Michael (Taff) Evans by Don Flounders
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It is with a very real regret that I advise of the death of RMBX2239 former B/Cpl. Michael A. Evans (Taff).
He died peacefully in his sleep on the 14th April, but only after a lifetime of suffering from the crippling disease of Poliomyelitis he had contracted in 1958.

'Taff' (which, with the surname of Evans he was unable to escape being known) joined the band service in 1946, (then on the Isle of Man.) Taff's instruments were cornet and violin and on becoming a Musician in 1949 his first draft was to the Mediterranean and submarine depot ship 'Forth', (where I first met and became friends with him). When that band was withdrawn he transferred briefly to the cruiser 'Gambia' and then the entire band went to the light-fleet carrier 'Ocean' which was earmarked for U N duties in the Korean War. During that time the band - with the RMB's never-ending versatility - became aircraft armourers, only reverting to instrumentalists when entering and leaving harbour. When 'Ocean' returned to the UK he was drafted to HMS Excellent, on Whale Island, until there also, the band was withdrawn.

At this point in his career 1956, the Band Service was in a state of flux and still shrinking drastically so that when the opportunity of his becoming an Air Steward with the then BOAC arose he purchased his discharge and for the next two years very much enjoyed seeing more of the world, from a different elevated perspective, via a fleet of Britannia (turbo-prop) aircraft on South African, Australian and Far-Eastern routes.

This life came to a sudden end in December 1958 when on a stopover in Singapore he contracted polio whilst swimming. Initially feeling only flu-like symptoms he soldiered on but by the time the flight reached Beirut he collapsed with almost total paralysis and was hospitalised there for many months until he was able to be flown home. During this period of strife and turmoil his first marriage collapsed and for many years he was a patient in various homes until he had the extreme good fortune to meet Pauline, an Irish nurse specially trained to care for his type of disability. Eventually she became his new wife and they lived for many years in a disability purpose-built apartment in what were built as the 'Cheshire Homes' in London. There, despite many health problems, not least of them difficulty in breathing they were extremely happy together. Then in a totally unexpected and additional crushingly tragic blow, Pauline, still only 59 years old, died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage, leaving Taff alone and bereft. Being unable to cope for himself he could no longer remain in his familiar surroundings so his children, Janice and John, arranged for him to be moved to a suitable home near them in Lincoln and without doubt it was their care and consideration that gave Taff a further two years of life. However, the earlier loss of Pauline continued to cause him much anguish.

Self-evidently, Michael Evans was a man of great fortitude and determination and the warmest of friends. Despite his tremendous handicap, these characteristics enabled him over the years to live a reasonably happy life.

Many of his RMB contemporaries and old shipmates kept in regular touch. Those in Britain and nearby by personal visits and others from overseas, by telephone and correspondence - the latter despite his great physical difficulties using his faithful old electric typewriter. I tried hard to encourage him to try a computer and thus the enormous facilities of e-mail, feeling that it would widen his necessarily restricted horizons, but failed to persuade him.

I know that his many friends and old shipmates will join me in sending his family our sympathy and condolences. He will be very much missed.

Don Flounders
Ex RMB 2175

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