arriving with the First Cruiser Squadron to cheering crowds in Oslo on 7 June 1945 exactly five years after they had been evacuated from Tromsø.

Afterwards he visited Copenhagen where he managed to picked up a good German orchestral bass.

He was eventually posted in October 1945 to HMS Glendower, Pwllheli, North Wales awaiting demob.  Pwlheli later became Butlins and the family had holidays there.

After his experiences on board ships he use to tell his family that were two kinds of ships in the Royal Navy: Battleships and hardships.  He joined the Navy to see the world but ended up scrubbing it!

King Haakon of Norway

RTR cap badge
Letter re joining RTR

Royal Tank Regiment (RTR):

Bill was demobbed from the RM on 05.02.1946 and in August of the same year he successfully applied to join the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) at Bovington. 

In October 1946 Field Marshall Montgomery came to inspect the troops at Bovington and asked Bill why he was wearing naval medals.  He explained that he had served in the marines during the war but because of the housing situation in Nuneaton he had re-enlisted into the RTR to get a married quarter.  The Field Marshall asked if he had been joined by his family and the reply was no.  The next day Bill was given a key to a wooden house on the camp where we lived for 10 years.

Harold Willis remembers Bill:

The following is part of an email from Harold Willis who joined the Cambria band as boy soldier.  

“I imagine that, apart from family of course, I have probably known Bill longer than most being in the RTR Cambria Band from 1950 to 1955.   If there was a programme called ‘The Most Unforgettable Character I have Met’ Bill would certainly be top of my list.   I was a young lad of 17 years 8 months when I joined the Band at Bovington and soon got to know Bill.   In fact I used to baby sit for Nancy and Bill's four children Margaret, Arthur, Wilfie and Pam.   

I have been trying to remember the members of the band from that era, I kept in touch with our DM Captain Tom (Tacker) Davies until he died at the age of 92 also Ralph (Ossie) Simpson.   There was Sgt Plumley, the great Paddy Doran on clarinets, John Clatworthy on the oboe, Miles and Ian Collett Simpson and of course Geoff Pearce what a character he was, Peter Civil I did see from time to time playing in Bournemouth gardens and of course Harry Poole as I used to take him shopping as his health deteriorated.   Who can forget Ernie Appleyard he got me into trouble from time to time with his pranks but he was a good cornet player.   George Worsdale will live on in memory if only for his rendering of ‘One Alone’ from ‘The Desert Song’   He sang better after he had had a snifter of whisky first!   There was Frank Webster, Dodger Green, Freddy George, Jock Gould has just sprung to mind and I remember he was always using German phrases (wrongly in most cases).   Young Colin West who played the bassoon lived in Bournemouth and I did keep in contact with him for a short time

I remember Bill co-opted me to play at a dance in Wool and I wasn’t used to dance band playing and he had to put me right when I had trouble with ‘Honeysuckle Rose’.   One time the accordion trio played with Bill of course on string bass, and when we had finished Bill incurred the wrath of the DM by announcing that the Band were now going to ‘carve off’ Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony Finale.   There were lots of others but the memorable times at Bovington were in the early fifties.

I spent 20 years organising the annual Festival of Carols, I used to have various Military Bands in and with all the ones I had, only one male voice choir.   I remember the RTR band choir and we sang a lot of stuff, I recall a song about ducks and the one who had lost his mate and they both ended up on a plate, the last line said 'Although in life there were parted in death they were side by side!’   We also sang excerpts from The Pirates of Penzance and as I recall Bill used to sing his own words much to Tacker's annoyance.   Handel Everett is still going strong at Boscombe SA and I see him from time to time as he is a relative of mine by marriage. But the most unforgettable character was a man called Bill Evans who was the bane of Tacker’s life yet always greatly appreciated by him I’m sure.   Bill did you and the boys ever finish writing your march, I can still remember the first line from it.   I wish Bill a very happy 95th birthday and my best wishes and thanks too for many happy memories.”

Bill Nancy Margaret Arthur Wilfie and Pam

Bill, Nancy,
Pam, Margaret, Wilfie, and Arthur

Bill with friends and family on bridge

Ernie Appleyard, Titch Donnely with Bill and kids.

RTR Cambrai Staff band

RTR Cambria Staff Band

Bill on drum!

Bill on the drum

RTR bandsmen

Harold Willis on left

Bill on sousaphone

Bill on Sousaphone with Ernie Appleyard.

RTR band

Bill in middle row second from the right with string bass

CIVVY Life:

In 1956 he was finally demobbed and became a civilian employee in Bovington.   He had during his army service played in many of the local town bands from Weymouth to Swanage to Wimborne.

He played under White at Wareham Town Band and Edwin Otter at Durnovaria Silver Band (Dorchester).  As well as having long time friendships with Fred Trantor director of the Gillingham Imperial Band and Charlie Butt of Shaftesbury Town Silver Band

But Bill just loved to entertain people by playing the piano, double bass and accordion.  He did so in many pubs such as Jolly Sailor and Shipwright's in Poole,  Scott Arms in the Purbecks, childrens' Christmas party at Bere Regis British Legion, Sailors' Return East Chaldon and many more.  Nancy would often join him and sing 'The Old Rugged Cross'.

But his favourite venue was The Frampton Arms next to Moreton railway station.  He would say all roads lead to The Frampton Arms.  Nancy often worked behind the bar.  Bill had his own colourful corp of drums with farmer Dale on bass drum and Paddy Brown playing the metal drinks tray like a snare drum and cymbal.  The atompshere of those days, when Dusty Miller was the landlord, is captured in the 'The Ballad of the Frampton Arms' or 'I love to go a wandering, Faldere, Faldera'.  Click here to read the words which should be sung to the melody of 'The Happy Wander'.

Sousaphone

Bill being a boar!

Bill playing the boar in France on one of the many twinning trips he went on to both France and Germany.

DSB at Tolpuddle

Durnovaria Silver Band (Bill is on the left in back row with his grandson Paul Hill who is helping out without a uniform and playing bass as well) at the Tolpuddle Martyrs rally.  Philip George is playing tenor horn.

DSB France

Durnovaria Silver Band playing in France on the Normandy coast during a twinning visit to Bayeux

Swanage Town Band.

Bill this time on euphonium.

The Ompah Band:

His involvement in music continued and he started up a youth band teaching local children to play.  His many visits on band twinning trips to Schützen Musik Corps Lübbecke and Musikzug Viktoria Hille fed his love for Ompah music and what started as the Bovington Brass Band (BBB) for learners morphed in to the Bovington Bavarian Band (BBB) which played at local fetes and gave many concerts. The sight of men of all ages in short German lederhosen turned many a ladies head.

Conducting

Bovington Brass Band

The original Bovington Brass Band.  Bill had six children and in this photo can be seen his two youngest.  
Gwyneth on Eb horn 2nd from left stood up and Pip on trombone 3rd from right stood up.
Also in this photo Jack Tharm far left and daughter Jo kneeling at front, Dickie Day at back in middle with two daughters and son on drum.
Derrick Fincham sat down who later became town crier for Swanage.
Far right also on bass ? Meaden.

Ompah

Bovington Bavarian Band (BBB)
Bill's wife Nancy is second from left stood up with Bill's bass.

BBB

More family members in this picture with son Pip sat down on far right, next to him is Bill's future son-in-law Stephen Selby.  
At back stood up second from right is Pam. Nancy is in the back row fourth from left.
Gabby, Mac, Eddie Byrom and his wife, Derek Boobyer, Jack Tharm and Colin Lucas are also present.

BBB

BBB at Swanage Bandstand.  Nancy is far left on drum.  
Gabby, Mac, Rollo, Geoff Humphries and his wife are also present.

BBB

Tony Worcester far left, Nancy on drum

BBB

Bill on accordion, Pip on trombone

BBB

Geoff, Mac, Gabby, Bill, Eddie, Jack, Pam, Pip

BBB

BBB

Nancy and Jack Tharm playing the Anvil Poker

BBB

Jack and Pam

BBB

Colin Gay (now a conductor in Cornwall), Pip and Bill

BBB

Bill conducting with legs.  Geoff  is playing trumpet.  Tony Worcester at rear playing trombone.

If you have any interesting photos and / or can put any names to the people in these photos
then send an email to pip_evans@btinternet.com

glockenspiel

Bill on glock.

Nancy

Nancy on drum.
Liz Carter on cornet and now conductor of Durnovaria Silver Band

All good things come to an end and the BBB finally came to a halt, but Bill still continued his involvement in the brass band world, playing with many of the local brass bands.  He retired from his musical career in 2010 at the age of 94 although he made guest appearances with the Ferndown Concert Brass who celebrated Bill's 95th birthday. Nancy his wife was also present at his birthday party and when he passed away they had been together for over 74 years.

Another of his sayings, which is surprising since he was married for so long, is that there are three rings in marriage: engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering, at which point Nancy would hit him over the head with anything to hand!

Nancy and Bill

   Bill and Nancy

If you have any comments or further information then please send an email to:  pip_evans@btinternet.com