Evan William Rowland was born in Eccleshill on 18 September 1886 the son of Welshpool-born woolsorter David Rowlands and his wife Sarah Eliza.The first we read of his war is a short paragraph in the Greengates district news section of the Shipley Times & Express on 4 January 1918:“Lieut Evan Rowlands, who assisted the late vicar, Rev W H Power, in the work of the parish previous to joining the Colours took part in the Christmas Day and Sunday Services.“Lieut Rowlands has been awarded the Military Cross.”Three weeks later they gave a few more details:“Sec-Lieut Evan W Rowlands of 21 Moorside Road, Eccleshill, who is well-known both in the Eccleshill and Greengates district, has been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous leadership and gallantry in the field.
“On the outbreak of hostilities, he was studying at St Aidan’s Theological College, Birkenhead, under Dr F S Guy Warman, the present vicar of Bradford, with a view to taking Holy Orders.“He was successful in passing out of the college with the licence in theology from the University of Durham but deferred ordination in order to join the army.“He entered the officer’s training corps attached to Durham University in February 1916 and was granted a commission and posted to the 9th battalion of the Durham Light Infantry under the late Brigadier General R B Bradford, V.C., M.C. who was colonel at the time.
“Sec-Lieut Rowlands was wounded in the back by shrapnel, having been sent to France last May. Having now recovered he is expecting to go to the Front shortly.He formerly assisted in the services at Greengates Church.”On 10 May the newspaper again featured Evan’s service:“How Sec-Lieut E W Rowlands, D.L.I. of Eccleshill, a nephew of Cllr A Linley of Windhill, won the Military Cross, is related in the London Gazette of 25th April.“He showed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a working party that were carrying trench boards near the front line.
“An enemy aeroplane dropped bombs on a second party of the battalion, half of whom became casualties, and then very heavy shelling commenced, but the Sec-Lieut at once hastened to the party and saw to it that all the wounded were carried to the dressing station.“He then rallied his own party and made a second journey to the line with the material for the second party. The successful completion of the work was entirely due to him.”On 21 March 1919 we learn that “Lieut E W Rowlands, M.C., has been demobilised and is resuming his parochial work for the next two months.“In May he goes to Durham University.”Evan clearly went on to join the church because at the time of the 1939 survey he is living at the vicarage in South Cambridgeshire.His probate records after his death on 7 February 1956, give him as Rev Evan Rowlands. He was then living at 15 Haycliffe Avenue, Great Horton,