Tag Archives: Lois Evans

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


The wives of the dead heroes

14 Mar

A blogger has written to ask about the ongoing lives of the wives of the men who died with Scott.

This is an interesting question. Three of Scott’s party were married: Scott himself, Edward Wilson and Edgar Evans.

When the news reached England, pensions were awarded to the widows. The amounts were determined on the ranks of their husbands. Kathleen Scott received an Admiralty Pension of £200 p.a.a gratuity of £693 and £36 back pay. She was given a Government Pension of £200 p.a. and £850 from the Mansion House Trust Fund (M.H.T.F.), her husbands British Antarctic Expedition  (B.A.E.) salary, plus income from books and articles. She was a wealthy woman.

Oriana Wilson received £300 from Government Pensions, £850 from the M.H.T.F and Wilson’s B.A.E salary of £636

Lois Evans and her three children had an Admiralty Pension of 7s 6p a week, 2s a week for the children (when they were minors), plus £52 back pay, a government pension of 12s 6p a week plus 3s a week for each child. She was given £1,250 from the M.H.T.F and her husband’s £44 B.A.S salary. She professed haeself well satisfied.

Kathleen was awarded the rank of widow of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1913. She remarried in 1922 and became Baroness Kennet in 1935.

Orians did not remarry. The news of her husband’s death shook her faith, she never really recovered from his loss. She worked for the N.Z Red Cross in World War 1 and was made C.B.E. She supported Frank Debenham in the new Scott Polar Research Institute and presented the institute with many water colours and pencil sketches. She followed her husband’s interest in ornithology and became quite an expert. She lived in Hertfordshire and died there in 1945.

Lois remained in Wales She was with the other widows for an investiture in Buckingham Palace where she received Edgar’s medal and clasp which celebrated his Antarctic expeditions. She was the only widow alive at the premier of ‘Scott in the Antarctic’ a famous film, still remembered and premiered in 1948

Edgar Evans, the ‘Welsh Giant’

7 Dec

I have just seen the book cover of my book on Edgar Evans. In his picture Edgar looks every inch the ‘Welsh Giant’, a man of whom Wales can be proud.

Sadly, the only memorial to Edgar in Wales was commissioned by Edgar’s widow, Lois Evans. There was no national memorial. This was probably because some London newspapers blamed Edgar for slowing the progress of the British party on their ill-fated return and so causing the deaths of the men he so admired, an ill-founded suggestion that took years to refute.