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War in a hero’s own words: Apsley soldier in TV films

Reginald Evans was the first decorated soldier in the Hertfordshire Regiment during the First World War

Reginald Evans was the first decorated soldier in the Hertfordshire Regiment during the First World War

The first Hertfordshire recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Medal is to be featured in a TV special about the First World War.

Less than a week after the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the cataclysmic conflict, a four-part series entitled Great War: The People’s Story will feature a former apprentice of Apsley-based Kent Brushes as one of its main characters.

Reginald Josiah Thomas Evans grew up in Staffordshire but moved to Hemel Hempstead at 17, where he trained with GB Kent and Sons before being one of the first to sign up for voluntary service in the High Street’s Town Hall in 1914.

During the four-year war, Reg was badly injured and contracted scarlet fever, but survived and endured some of the world’s first cosmetic surgery for his facial wounds.

His daughter Pamela Campbell has been compiling the hundreds of letters between Reg, his mother and his employer Kent – and the sentimental documents have formed the basis of the hour-long episodes.

His character will be played by famous face Daniel Mays, of blockbusters The Bank Job and Atonement, and nothing but Reg’s real handwritten words will feature in the show.

Pamela, who is also the author of one of three books accompanying the series, said: “The whole programme, and the books, give a totally different aspect to the conflict – it’s the human side of war.

“It’s not the blood, the gore, the mud, the flies, the rats – of course they’re there as he was in the trenches – but it’s his personal story, his background.”

Pamela’s book, Reg Evans DCM: A Hero’s War in His Own Words, will be available on iTunes after the programme’s premiere, on August 10 at 9pm.

 

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