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RFT

Capt Robert Ernest Eversden, RAF

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RFT

Capt Robert Ernest Eversden

Capt Eversden was accidentally killed by a sentry appointed to guard one of 47 Squadron's steam trains on the night of the 15 August 1919 (South Russia).

Would welcome input from anyone else who may have researched or have knowledge of this incident.

Rob

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alanlw

Have no knowledge of this incident but have just come across some info on his time in German East Africa in 1917, and am pretty convinced I have identified him in at least two photos. Let me if know if interested.

Alan

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RFT

Hello Alan,

I don't visit the GWF much these days but it is hoped that some of my topics (and responses) have been of interest.

I note the above topic didn't state the squadron with which Mr Eversden was serving at time of his demise and so have added the following - No. 47 Squadron RAF, South Russia. I have an account of the incident but not the name of the sentry!

Any information you may have will be very much appreciated.

Rob

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alanlw

Hi Rob, Attach Eversden's AIR 76 record from TNA. It's a photo of a PC screen so not very good quality. It mentions 47 Squadron towards the bottom.

PM me if you want better quality (original photo around 800KB) or more pages.

Alan

post-63725-0-67165400-1383937416_thumb.j

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alanlw

Here's a photo of Eversden (left) fooling around with one of his observers, probably Steedman, in Likuyu in German East Africa. Photo taken by Courtney Brocklehurst, a fellow pilot, in October 1917.

Alan

post-63725-0-21170000-1383938052_thumb.j

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June Underwood

Alan

I wonder whether you would you allow us to include the photo of Captain Eversden on our website at www.buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk If so, as it is rather large, would you be able to PM it to me. We already have some personal details there and a link to a letter that he wrote to his mother.

June

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alanlw

By all means, June, but please credit the "Swythamley Historical Society".. You should be able to download it directly from the forum - I have just tried it - but if you're still having problems let me know.

I came across his letter in a book and your site, thanks. By the way, your memorial entry is not quite correct. Elonza Eversden was his father, not his wife. Elonza died in 1896 so Bob's mother Catherine was a widow. I have found no record of Bob Eversden marrying.

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June Underwood

Thank you Alan and the Swythamley Historical Society for allowing us to use the photo - it can now be seen on our website.

I found the information about Captain Eversden's parents on The War Graves Photographic Project and it reads as though Elonza was his wife. I've corrected it now and it will appear when the database is uploaded to the website shortly.

June

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RFT

Alan,

Thanks for supplying the service record. No need to provide a clearer image as I have a copy among my 47 archive. Have never before come across a photo of Mr Eversden. May I have your permission to include the photo among my extensive 47 Squadron archive? I will of course credit you.

The incident concerning his death a rather tragic one and perhaps you may be aware of the circumstances. Let me know if you require any details.

Thanks again,

Rob

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alanlw

Hi Rob, Yes, by all means but please credit the "Swythamley Historical Society", not just me.

Yes, I'd like to know a little more about how he died, please.

Eversden flew a few times with the guy I'm researching in GEA. Brocklehurst thought Eversden was "an excellent fellow, full of guts." They also hunted together, played cards and generally seemed to enjoy each other's company for a short while. Brock even claimed he was a good cook at one point.

Thanks,

Alan

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RFT

 

On 09/11/2013 at 21:05, alanlw said:

Yes, I'd like to know a little more about how he died, please.

 

The circumstances surrounding the death of Capt Eversden (100 years ago today) were subject of official enquiry but have been unable to locate same.

 

According to a contemporary newspaper report (date N/A) -

"The circumstances of his death were tragic.  Captain Eversden, with one or two other English officers, were living in a railway carriage, but slept in a tent at some distance away.  About midnight on August 15 Captain Eversden left the tent to get something out of his kit when he was shot dead by a sentinel."

 

A second version of events, written by E. W. Reynolds, made its appearance in the magazine "Popular Flying" some 85 years ago.  Mr Reynolds was an AC2 (Armourer) with 47 Squadron and was on the spot when this tragic event occurred -

 

"Our sentry posts were divided into two sections, camp guard and train guard.  All sentries were armed with a loaded rifle and fixed bayonet.  At a few minutes before midnight on the night in question I was on sentry duty at the camp outskirts, when a rifle shot was heard in the direction of the train.  All sentries at the camp were on the alert in an instant.  A few seconds later a lad came panting up to say that a sentry had seen someone crawling under the train; he had challenged three times, got no reply, so had fired, killing the man.  Relief guards were called out and I was instructed to escort the M.O (Doctor Flood) and the stretcher-bearers to the train.  What a shock we had!  For, on close inspection, the body was that of one of our officers, a Captain Eversden.  What he was doing under the train remained a mystery."

 

Mr Reynolds went on to provide a description of the location of the bullet's point of entry (upper lip left) and its exit!  Furthermore, "it was evident the next day that the sentry was a good shot..... it was a very dark night, range about 30 yards, and the sentry had never fired a rifle before.  Captain Eversden was laid to rest in Ekaterinodar cemetery and it was our Major [Raymond Collishaw] who read the burial service at the funeral, which was attended by hundreds of Russians who were very curious as to the English burial service.  The usual 3 volleys were also fired." 

 

Rob

 

Edited by RFT
Additional information provided.

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RFT

To all who have expressed an interest in this topic - My most recent post has been amended to include more information.

 

Rob

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