The Worn-Out

Lieutenant Colonel Billy Evans, D.S.O.
52nd (New Ontario) BattalionEvans

Marked spells of general weakness, occasionally shortness of breath, easily fatigued, spells of nervousness with trembling of whole body. Has no confidence in himself and lacks concentrating powers.

(Medical History of an Invalid, 17 Jul 1919)

William Barnard Evans was a Montreal businessman with fourteen years’ service in the 3rd Royal Victoria Rifles. He was born in Toronto on 31 October 1875. On the formation of the 60th Battalion in spring 1915, he became second-in-command to Lieutenant Colonel Gascoigne.

The 60th deployed to France in February 1916 as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division. Evans felt “we should still be classed as very green troops.” On 25 September 1916, Evan assumed command of the 52nd Battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Donald Sutherland who had been severely wounded in action.

He led the 52nd through the final stage of the Somme campaign and the battle of Vimy Ridge. After a year and a half in the field, he requested reassignment in July 1917. He was temporary replaced by Major A. C. Wilcox until Lieutenant Colonel W. W. Foster assumed command of the 52nd in August. Troubled by nervousness and exhaustion Evans was diagnosed with neurasthenia and posted to a reserve brigade in Shorncliffe.

He died in 1952.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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