The Letters Home of Lt. E. Trevor Evans,


March/April 1918


This website page tells us a little about the few weeks which a teenaged  Royal Flying Corps pilot, Trevor Evans, spent in March and April 1918 up in the hills above Dolgellau in Wales; how he came to be there, almost as far as it was possible to be from the horrors of the Western and Italian Fronts; and how one can follow in his footsteps, more than a century later.

These are the sections of the page and shortcuts to them:




Lt. E. Trevor Evans was a young man from New Brighton on the Wirral in Cheshire who was taught to fly in the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. He served as a nineteen-year-old pilot in combat, first on the Western Front and then in Italy before spending several months in England and later returning to action in France for the last few months of the war. After the Armistice he and his Squadron formed part of the Army of Occupation in Cologne.

Trevor, like many of his generation, was a prolific letter writer and many of his letters home survive, having been preserved, lovingly tied up in a length of faded pink ribbon, by his twin sister. For the benefit of later generations of the family this pile of letters, photographs and other documentation was transcribed and assembled into a privately published document entitled "With Fondest Love., Trev.", the writer's frequent closing line. It provides a glimpse of social life on the Wirral where Trevor lived and of the impact of war on individuals, families and society as a whole; and it illustrates many aspects of life as an R.F.C. cadet, as a rookie pilot seeing action for the first time and finally as an R.A.F. veteran of many missions and experiences, all gained before the age of twenty-one.

An almost full version of "With Fondest Love, Trev.", including all of Trevor's words and fully illustrated (but excluding most of the extensive appendices of the original version) can be read elsewhere in this website, here: With Fondest Love, Trev.



Trevor grew up in a middle-class family in New Brighton on the Wirral; his father worked for a Liverpool shipping line and there were three children: Trevor, his twin sister Marjorie (a.k.a. Mickie or Mick) and an elder sister, Norah (a.k.a. Fattie and standing at the rear of this family group on 23rd May 1908 - the twins' tenth birthday).

After leaving Wallasey Grammar School at the age of fifteen, Trevor followed the example of his father by joining a similar shipping Company with offices in the Royal Liver Building across the Mersey. In 1917, at the age of eighteen, he achieved his ambition of being accepted for pilot training.

After training at various establishments in England and Scotland and gaining his wings, Trevor was posted to France to join 34 Squadron, R.F.C., later transferring with them to the Veneto area in Northern Italy in reinforcement of the Italian defence effort following serious reverses at the hands of the Germans and Austrians. There he flew long patrolling and reconnaissance missions, sometimes acting as an artillery spotter in support of the Royal Artillery gunners operating thousands of feet below.  It was gruelling and dangerous work. In order possibly to spare his family, Trevor only rarely gave information about what he was doing and the dangers involved. One letter was an exception to this normal rule.

B. E. F. Italy

Tuesday 10th December 1917

My dear Mick,

I have just had my tea and I'm going to to write you a few lines but have not much news.

This afternoon I was patrolling the lines for two hours and now after a nice tea I'm feeling like a rest but will wait for dinner at 7.30 and then a nice sleep. By gum, Mick, the Hun anti-aircraft here is "hot". The best part of my time during the "line patrol" was spent dodging his shells. He sends simply tons of dirt (as we call it) about us. I can tell you it is enough to "put the wind up the troops" when you see four shells bursting around you. You see, their object is to make a circle round your machine with bursts of shrapnel etc so that you will fly into one of the bursts.

Well Mick, Christmas will soon be here and I trust if we are still in Italy I will be receiving your letters. We have not had a mail from Blighty for nearly a week and I'm fed up with no letters etc.......

Another hint at Trevor's state of mind comes in a letter to Mickie a couple of days later:

I might tell you Mickie, quietly, that although I have not been out quite three months I have seen and experienced all the warfare I want to.
Something went wrong for Trevor during his time in Italy and led to his premature return to England. Within the family there was always the legend that he had had a serious crash there which had involved the death of his observer, who was dear to him. But his letters and the official record tell us little; and nothing has so far emerged adequately to explain the change in his circumstances which is revealed by the following letter from Italy. This is about as close as we can get to some sort of explanation:

     34th Squadron
     B. E. F. , Italy

     Saturday 29th December 1917

My dear Dad,

Have just had some delightful news that means I will be returning to Blighty next month possibly shortly after you receive this letter.

My flight commander told me that I am more fitted for a Scout pilot
(i.e. a fighter pilot) and that they have decided for me to go home to fly Scouts with the possibility of first instructing new pilots. If all goes well I will be home in about a fortnight before starting my new work and almost certain to get a little leave.

As a matter of fact I'm not keen on flying Scouts but I am lying low on that point at present and when once I get home I will see if I can't "wangle" an instructor's job.

The weather has been very dud the last two days and I have not been up. We have had a fall of snow (six inches deep) and it looks as if we will have more before long. It is very cold flying.....

He continues writing from Italy, up to 11th January 1918, and is still flying. A telegram dated 30th January 1918 announces to family his safe arrival at the R.F.C airfield at Lake Down, near Salisbury, which is followed by several days of home leave.  The records reveal that on February 20th he has been declared unfit for any service for the next two months.

(Meanwhile, in Italy, 34 Squadron continues with its arduous duties and, on the Western Front, the Germans have gained air superiority over the Somme. Their strength there stands at some 730 aircraft in March with 579 R.F.C. machines in opposition).

After several letters from Lake Down in the first three weeks of February, Trevor writes home on Sunday 3rd March 1918 from a new address. His stay at Nannau has begun.


Trevor announces his arrival in Wales.

North Wales

Sunday 3rd March 1918.

My dear Mother,

You will have been waiting some time to hear from me but I was too late to catch the post here on Saturday when I arrived and there was no post today.

I travelled down as far as Llangollen with a New Brighton gent, one Mr Lodge by name of Grove Road and I arrived at Llangollen prompt at 5.10 to meet one perfectly good RAMC captain at the station. There were four other officers besides myself and we were conveyed by motor car to the hospital which is situated three miles from the small village of Dolgelley, right up in the hills. The hospital is a beautiful large house not unlike the Cenacle but larger and beautifully furnished and has only been used as a hospital about three weeks. As far as I can see it is absolutely money for jam. We have breakfast at 9.0, lunch at 1.0, tea at 5.0 and dinner at 7.45. We have the whole day to ourselves but have to be in to all meals.

I am in a ward with three other officers - the two captains and a “second loot” – there are also two vacant beds in the ward. I went to bed at 9.30 last night as I was rather tired and at 10.15 the sister brought me a glass of hot milk with something in - one of the officers said he thought it was Sanatogen but whatever it was it was very nice. At 8.0 this morning I was awakened with a cup of tea brought by a very nice nurse, after which I got up, washed and was down for breakfast at 9.0. At 11.0 a.m. I had a nice hot cup of chocolate.

Now for things in general. The hospital is owned by Mrs Vaughan the wife of a Brigadier General. She is a very nice lady and is about the hospital. The sisters and nurses are very nice but are all ancient - you understand me better perhaps if I say "stricken with years". The hospital is beautifully situated up in the hills and stands in its own grounds. It has accommodation for 50 officers but at present
there are only 36 of us. For recreation there are plenty of nice walks and about two miles away there is a stream and a small lake where there is trout fishing. There is also shooting and I think that I will get more shots at rabbits before long.

It is very quiet here and I am sure the rest will do me good. Unfortunately it is very cold here – there has been a downfall of snow but it is mostly cleared away now.

When you send my clean shirt would you please send me my house slippers for they all use them here. You will find them in my valise, they are in the top or the bottom of it.

Well mother dear will close now hoping to hear from you soon. Am already feeling better for my convalescence.

With fond love to all.


PS We have a billiard table here so I am alright.

Nannau Hall is listed as a neurological hospital for officers. Such hospitals are intended for cases needing special but not prolonged treatment.  It is an elegant 18th century house which at the time of Trevor’s stay is part of a large estate and has been for many centuries. It can trace its origins back to the 12th century and is thought to be the fifth house to be built there. Its owner is the Vaughan family whose links to the estate stretch back to its establishment in the 12th Century. Here is one approach to it;  beyond is the start of the long driveway down to Coed y Moch lodge and the road to Dolgellau.

(with acknowledgement to the original postcard publisher) 

With grateful acknowledgement to the nannau-wales website and to Paul Bradly.  Image © Paul Bradly 2023
The hospital has been created by Mrs. Louisa Vaughan, the wife of Major-General John Vaughan who
inherited the estate only the previous year.  Its life will be temporary but the need for it will remain until 1921, long after The Armistice, and then it will revert to a peaceful family home.

Here is Mrs. Vaughan (right) in nursing uniform, busying herself with domestic tasks.

Trevor's comment about the antiquity of the nursing staff is hardly gallant - but then, as a mere nineteen-year-old, perhaps everyone appears old in his eyes! In any case, he has been writing just four days before the arrival of at least one younger member of staff who is only a year older than he: Maria Nest Davies (b. 1897, below left )

With grateful acknowledgement to the nannau-wales website and to Paul Bradly.  Image © Paul Bradly 2023
who started her duties on the 7th March, a few days after Trevor's arrival, and will stay at Nannau for about a year. She and Trevor will surely know each other.

Maria will in due course marry Joseph Dunstan Bradly (1898-1964)  who himself is a patient at Nannau in 1920.  Joseph Dunstan Bradly is another R.F.C./R.A.F pilot who, after several crashes during his wartime flying, will suffer from the effects of a brain injury for the rest of his life.

 There may well be other younger members of staff: when Trevor arrives the hospital has only been running for a very short time and levels of both patients and staff are presumably still increasing.

Images of many more of these devoted women who cared for their patients at Nannau between 1918 and 1920 will happily survive and they can be seen online over a century later. (See the link at foot of this page to the Nannau website).   

Amongst them is Sister Nellie Edwards. 

This and the following four images appear here with grateful acknowledgement to the nannau-wales website and to Paul Bradly.  Images © Paul Bradly 2023
And Bettina M. Curtis and "Nellie": 

Capt. A. B. Howitt is the hospital Medical Officer and he may well be the "perfectly good RAMC Captain" who collected Trevor's group from Llangollen Station. on Saturday, March 2nd. Below, Capt. Howitt poses for a studio portrait and is seen chatting to a patient whilst, behind them, a nurse looks at them as she adjusts a window of one of the wards.

(Meanwhile.........ON THIS DAY, SUNDAY, MARCH 3rd 1918 when Trevor is writing home, the day after his arrival at Nannau, the Bolsheviks finally sign a peace treaty with Germany and Russia is out of the war. This releases 70 divisions for use on the Western Front before the U.S. Army appears there in force).  

 Postcard dated 6th March 1918 

Dear Dad,

Just a line to let you know I am already feeling the benefit of my rest. It was much warmer today here. I went a short walk this afternoon and the scenery was beautiful. I am very happy here and have plenty of billiards. Have not had a line from home yet! Have you purchased my War Bonds yet?

Trusting all are well, Trev.


7th March 1918

My dear Mother,

I was very pleased to receive your nice long letter this morning together with Auntie Lizzie's and am now awaiting the parcel containing my clean shirt.

Now I will answer some of your questions. Yes, I have seen the owner, Mrs Vaughan. She has all her meals with us and is very chatty. The dining room is a fair size room with seven tables in (small ones) and we sit round about six at a table for each meal. The meals of very nice but we do not get large helpfuls - possibly I am increasing my appetite. My fellow invalids are on the whole quite a nice lot - some of them really do look ill but I can safely say I look a "picture of health" to the majority - at least I have been told so.

The weather here has been warm and topping for strolls in the evening but during the daytime has been very windy.

I went down to the town of Dolgelley with several others the other afternoon (three miles all downhill) and we went to the Royal Ship Hotel - the only place to go to for tea. There was no rationing for us and we had tea, bread-and-butter (plenty) and jam also some fresh caught salmon and then an egg for 2/6 (12.5p) - absolutely money for jam.

Then we had a car (hired) back to our ho- (I nearly said Hydro – Ha! Ha!). I am going down to Dolgelley again this afternoon.

Do you mean that I had better “sport” a new pair of house slippers?

Will close now hoping to hear dad is much better in health.

With fondest love to all.



8th March, 1918



My dear Norah,

Was very pleased to receive your letter this morning. When is mother sending my clean shirt? Possibly she has sent it but I have not yet received it.

Now with regard it to the Barmouth “touch”. I think if we are going to have nice weather and it does look promising it will be fine for you all to come to Barmouth but I have put in for a transfer to a hospital at Maghull, 25 minutes run in the train from Liverpool and I think there is a good chance of my getting it. In that case it will be better for you to stay at home as I will get home for Easter in the day time and we could all have a good time together. Write me by return and let me know what you think! I will know early next week if I am to be transferred.

Thanks for the message from Violet. I have already written to her saying I was sorry not to have seen her before I returned.

I am hoping Father is now much better.

No, the house I went to and frightened the maids was near Catterick, not at Grantham where Jimmy is.

I will be thinking of you in the Adelphi tomorrow afternoon. "O-O-Over there, Oh! Oh! Oh! Over there".

Goodbye now dearie. With fond love to all,


American cultural influences are making themselves felt:

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word
Over there
That the Yanks are coming,

The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a pray'r,
Send the word, send the word
To beware.

We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over
Over there.

Monday 11th March, 1918

My dear Mother,

Many thanks for your letter and parcel received. As you say my slippers will last me quite a long time yet. I am glad to hear that dad is now feeling better.

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) and the week before I have acted as sidesman at a little country church about a mile from here and yesterday the parson asked me to his home for tea. It was very nice.

Yesterday morning I went with another “sub” to the lake about one-and-a-half miles from here and we got a small punt out of the boathouse and had a fine row all morning and returned to lunch feeling A1.

I am still waiting to hear if my transfer to Maghull has come through. I am very much hoping it will.

The weather has changed here and it looks as if we are going to have a lot of rain.

Will finish now but will write more next time.

Fondest love to all,


No image survives of Trevor's trip to Lyn Cynwch that Sunday but another photograph does, of two other patients enjoying the experience on a similar winter or spring day - Lts. Scott and Roach.

With grateful acknowledgement to the nannau-wales website and to Paul Bradly.  Image © Paul Bradly 2023

Postcard dated 13th March 1918

My dear Mick,

Many thanks for your letter. I am feeling fine but have no news of my transfer.
Please excuse this postcard as it is a glorious afternoon like summer and I am going a long walk.

Hoping all are well.

Fond love. Trev.

Saturday 16th March, 1918

My dear Mother,

I was expecting a letter from you yesterday but it did not come until this morning.

I am feeling a little better now. Yesterday afternoon I went rowing on the lake. A friend took a snap of me and the punt and I think it will turn out all right, judging from the negative. (Image lost)

How fine Jack being home for, let us hope, a long time. I will drop him a line.

There are several officers here who came from Maghull to start this hospital and they tell me I would get home very often from there so would have a nice happy time and yet would keep regular hours (sleep). However I have not heard yet and is quite probable I will remain here at any rate for a time.

Poor “Fatty” will be very sorry about Eric (Eric Westrup) not coming home - convey to her my heartfelt sympathy – bow-wow.

Now mother what do you think about coming to Barmouth. I have not been there yet but except for the pretty scenery I am told there is nothing. It is very quiet and no visitors. Then it is 40 minutes train journey from here and not many trains - a single line. If you have decided you would like to come let me know how many rooms to get and I will go and book them at a nice place at Barmouth. I don’t think you would care to stop at the Royal Ship Hotel, Dolgelley as the village is not nice but the country round about I am sure you would like and then it would be much handier for me to come down and meet you.

“Nannau” stands right up in the hills (800 ft above sea level) and the village is in the valley two and-a-half miles away.

I will be going to Church tomorrow afternoon. I am going boating again this afternoon.

What you think of the enclosed photos of “Nannau” and the entrance?

Hoping dad is well, I will close.

With fond love,


PS   Do not forget to let me know what you have decided about Easter!

Trevor, extreme left; possibly Mrs. Vaughan next to him

Trevor at the wheel with an older officer standing on the running board, an affectionate arm around Trevor's shoulder; Lt. Butterworth in the passenger seat next to Trevor

Wednesday 20th March, 1918

My dear Mother,

Was so pleased to receive your letter this morning. I do hope you and dad are feeling better now. No, it is not “nerves” that I am suffering from but a really bad cold in my throat and body. I will get into a hot bed and get a dose of quinine from the sister tonight and try and get rid of it. I was feeling fine and as I told you before looked the healthiest in the hospital until I got this wretched cold but I hope to get rid of it soon.

Has dad decided where he is going to? If he is near London I will be able to see him.

I expect to get my orders for London one day next week and would try to go via Liverpool so as to call home on my way if only for an hour or two.

When next you see Mrs McKinlay will you ask her for Norman's address? I think he has left Hastings. Fancy when I last saw Norm. he was in civvies and it was 14 months ago.

I am afraid the enclosed snaps have not printed clearly but I am sending them for you to see. (Images lost)

It has been very misty yesterday and today so I would not have gone out had I felt well. So will close.

With fondest love,

The Lion Hotel,

Thursday 21st March, 1918

My dear Dad,

I hope these few lines will find you feeling much better. I have just got over a bad cold and came to Barmouth for the first time this morning, with a friend. It is a beautiful day. We have just had a very nice dinner - no rations - and are now going a perfectly good walk along the front complete with blue bands.

I hear you are going away this weekend for rest and hope you will come home feeling much stronger and better.

When I get to London will you try and arrange a weekend with me as I will have the whole day to myself?

Thank Norah for her letter which came this morning!

Will close now as my friend is waiting to go for a walk. Let me know where you are going for rest.

With fond love,


The blue bands mentioned are blue armbands worn to denote invalid or convalescent servicemen.

(Meanwhile.........ON THIS DAY, March 21st 1918, far away from the peace and quiet of mid-Wales, the Germans launch their offensive on the Western Front, an attempt at a knock-out blow.  By nightfall seventeen RFC squadrons are forced to evacuate airfields in danger of being overrun by oncoming enemy forces. The Germans attack at the junction of the French and British forces in north-eastern France and hope to advance along a 50 mile front from Arras to St. Quentin and La Fere. The British Fifth Army collapses in confusion but the Third withdraws across the Somme in good order. By March 27th the Germans have advanced 40 miles and are threatening Amiens. Exhaustion, increasing British and French reinforcements and constant low-level attacks by RFC and RNAS squadrons finally halt the attack 10 miles to the east of Amiens at the village of Villers-Bretonneux. On April 5th the Germans call a halt, realising that a decisive victory along the Somme is not going to be achieved. The losses to the British and French are some 240,000 and the German losses are similar.






On April 1st 1918 the Royal Air Force is created, the world’s first dedicated air force, and Trevor, like thousands of other men, is no longer a member of the Royal Flying Corps

Some time around this date, Trevor leaves Nannau, saying farewell to new friends and the staff who have cared for him over the previous weeks. Amongst those he leaves behind is Lt. Butterworth who appears in the above pictures. This officer must have given Trevor a photograph of himself, taken at an earlier period of his military service, to remember him by (right). And Trevor did remember him: the photo survives in Trevor's album with the caption:
"Butterworth - a pal at Nannau".

The century following Trevor's short stay - or perhaps, more accurately, the final third of that period when it ceased to be a family home - has not been kind to Nannau Hall. It has seen the demolition of wings and other buildings, significant changes within, other vain attempts to make this huge property suitable for modern purposes, the total disappearance of manicured gardens and grounds and, most recently, apparent abandonment.

What remains is a once noble house, still in its original setting overlooking beautiful countryside and probably as peaceful as it has ever been - but now crumbling, eerie and redolent of ghosts. Ghosts of a family who opened their doors to a succession of damaged men, and of those who tended them.  And ghosts of the men themselves, some of whom were sufficiently cured, at least temporarily, to be able to return to battle. 

Amongst these men was, of course, Lt. E. Trevor Evans, R.F.C., a nineteen-year-old veteran from New Brighton on the Wirral.

More than a century later, in July 2023, let us stand in front of the house and take a walk in Trevor's footsteps.............
On 7th March 1918, Trevor tells us that he's going down into Dolgellau that afternoon. It's a Thursday. In the days since his arrival on the previous Saturday he has already undertaken this walk once before, for tea at the Royal Ship Hotel. At least physically he seems to be fit.
Trevor and his pals will almost certainly take the most direct route, the private drive which snakes downwards from the front of the house to the south. If they emerge from the front door, they will look out over well-kept lawns, almost ready for their first cut of spring, and, beyond, pasture, woodland and distant hills.
As they come out through the front door, they will turn right, crunching over the drive of gravel or crushed stone, past the front of the house and then the south wing pavilion which is set back to their right beyond a strip of further lawn.

The drive stretches away in front of them from the corner of the house and disappears down to the left into woodland. As Trevor looks at the landscape through which he is about to walk, it will still look wintry, the trees bare apart from the mighty evergreens flanking the house and only the grass showing the first signs of approaching spring. At this elevation it will be slower to arrive than further down, in the valley.
And as he sets off he can glance back at the house and this is the view of it he will also get on his return as he and his friends plod back up the hill - or ride in comfort in a motor car hired from the village. The driveway is probably tree-lined as he sees it; it is certainly broad enough for carriage and horses or the new-fangled motor car and it is bordered by well-kept grass on each side: it is an approach appropriate to a noble house.
Onward, down the hill, into woodland, the trees still bare.  It's a long way before our small group will leave the immediate grounds of the estate, the best part of a mile. The hustle and bustle of the busy house is soon left far behind as they walk on; little is to be heard apart from the rustling of bare branches as the breeze moves them and the sound their own voices as they discuss the prospect of tea at the Royal Ship and perhaps the arrival of new patients and nursing staff back at the house.
Eventually the south lodge of Coed y Moch appears out of the trees.  They pass under the arch towards the road........
.....and look back whence they have come.....
..... and, crossing over the rough road, look out over yet more Vaughan family land, beyond an iron gate bearing the "V" initial.
Coed y Moch Lodge now stands behind them. They give it a quick glance.....
..... and then stroll off down the hill to their right towards Dolgellau, to the Royal Ship Hotel and to an afternoon tea fit for a King - or for guests of the Vaughans.

Later, they'll return, perhaps on foot or, much more likely, by car again, for it's quite a long haul up from the town on foot, even for young men. If they have indeed invested again in a hired car they will probably re-enter the grounds through the archway; but their driver may decide to carry on up the road, up "the hill at Nannau"........
(with acknowledgement to "The Field" magazine 1915 and the Nannau Facebook page)
....... and approach the house by a different route. 

The modern world has long since penetrated the precints of Plas Nannau. Not only has the internal combustion engine arrived but perhaps electricity with it - although Trevor makes no mention of that new convenience. As we leave him and his companions to re-enter the house with its warmth and care and companionship, after their long walk and an unrationed high tea down in the town, we'll take a final glimpse of the house and some of its occupants: a moment when the evidence of this now rapidly changing world - and a hint of the house's future - are apparent.

The next views are of a moment perhaps a week or two later. A group of young - or youngish - men are fooling around - outside the front door. We have seen them once already. Trevor is on the extreme left, watching the goings-on. It is probably Mrs. Vaughan in the foreground, moving from left to right. One of the group is taking the picture.  But in the background, the house we see is of course the 21st century house, not the well-cared one of March 1918 in front of which Trevor stands, hands in pockets as he looks out over immaculate lawns.

Perhaps Nannau has always had its ghosts.
All the group pile into the car.  Trevor is at the wheel.  There is the affectionate arm of an older officer round his shoulder. It's probably that of Captain Howitt, and, again, it it is likely to have been he who was "the perfectly good  RAMC captain" collecting Trevor and his three companions from Llangollen railway station three weeks earlier. It may well have been in this car - perhaps it is the Hospital vehicle. Lt. Butterworth is in the passenger seat; the other four officers are unidentified.

You can almost hear the banter:
    "SURE you can drive, Evans?"
    "'Course he can't! He's only good for one of those infernal flying machines".
    "Oh, DO shut up, Butterworth!"
And a female voice:    
    "Now keep still, gentlemen, and look at the camera......"
It will not be long before Trevor leaves Nannau after his short spell there. His letters home will tell us that he has been happy in those few weeks and, presumably, relaxed - which seems to have been the aim of much of the treatment. 

In the future, will he look back and think much about Nannau? Possibly, when he undergoes other spells in hospital later. But as he departs, will he give the slightest thought to what the future might hold in store for the house, for the family which owns it and for those who work there, either permanently as employees or temporarily as hospital staff?  Almost certainly not. And, after all, what nineteen-year-old would ever do that, especially in these extraordinary times when there is still the War to be won and he knows that it remains his duty to go back and help, just as soon as he is fit enough.


Following his letter from Barmouth, Trevor's movements are unclear. Perhaps a letter or two, or even a telegram, have been lost. But we can be certain that in the last few days of March or at the latest by the first week of April 1918, Trevor has achieved his ambition of a transfer from Nannau to another hospital, Quarry Brook at Maghull near Liverpool, close to his family home. He has left Nannau behind and, with it, a number of fellow officers including Lt. Butterworth.

On 20th April 1918 he is declared unfit for duty for 8 weeks to be followed by a further four of Light Duties. He has been with his family before he sends this, his only surviving letter from Maghull. 

Quarry Brooke,


My dear Mother,

I hope you have quite got rid of your cough now. You will be glad to know I will be home for the weekend, it is a pity the weather has changed more especially as it will not help our army in France in pushing the Bosche back. I see the Huns are only 14 miles from Amiens. I had several good “feeds” there last year but then the Huns were a long way off.

I have just written a letter to dad. By the post this morning I received a letter from Jack and Harry forwarded on from “Nannau”. I am glad I am not there with weather like this.

This afternoon I hope to meet Norah and Mick in town and tomorrow I think I will stay here and will come over to New Brighton on Saturday afternoon. Will my washing be ready for me then?

It is very nice here but my bed is not near so comfortable as my last.

Goodbye-e for the time mother dear and a happy Easter.

Fondest love,

















All further communications between Trevor and his family will, happily, be face-to-face during his stay at Maghull; and we can know nothing of them. On May 23rd 1918 Trevor celebrates his twentieth birthday.
On APRIL 9th 1918 the Germans open their second attack on the Western Front, this time against the British First and Second Armies and in the direction of the Channel ports. They advance from
Neuve Chappelle on a 12 mile front and progress five miles whilst in a parallel attack a 30 mile breach is made in the British line near Messines. The British resistance is desperate. The German drive is halted near the Lys river and by the end of April their attempt to reach the ports will be seen to have failed. Each side will have lost some 100,000 men, killed or injured.

APRIL 21st: Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the leading German air ace, is shot down and killed. He is buried with full military honours by the British. His command is taken over by another German ace, Hermann Goering.

MAY 19/20th: Germany mounts its largest (and last) aircraft raid on Britain, killing 49 and injuring 177 people).

Trevor's story after his two month stay at Maghull takes us back to the aerodrome at Lake Down, near Salisbury, and his continuing recuperation and return to the cockpit. From August 1918 he serves with 206 Squadron on the Western Front, flying, like all his comrades, at an intensity which the RAF will not repeat until the Battle of France and then the Battle of Britain in 1940, just twenty-two years later. In December 1918, after The Armistice he and his squadron become part of the Army of Occupation in Cologne and Bickendorf. Demobilisation comes in April/May 1919 and he returns to civilian life.

Trevor's later life in the post-war world will be sad indeed, for himself and close family, and perhaps beyond our imagining. After surviving the war and all its risks - unlike so many others - he will work in Liverpool for several years but late in the 1920s will suffer a breakdown of his mental health. Thereafter he will be cared for in a nursing home far from his home and family, up to his death in 1941 at the age of 43. A tragic end to the life of the young man we have seen here, who, despite everything, was full of the joys of life and mature beyond his years and who, against the odds, had a whole lifetime to look forward to. He died a victim and a hero of the Great War, just as much as if he had failed to return, one misty dawn in Flanders, from some extended patrol over enemy lines.

This page has been created in memory of Trevor and of those who lovingly cared for him at Nannau for a few weeks in the spring of 1918.


We can read and see much of Trevor's life, both before and after his few weeks at Nannau, in another section of this website: "With Fondest Love, Trev.", an edited transcription of his letters home between 1917 and 1919. That also includes useful sources of information about the RFC and RAF at that time.

The nannau.wales website provides much information and many fascinating images relating to Plas Nannau Hall throughout its history - not least its brief role as a hospital during and immediately after the Great War.

"Nannau, A Rich Tapestry of Welsh History"
 by Philip Nanney Williams
 Hardback – 190 x 245 mm - 408 pages, 438 photographs and graphics - Published by Llwyn Estates Publications, 2016 - ISBN-10: 0995533709 / ISBN-13: 978-0995533707

"Moel Offrwm"
- The Unofficial Journal of Nannau Auxiliary Hospital, Dolgelley, North Wales, printed by E.W. Evans, Dolgelley, 1919
(Existence known about but regrettably not so far seen by staffshomeguard)



Grateful acknowledgement is made to:

 Hilary Palmer and the late Ailsa Price, the nieces of Trevor Evans (both of them the daughters of Norah Evans, Trevor's elder sister, and her husband Eric Westrup) for making available the information about Trevor's life and permitting its publication in this website; and similarly to their respective families.

 The nannau.wales website
(mentioned above) as the source of much invaluable information about Nannau which has surfaced since the 2004 publication of "With Fondest Love, Trev."

The associated Nannau Facebook page.

Paul Bradly, grandson of Maria Nest Davies, for his generous permission for the publication here of some of the images from his Nannau Hospital albums (which are accessible via the nannau.wales website)

Various sources of information and images in the public domain and the origins of that material.


Copyright information for this page is as follows:
This presentation ©staffshomeguard 2023
Nannau Hospital images, © Paul Bradly 2023
Trevor images © The Palmer and Price Families 2023
Modern Nannau images © staffshomeguard 2023

Trevor and J. Stephen Blanford, D.F.C..pan>

This website also contains the story of another member of 206 Squadron, 2/Lt. Wilbur Arnold John, an observer lost in July 1918 and one of the aircrew whom, after his recovery, Trevor Evans joined 206 Squadron to replace:  THE STORY OF WILBUR ARNOLD JOHN

These Great War pages are hosted by the Staffordshire Home Guard website - www.staffshomeguard.co.uk - a website devoted to the memory of Britain's WW2 Home Guards. To see the full contents of the website, please go to the Contents and Index Page.

L5A November 2023 © staffshomeguard 2009-2023
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