Fred Evans

23.8.21 – 7.7.2019

fredevansFred was born in Islington on 23rd August 1921. He grew up with his brother Stan, who was 10 years younger than him.

Fred had a passion for bike riding. He thought nothing of cycling down to Brighton for the day and back again! He was also a choir boy in a church in Southwark. He had a lovely singing voice, and missed an audition for the D’oyly Carte Opera Company, because he had to have his tonsils out instead.

On leaving school, he trained as a precision engineer for Napier and Son. He was called up for National Service with the Royal Air Force as a radio operator, deciphering Morse Code. I remember him telling me that he was put on a charge for insubordination by one particular sergeant, not his usual NCO, who came blustering in talking loudly as Dad was trying to hear the code coming through
on a very faint line. He told the sergeant to be quiet so that he could hear; the sergeant did not like that at all!

Dad told me that his unit was being trained for the Normandy Landings. Dad’s unit was put to use building the Mulberry Harbours for the Military. Dad always said he had a lucky war.

Dad married my Mum, Gracie, on December 12th 1942. When they were first married, they lived with my Grandparents in South Harrow. They moved to their house in South Ruislip when my sister was a few months old. It was in the terrible winter of 1946. I was born in 1948.

There are many anecdotes I could tell you, but one in particular will always stay in my mind and makes me smile. When my son Graham was 40, we all went to Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for a celebration meal. While we were choosing our food the wine waiter asked what wine we would like. Dad asked the sommelier to choose “a decent red wine”. After the bottle was finished, he ordered another one. It was not until I got the bill that I realised how much the wine was – £200 a bottle! Dad asked me later how much it cost because it was so nice. When I told him he was shocked! I did not mind at all, as it was so special having him there, cheerful and thoroughly enjoying himself. Just how we always want to remember him.

Fred and Gracie moved to Shipton in 1984 and made many new friends. They enjoyed a long and happy retirement here and Fred will be remembered as a very sociable man who enjoyed a chat with friends, often over a glass of red wine.

Jill, Chris and Graham Joselin

October-November 2019