Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans
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About Admiral Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans
Rear Admiral Commanding Royal Australian Navy 1929-31; Regional Commissioner for London Defence Area 1939-45
Admiral Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans, KCB, DSO SGM (28 October 1881 – 20 August 1957), known as "Teddy" Evans, was a British naval officer and Antarctic explorer. He served as second-in-command on Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1910–1913 and as captain of the expedition ship Terra Nova.
Edward Evans was born in London in 1881, the son of barrister, Frank Evans. Expelled from Merchant Taylors' School, London for truancy, he eventually completed sufficient schooling to make his way onto the Mercantile Marine training ship HMS Worcester and obtain, two years later, a naval cadetship in 1896. He attended the Royal Naval College from 1900-1902. In 1900 he was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant, then Sub-Lieutenant and Lieutenant in 1902 and the same year served as second officer of the Morning, the relief vessel of Scott's first Antarctic expedition in 1901-1904.
Scott's Second Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913)
Scott offered Evans the position with his second expedition as a means of persuading him to drop plans for his own competing expedition to explore King Edward VII Land. However, it was an uneasy working relationship, as Scott continued to regard Evans as a rival.
In Antarctica, Evans was initially in charge of Scott's motor-sledge party. After the sledges broke down, he continued south, man-hauling, as the leader of the last supporting party to accompany Scott to the pole. After hearing from Scott that he was not going to be one of the men making the final push to the South Pole, Evans turned back on 4 January 1912 at latitude 87° 32′ S, within 150 geographical miles of the pole, leaving another of his party, Henry R. Bowers, to join Scott's Polar party. On the return journey, Evans became seriously ill with scurvy and by 11 February, still 100 miles from base camp, could no longer stand unaided and had to be pulled on the sledge by his remaining two companions, Tom Crean and William Lashly. Evans ordered them to leave him behind as he feared all three would otherwise die, but they refused. Evans would later say that this was the only time in his naval career where his orders were disobeyed. Evans declining condition was chronicled in the journal of Lashly, who observed that Evans was "turning black and blue and several other colours as well", and later that he was in great pain and unable to stand. Evans later wrote: "Very seriously and sadly they re-erected our tent and put me once again inside. I thought I was being put into my grave....". At this point, with not enough supplies to last the 3 men for the remaining 35 miles, Crean volunteered to go alone to fetch help. On 19 February, after walking for 18 hours non-stop, Crean reached Hut Point where he found two members of the expedition, physician Edward L. Atkinson and dog-handler Dimitri Gerov, who set off on dog sleds and rescued Evans and Lashly. Altogether, the three had marched about 1500 miles.
Because of his illness, Evans was sent home in the expedition's ship Terra Nova in March 1912, but he recovered and returned the following year in command of the ship to take off the expedition's survivors.
Commander Evans was married to Hilda Beatrice Russell at St Barnabas's Church, Fendalton, Christchurch, New Zealand on 13 April 1904 when he was second officer of the relief ship Morning, the support ship of Scott's first Anatartic expedition. Hilda was the second daughter of T G Russell a solicitor of Christchurch and niece of Mr G W Russell New Zealand MP.
Hilda became ill with peritonitis on board the Oranto on 14 April 1913 whilst on her way to England with her husband after his return from Scott's second and fateful expedition. She was operated on by the ship's doctor on 15 April. Conscious when the ship reached Naples on the 17th she stayed on board but after setting back to sea, she died at midnight of the 18th April. Hilda was buried in Toulon, France. A memorial to Hilda Evans is to be found in Linwood Cemetery, Bromley, Christchurch, New Zealand at Block 46 Plot 205 - the Russell family grave.
Following his Antarctic service, Evans had a successful naval career. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 he was promoted to Commander.
On 20 April 1917, while on night patrol of the Dover Barrage near Goodwin Sands, he commanded the destroyer HMS Broke in an action against six German destroyers of the Kaiserliche Marine that had started to bombard Dover. Along with HMS Swift, Evans engaged the German destroyers in what became known as the Battle of Dover Strait. A torpedo from HMS Swift sank one of the enemy destroyers, G-85. Then the Broke deliberately rammed another, G-42, almost breaking it in two. The two ships became locked together and for a while there was close-quarters fighting on Broke's deck until the Broke managed to break free. The German destroyer sank while the remaining German warships escaped. The badly damaged Broke was towed home, while the equally damaged Swift made her own way back. The action gained him immediate promotion to the rank of Captain and his DSO and made Evans a popular hero, feted in the British press as "Evans of the Broke". Evans wrote an account of his activities on the Dover Patrol in his book "Keeping the Seas" (1920).
Evans married Norwegian Elsa Andvord in 1916.
While in command of HMS Carlisle on the China Station, Evans rescued 200 survivors from the SS Hong Moh. His actions, including swimming to give direction on the sinking ship, gained several awards for life-saving.
In February 1928 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral commanding the Royal Australian Navy Fleet (formal title was "Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron"). In November 1932 he was made Vice-Admiral. He was commander-in-chief of the Africa Station and Deputy High Commissioner of the British Protectorates from 1933-35. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1935. He was Commander-in-Chief, The Nore from 1935–1939 and was promoted to Admiral in July 1936. Recalled in 1939, the following year he participated in the Norwegian Campaign, after which he retired from the Royal Navy on 9 January 1941. During the remainder of the Second World War he served as London Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence. In December 1945, he was created a baron, Lord Mountevans of the Broke. He was Rector of the University of Aberdeen from 1936-1942. In 1947 he chaired a committee to formalise the rules of professional wrestling in the UK. These rules became known as the Admiral-Lord Mountevans rules.
He wrote several books about Antarctica:
South with Scott (1921)
British Polar explorers (1944)
The desolate Antarctic (1950)
Honours and awards
He was 2nd Officer Relief Ship Morning Nat Antarctic –04 (Antarctic Medal), 2ic Br Expdn 1910–13, Dover Patrol cmdg HMS Broke and Sr Naval Officer Ostend (despatches) WW I, commander HMS Carlisle 1920–22, Captain Patrol, Mine-sweeping and Fishery Protect Expdn 1902.
He was Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.). He was educated Merchant Taylor's and HMS Worcester.
He was Companion, Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.).
He was created 1st Baron Mountevans [U.K.] on 12 November 1945.
Admiral Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans's Timeline
October 28, 1881
August 28, 1918
August 21, 1924
August 20, 1957