Lois Evans, Edgar Evans’ widow

28 Nov

Plans for the Edgar Evans sculpture are going apace. The South Wales Evening Post of 23rd November shows Edgar’s grandson, John holding a scale model. The sculptor, Roger Andrews, says he aims to combine accuracy with a vivid impression of Edgar’s character.

The campaign now has the backing of Swansea Council and the British Antarctic Heritage Trust.An Edgar Evans education programme is planned -this would have pleased him, he was intelligent and a keen reader.

What would Lois have made of this? I think she would have been proud and delighted- vindication at last! She suffered greatly after Edgar’s death. Not only had she lost her husband and father of her three children, but also, she had to endure the published implications in some papers, that Edgar critically held the British party up and was the indirect cause of the deaths of Scott (who he much admired) plus the rest of the Polar party. Her mother in law, Sarah, admitted this to a local reporter. The suggestion that Edgar failed because he had not had the education to equip him for the tedium of the homeward journey must have been a humiliating body blow.

In 1913 Lois, robustly loyal to her man, had a beautiful memorial erected for Edgar in the little church in Rhossili, a testament of her courage and determination, but there was no national memorial erected in Wales; it may have been feared that the rumours had substance- It is remarkable that, 100 years after Edgar’s death, there is this move to celebrate this ‘son of Gower’.

Ironically, Lois benefited financially in her widowhood. The Admiralty treated Edgar’s demise as if he had been killed in action and she received government and Admiralty pensions of £91 each year, a lump sum of £96, plus income from a fund raised by voluntary subscription and his Expedition salary of £44. She professed herself satisfied, Interestingly, Kathleen Scott received a lump sum nearly thirty times as much, plus comparably large pensions, trust funds etc

 

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