The ‘Evington Eight’ recorded on Evington’s War memorial, had all been resident in Evington at some time and all were killed in action between May 1916 and November 1918, with an average age of 27.
GEORGE FRIE BENSKIN
George was born in Leicester in 1889 to a large family, His parents were Alfred Benskin and Matilda Martha (nee Frie)
According to the 1911 census the family were living at 5 Upper Fox Street, Leicester and George was working as a tobacconist’s assistant.
Private Benskin was killed in action in Greece on 18th Sept. 1918, aged 29. He was in the Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment, 9th Battalion. He enlisted in Leicester.
JOHN WILLIAM BILLESDON
John was born in 1881 in Oadby, John was an agricultural labourer who later moved to Chapel Street, Evington and then Old Evington, where he lived as a boarder at the home of George and Ada (his sister) Brewin.
In 1912 he emigrated to New Zealand, only to return to England in May 1914 as Private Billesdon in the 1st battalion of the Wellington Infantry Regiment.
John was killed in action only seven days before Armistice Day in November at Le Quesnay in France and buried at Cross Roads Cemetry Fontaine-Au-Bois.
Unusually he is honoured by three memorials: in Wellington NZ, St. Denys Church and the Evington War memorial.
ARCHIBALD GORDON BOWELL
Archibald (known as ‘Archie’) was born in 1890 in Norwich, Norfolk just before his family moved to Leicester. His parents were Charles W. Bowell (jnr) who was born in Salisbury and worked as a commercial traveller for a machinery company and his mother was Charlotte E (nee Bissex) who was born in Bristol District, Glos. in 1880.
As a scholar at the Wyggeston Grammar School, Archie lived at 117 Evington Road and then the White House Evington. He became a Commercial Traveller before enlistment in the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and becoming a commissioned officer in January 1915.
On the 14th July, 1916, Second Lieutenant Bowell was involved in heavy fighting at Bazentin during the early days of the Battle of the Somme and he was killed in action with no recovery of his body, aged 25. He is therefore one of the thousands remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
JOHN JOSEPH BREWIN
John was born in Hinckley in 1883. His parents were John Brewin, who was born in Thorpe Acre and worked as a shepherd, and Harriet (nee King).
John Joseph married Sarah Jane Seal at Thurnby Church on 21st Nov. 1904. Sarah Jane was the daughter of Edward Seal and his wife Jane (nee Measures). Edward Seal worked as a shepherd and was born in Thurnby.
In the 1911 census John Joseph was working as a general labourer and living with his wife and father in law in Old Evington. John Joseph and Sarah Jane had a daughter Fanny, born in 1905 and a son Harry born in 1908.
Private Brewin died of his wounds on 24th April 1917 aged 34 after action near Arras. He was in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, after being formerly in the Leicestershire Regiment.
LOUIS EDWIN KENNEWELL
Louis was born in Evington in 1887. His father was Francis Kennewell who was born at Spittlegate, Lincoln and worked as a shepherd and farm labourer and his mother was Mary (nee Brewin).
In 1901 the family lived at 23 Lancaster Street and Louis worked as a shoe tacker.
By the time of the 1911 census the family were living in Evington, but Louis was a boarder and was working as a milkcarrier in Kensington.
Louis married Margaret E. A. Mayes on 28th Sept. 1915 at Stratton, Swindon.
He was a Private in the Duke of Cambridge’s own 17th Middlesex Regiment, 23rd Battalion. Private Kennewell died of his wounds on 28th Sept. 1916 in Flanders, France aged 29. On 15th Sept. 1916, he had had gun shot wounds to his chest, leg and buttock.
He is also remembered at St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Grave B. 19.65.
GERALD EGREMONT TROLOVE
Gerald was born in Leicester in 1899 to Walter Henry, a bank clerk and his mother Violet (Wyndham) from London. By 1911 they were living at Linden Drive, Evington.
Private Trolove was killed in action on 31st July 1917 aged 18
He was a private (37884) in the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, 2nd Battalion having enlisted in Leicester.
He is commemorated at the famous Menin Gat at Ypres in Belgium.
Reuben was born in Evington in 1894 to John Henry and Jessie Wagstaff.
In 1901 they lived in Chapel Street, Evington and John Henry was a gardener by occupation.
By 1911, Reuben had become a groom gardener until war service saw him as a gunner in the 38th brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.
He died on 10th Nov. 1918 aged 24.
WILLIAM LESLIE WELLS
William was born in Leicester in 1892 to William Walter Wells (an architect surveyor) and Lydia Phoebe (nee Nock)
William married Kathleen McChristal at Holy Cross Church, Leicester on 10th Nov. 1912. They had two children, Samuel J. P. Wells who was born in 1914 and Phoebe K. M. Wells who was born in 1916
For the 1911 census, the family were living in Linden Drive, Evington. William worked as a bank clerk for Parrs Banking Co and London & River Plate Banking Co.
William enlisted in Aug. 1914 as a despatch rider and later he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.
He was killed in action on 21st May 1916 aged 24. and is also remembered with honour at the Cabaret Rouge Cemetery in France. After the war his widow lived in Saxby Street, (formerly Saxe Coburg Street).