Fonds MC2501 - Eva M. Fleet fonds

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Eva M. Fleet fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 25 June 1915 - 27 April 1919 (Creation)
    Fleet - Evans family

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3 cms of textual records

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(1887 -)

Biographical history

Eva May Fleet, the daughter of Ida A. Cullen (1870-1949) and Aaron Robert Fleet (1857-1925), was born on 23 April 1889 at Saint John, New Brunswick. Eva Fleet had no fewer than 6 siblings, namely, Herbert A., J. Arthur, Harold B., Robert K., Ida B., and William Raymond (1901-1922). For a number of years the family lived on Broad Street. During World War I, Eva Fleet corresponded with Walter A. Evans, of Saint John, who was serving overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He returned to Saint John, in 1919, and they were married on 27 April 1921 in Germain Street Baptist Church, Saint John. They had a son, Robert Evans (b. 1923).

Walter Allen Evans was born in Long Reach, Kings County, New Brunswick, in 1887 to George E. Evans and Harriett A. Bostwick. He had no fewer than 6 siblings, namely, Lena (b. 1876), Alice (b. 1878), Sanford (b. 1881), Alder (b. 1883), Helen (b. 1884), and Hazel G. (b. 1890). The Evans family moved to Saint John when Walter was a teenager, and he found employment with the Canadian National Railway. At the outbreak of World War I, Walter Evans joined the Second Divisional Ammunition Column as part of an artillery that was raised in Saint John. His brother, Alder, also signed on with the C.E.F. Walter Evans served overseas at the Front, beginning in September 1915. In 1917, Sergeant Evans was awarded a military medal for his efforts at Passchendaele. At the time of his discharge, he had achieved the rank of Lieutenant.

In the postwar years, Eva and Walter Evans made their home in Saint John where Walter Evans was employed as a yardmaster with the Canadian National Railway. In his spare time, he was active in the militia, joining the 15th Battery in Saint John. He was serving as quartermaster of that unit when he died on 1 June 1935, aged 48. He was buried at Fernhill Cemetery, Saint John.

Following Walter Evans' death, Eva Evans, at some point, moved to Fredericton. She was living there, as a widow, on 2 January 1949, when her mother, Ida C. Cullen Fleet, who resided with her, died. The date of Eva Evans' death is unknown.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 45 pieces of correspondence written by Walter A. Evans to Eva May Fleet, between 1915 and 1919, while he was serving overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. It documents his activities as a soldier, conditions in the trenches, and his experiences on the battlefield. As well, the letters provide insights into the relationship developing between Eva and Walter that culminated in their marriage in 1921.

Walter Evans describes the Front as a God-forsaken place, and comments on the mud, damp, and cold. He notes bombing raids; the deaths of men, mules, and horses; and the need for more men at the Front. In particular, he discuss his role in the Battle of Passchendaele, what he saw on the battlefield (10 December 1917), and mentions the boys from home, particularly his brother, Alder, whom he meets overseas. As well, he notes his activities on leave, his training period in England, and the need for conscription. His last 5 letters (24 November 1918 to 27 April 1919) discuss his desire to return home, his attempts to make this a reality, and his hope that Eva will agree to marry him.

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