Henry Francis Evans

Died 1781.

Evans was commissioned lieutenant on 27 September 1762, and in April 1767 was appointed an agent of transports, going out to New York and Philadelphia. He was promoted commander on 12 November 1777.

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Captain Evans lost his life in the action known to the French as ‘The Battle of Louisbourg’

On 29 April 1778 he was posted captain, and he flew the flag of Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker aboard the Royal Oak 74, which officer was second-in-command to Vice-Admiral John Byron in the fleet that left England for North America on 9 June. After exchanging with Captain Thomas Fitzherbert of the Raisonnable 64 when Byron’s squadron sailed south to the Leeward Islands in December, he flew the broad pennant of Commodore Sir George Collier in operations from May to August 1779, taking the privateer Hunter on 14 August 1779. He later served in the combined operations that resulted in the surrender of Charleston on 11 May 1780, and he left the Raisonnable shortly afterwards.

In December 1780 Evans commissioned the recently captured American frigate Boston as the Charleston 28. Commanding this vessel off Boston, he participated in the recapture on 7 July 1781 of the brig Atlanta, which had previously been taken by the Americans on 28 May. Concurrently the Charleston enjoyed a most prolific month, capturing the American privateers Flying Fish on 20 June 1781, Hero on 7 July, and Swift a day later.

On 21 July 1781 his command was in company with two brigs and two armed vessels in escort of a convoy bound for Cape Breton Island when it fell in with the French frigates Astrée 38 and Hermione 32, commanded by the famous Captains la Pérouse, and la Touche-Tréville. Evans ordered the men-of-war into a line between the enemy and the convoy with his frigate at the centre, but the disparity in force caused the Jack 14 to strike and the remaining British ships to flee, the Charleston, which had lost her main-topmast, amongst them. The Astrée was too damaged to follow. During the action Evans was one of eight men killed aboard the Charleston, with another nine men losing their lives in the other men-of-war.

He was buried with military honours at St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia where a monument to his memory was erected.