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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 136

A fine Second World War D.S.M. group of seven awarded to Petty Officer N. G. T. Evans, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his gallant services in the Second Support Group under legendary U-Boat-Hunter Captain F. J. Walker, C.B., D.S.O. and 3 Bars

Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (Temp. P.O. N. G. T. Evans, D/JX. 147534); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star, clasp, North Africa 1942-43; Pacific Star; War Medal 1939-45; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 2nd issue (JX. 14734 N. G. T. Evans, D.S.M., P.O., H.M.S. Drake), mounted as worn contact marks, very fine and better (7)

D.S.M. London Gazette 13 June 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘However long the day, he cheerfully maintained all communications with coolness and great skill.’

Norman George Thomas Evans was one of those recommended for a decoration in February 1944, following the Second Support Group’s extraordinary achievement of destroying six U-Boats in ten days - rightly summarised by Their Lordships as ‘a feat which is outstanding in the history of anti-submarine warfare’. It was remarkable, too, for the ensuing list of Honours & Awards, Walker collecting his fourth D.S.O. and one Petty Officer his fourth D.S.M. - and Evans’ own recommendation was endorsed by Walker.

He was serving in the sloop Woodpecker, under Commander Henry Pryse, R.N.R., at the time of the Second Support Group’s spate of U-Boat victories in early 1944, and would therefore have been present at the destruction of the U-762 in the North Atlantic on 8 February, and the U-424 just three days later, both confirmed “kills” being shared with her consort, Wild Goose, under Lieutenant-Commander D. E. G. Wemyss, D.S.C., R.N., while on 19 February, again in the North Atlantic, and this time in the company of Walker’s command the Starling, he was present at the destruction of the U-264 - all of the latter’s crew were picked up.

On the following day, Woodpecker met her own end when struck in the stern by an acoustic torpedo - ‘the after 50 feet of her quarterdeck had been blown in the air and folded back on top of X gun, so that the underside of the deck was now facing up to the sky; 40 feet of the stern had vanished and the gallant Woodpecker that had so lately rejoined us from her refit now looked like a sad tailless duck’ (The Fighting Captain, by Alan Burn, refers).

Taken in tow, she foundered on the 27th, but all of her skeleton crew were rescued before she went down.

Evans was awarded the D.S.M., which distinction he received at a Buckingham Palace investiture held on 31 October of the same year.

Whether he had been present at Woodpecker’s successful engagements back in 1943, when she was commanded by Lieutenant-Commander R. E. S. Hugonin, D.S.C., R.N., remains unknown, but if so he would have witnessed the demise of the U-449 off Cape Ortegal on 24 June, the U-462 and the U-504, also off Spain, on 30 July, and the U-226 east of Newfoundland on 6 November.

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