Nepean, Evan Cecil

He was the only child of Evan Alcock Nepean, a barrister and well-known Oxford and Middlesex cricketer, and Evelyn Nepean, from St Alban’s. He came to Winchester from Mr Buckland’s school at Laleham. He played cricket for the school, but although technically an excellent player, he was slow to grow and did not have the strength required to join Lords, although in his last year he played well for the second XI. On leaving Winchester he joined the Allied Assurance Company.

On the outbreak of war he enlisted with the London Scottish and in April 1915 obtained his commission in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was later attached to 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and saw service with them at the Second Battle of Ypres and Loos, before moving to Egypt and Salonika. They returned to the Western Front in July 1918 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Hills Nicholson (D 1893-1898, killed in action with Lt. Nepean) (see individual entry). He fell in action at Le Catelet on 4th October 1918.

3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers had marched through the night of 3rd/4th October and by dawn were between Le Catelet and Vendhuile, where their objective was the German stronghold at Richmond Copse. They succeeded in taking this, with some 300 prisoners, mainly machine gunners, but found themselves increasingly isolated from other British troops and were forced to retire almost to their starting point. The action had been very costly in terms of men lost, nine officers had been killed, including Lt. Col. E H Nicholson and Nepean.

The Wykehamist of December 1918 records that “he had won the greatest respect and affection from brother officers and men by his unfailing good humour, his courage, and his devotion to duty.” Fellow officers wrote of him in glowing terms: “He was one of the bravest gentlemen that ever wore the King’s uniform, and his death has been felt more than anybody’s. He was a grand character, brave, loyal and courteous, always thinking of his men’s comfort. His loss is very great; he was so popular, and such a good soldier. He has always done well – his best. He was cheerful in all circumstances, and gallant in danger beyond anything. We have lost one of our best, one of the type we most wanted to be spared.”  The Chaplain added that “Though he probably did not know it, he was a great help to me spiritually”.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Nepean
  • Forenames or initials: Evan Cecil
  • House: F
  • Years in School: 1907-1911
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
  • Date of Birth: 31st July 1893
  • Date of Death: 4th October 1918
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E2
  • Decoration: NA