Sam Browne belt : Lieutenant Colonel C H D Evans, New Zealand Cyclist Battalion

Accession Number REL29635.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Brass, Leather
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Brown leather Sam Browne belt with shoulder strap and ammunition pouch. The belt is fitted with a double clawed brass buckle, and has a brass stud and a sliding leather loop to secure the free end of the belt tongue. A pair of brass rings are attached to the top edge of the belt, one at the left front, the other at the left rear, for location of the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap, which passes from the left hand front (over the right shoulder) to the left hand rear loops, is attached at front and rear by a brass stud and eyelet, and adjusted by a brass buckle. A further pair of squared 'D' rings and a brass flat hook are located on the lower edge of the belt, at the left hand hip, for attachment of a sword frog. Written on the back of the ammunition pouch is 'MAJOR C H EVANS 2ND ANZAC CYCLIST BN'.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of 10711 Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hellier Davis Evans, born in Gisborne, New Zealand on 28 May 1873. Evans enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) on 13 December 1915. He was serving as a major in command of 'A' Squadron, 13 Mounted Rifles when he accepted command of the newly formed 1 New Zealand Cyclist Company in March 1916. Evans and the Cyclist Company embarked from Wellington aboard SS Mokoia on 6 May, arriving in Suez, Egypt on 22 June and then making their way to the Western Front. On 22 July 1 New Zealand Cyclist Company joined with 2 Australian Division Cyclist Company to form 2 ANZAC Cyclist Battalion. The battalion was commanded by Evans and comprised a headquarters, two New Zealand companies and an Australian company. In the following months the battalion moved towards the front and members were deployed for duty as front-line troops as well as undertaking cable burying, traffic control and reconnaissance work. During the battle of Messines in early June 1917, 2 ANZAC Cyclist Battalion was tasked with preparing a track from the reserve line, through the support and front lines, across no man’s land and through German trenches to enable the passage of mounted troops. Evans was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his gallant actions in this work during the battle between 5 and 9 June. In late September Evans was placed in charge of cable laying operations in preparation for the Passchendaele advance. In November the battalion continued laying cables around the newly captured territory east of Ypres. On 1 January 1918, 2 ANZAC Cyclist Battalion became part of XXII Corps and was renamed XXII Corps Cyclist Battalion. The battalion was now a wholly New Zealand unit, with the former Australian company being replaced by a newly raised New Zealand company. To reflect this, the unit's name was again changed in September to New Zealand Cyclist Battalion. In mid April Evans was gassed when the battalion came under intense enemy shelling while stationed at Kemmel as part of the second phase of the German Spring Offensive. Several days later Evans was inspecting the defensive line at Veirstraat with Adjutant Captain C A Dickeson, MC, when a shell burst between them, killing Dickeson instantly. Evans escaped unhurt but was severely shaken and admitted to hospital, rejoining his unit on 17 May. On 23 July Evans directed the battalion’s operations in the capture of the French village of Marfaux for which he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur Croix de Chevalier. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 31 October. In July 1919 Evans was present at the town of Epernay, France for the presentation of a fanion (flag) to the cyclist battalion in recognition of the battalion’s efforts in July and August 1918 which saved Epernay and adjoining towns from destruction by the enemy. Evans returned to New Zealand on 25 October 1919 and was discharged from the NZEF and absorbed into the Reserve of Officers (Temporary) on 22 November.