EVISON, Lieutenant Mark Laurence 1982-2009. Mark Evison of Court Lane, Dulwich, Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, Officer Commanding Platoon No 7 was on duty in Afghanistan in May. Whilst on patrol in Helmand Province, Mark was shot in the shoulder on May 9th and very seriously wounded. Some hours later he was taken to a field hospital by which time he had suffered substantial blood loss. He was eventually brought to the Military Hospital in Selly Oak, Birmingham where he died on May 12th with his mother Margaret, and his sister Elizabeth and other friends at his bedside.
Mark had, unusually, kept an extensive diary during his short time in Helmand; sometime later it was handed with his effects to his mother and eventually published in the Daily Telegraph on July 14th. His commanding officer, Lt Col. Thorneloe, who was shortly after also killed in Helmand , said at the time “Mark Evison was one of the finest young officers of his generation and a truly remarkable young man. He was a natural leader and his platoon would have followed him anywhere. Mark demonstrated great humility and an innate decency in his dealings with others.” His company commander, Maj. Henry Bettinson said simply “Evison embodied all the attributes of a fine soldier, and his life, tragically cut short, would have gone on to shape history”.
Mark was born in 1982 and attended DCPS and Dulwich College where his gift in music developed. It was at the College that he won a music scholarship in ‘cello and piano to Charterhouse School. Thereafter he studied Land Economy at Oxford Brookes University followed by the exacting demands of the course at the RMA Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Welsh Guards in December 2004.
Mark was exceedingly fit, at the age of seventeen he ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 14 minutes. Aged eighteen he managed an Australian sheep farm. In his attempt to become the youngest person to walk to the South Pole, he trained for two weeks in Norway doing glacier training and living in sub-zero conditions in an igloo he had built himself.
His funeral took place in the Guards Chapel, Birdcage Walk on May 27th. Members of his platoon and members of his family spoke of his kindness, charm and bravery: Mark had remained protective of his men for as long as he could; it was, they said, a heroic endeavour. The occasion was both a moving lament for his passing and a positive appreciation of his life, his courage and commitment to his country, his regiment and the men in his care.
Margaret Evison has established ‘The Mark Evison Foundation’ in Mark’s memory. It is designed to help young applicants (aged 16-20) to develop and mature.