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Evan William Griffiths

This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Pamela Morton, daughter of Evan William Griffiths

My Father, aged 24, was killed on the 7th June 1944. He was in the Coldstream Guards to start with and their nominal roll records the fact that he attested in Hereford on 27 December 1940 and his ocupation was an Agricultural Labourer.  It also states that he was 5ft 9½in tall, had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He then joined No. 3 Commando on some secret mission and sadly did not make it through the battle.

Evan Griffiths, pictured top row at the end on the right, with his unit in the Coldstream Guards, date unknown

He was born in the small village of Gladestry, Wales where his Mother and Father were smallholders. They also had a daughter, Doris, as well as my Father. She was a couple of years younger than him and lived till she was 94. His Mother, my Grandmother, lived to be 98 and was a religious woman and the death of my Father knocked her for six. Grandad died when I was young and I can only remember him with a smock on taking produce to the local town market. I believe my father also worked on the smallholding so he was a real country boy when called up for war service.

He was married to Violet Kathleen Griffiths who worked as a cook for a doctor in Kington, Herefordshire for part of the war. We think the photo of the two of them was taken when she was there.

Evan and Violet Kathleen Griffiths

My father saw me once. I was born 24th September, 1943 and think he had one spot of leave to come home, maybe December that year, so suppose he was thrilled to know he had a daughter before he returned to the front line.

I think he was listed as missing to start with and my Mother did not talk about it very much when I was young and remarried 5 years later and had another daughter, my half sister Mary.

My mother received a photo of his grave marker and his place of burial notification in 1946 but she did not get to visit his grave. Fortunately I did on the 51st D-Day anniversary in 1995. I found the grave at Ranville Cemetery and a bee buzzed round all the while I stood paying respects and looking at the lovely flowers growing beside it.  A modern headstone as you know not like the original in the photo.

Mother hated regimental music on the t.v. and always told us to turn it off if any military ceremony took place.   We lived with my Grandmother who told me that Mother became almost suicidal after hearing my Dad was missing and used to run 3 miles to the nearest railway station to see if he was on the train.   Later she became so unbalanced she had to go into a mental hospital for a while.  Eventually, she came out and improved and learnt to cope with her grief in a more gentle way.

The irony of it all is that my son was born in 1965 on the 7th June, same day my Father was killed.  Mother did not comment on it at all at the time. How sad it all was and of course no counselling to help her deal with her terrible sense of loss and just a good thing she lived with my Gran and Grandad at the time.

I am 80 years old and thankfully in good health and will be following the 80 years Memorial Service in June when held at the Normandy Monument where, of course, my Father's name appears on the list of the fallen on the pillars. I know so many died but each family has had to grieve and can tell their own stories.

British Normandy Memorial - Additional Information

The British Army Casualty List 1939-1945 confirms that Evan Griffiths was first recorded as missing and then recorded as presumed killed in action, 7 June 1944.

FALLEN HEROES

  • EVAN WILLIAM GRIFFITHS

    Army • GUARDSMAN

    Army Commandos
    3 Commando

    DIED 07 June 1944

    AGE 24

    SERVICE NO. 2664194

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