William Davies Evans Ceremony 19th October 2019

On 19th October 2019, at Wolfscastle Village Green in Pembrokeshire, a ceremony was held to commemerate William Davies Evans with the unveiling of a plaque in recognition of his life.

William Davies Evans is credited with the invention of safety lights for ships at sea and the chess variation the Evans Gambit which bears his name.

The ceremony was attended by members of the Welsh Chess Union (Howard Williams, Iolo Jones and Peter Bevan). Also attending were descendants of William Davies Evans from Falmouth, Bristol and Folkestone, a group of sea Scouts (in recognition of William Davies Evans’s long career as a sea captain),  Reverand Geoffrey Eynon (as master of ceremonies), Reverand Richard Davies (who gave a talk in Penybont Chapel Vestry after the ceremony) and pupils of the local school who sang a hymn prior to the plaque unveiling.

Prior to the unveiling his descendents visited the local farm in Saint Dogwells where William Davies Evans was born in 1790.

After the unveiling, all attendees moved to Penybont Chapel Vestry where both Reverand Richard Davies and Howard Williams talked about the life of William Davies Evans, the community of Pembrokeshire in which he grew up and his contribution to safety at sea with his invention of tricolour safety lights for shipping. Both speakers were grateful to Tim Harding whose exhaustive research enabled the meeting to better appreciate how Evans’s carrer as a sea captain enabled him to travel exstensively from Ireland to Ostend and from Tilbury to Cape Verde and thus enabling him to play chess in many countries amonst the strongest players in the world at that time.

Finally, one of Evans’s descendents gave a talk about how his grave in Ostend Cemetery had been vandalised which resulted in a local chess club in Ostend raising funds to rededicate his grave. The club has since organised an academy commemerating William Davies Evans.

Everyone who attended the ceremony had a wonderful time and made new friends along the way. Refreshments were available for all attendees and the Welsh Chess Union woud like to place on record their deep appreciation for all the efforts made by the local commiunity in Wolfscastle but especially Reverand Geoffrey Eynon whose tireless work enabled such an event to take place and to be attended by William Davies Evans’s descendants.

The Welsh Chess Union is justifiably proud of the acheivements of William Davies Evans as he was the strongest player to ever have been born in Wales to date and his memory will never be forgotten.

The inscription on the gravestone reads “In the sacred memory of William Davies Evans formerly Commander in the Post Office and Peninsular and Oriental Services Superintendent of the Royal Mail Steam Company and inventor of tricoloured light for shipping. Also well known in the Chess World as the author of the Evans Gambit” (some words are unreadable)