Lancastrian Arthur Evans joined Exeter City from Manchester City in 1913. Making 26 Southern League appearances over the next two seasons, he joined the war effort and was one of four one-time Exeter City players killed at the Somme in 1916.
Hailing from Horwich near Bolton, he was a professional with both Blackpool and Manchester City without appearing in the Football League for either club. As one of many of manager Arthur Chadwick’s signings from the north west of England, he arrived at St James’ Park in 1913.
Having played in the opening game against Southampton he found first-team opportunities hard to come by and made just six appearances during 1913/14. Not travelling on the 1914 tour to Argentina and Brazil he instead, as something of a sporting all-rounder, spent the early summer months as cricket coach at West Buckland School.
Featuring more often during 1914/15, and having scored his first goal for Exeter agsainst Crystal Palace on 13 February 1915, he had long been one of the first of City's professionals to enlist by the time he played his final game against Southampton on 24 April 1915. A member of the West Country Company of the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, he had joined up in November 1914 and the following November - seven months after his final game in the club’s colours - he finally found himself in France. Serving on the Western Front at the battle of the Somme he was reported as missing in action on 31 July 1916. Word eventually reached Exeter in January 1917 that his remains had been found.
Arthur Evans is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial and on the plaque at St James Park. His name was added to the roll of honour at West Buckland School in November 2016.
[additional research by Alison Styles]
For more information about Arthur Evans’s life, war service and death see his entry in the Killed in Action section of the Archive