Mark was a charismatic, caring, brave and talented individual who loved challenge and opportunities to develop himself personally. He took pride in thinking of others, encouraging them, and teamwork. Many individuals and organisations helped him achieve great things in his short life.
Mark led a charmed life in many ways, because of how he was. His early hallmarks were his cheerfulness even under difficult circumstances, his curiosity and his energy. Mark was keen to try to turn his hand to many things, and his determination would usually lead to achievement. He was devoted to his family and had a wide circle of friends from all walks of life. He loved music, playing cello and piano, and from Dulwich College won a music scholarship at age 16 to Charterhouse School, Surrey.
Mark was a natural sportsman. At age 17 he ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 14 minutes, raising money for a charity supporting young people in a deprived area of South London. He spent 11 months as a jackaroo on a 300,000 acre sheep station in the Australian outback, endearing himself to the outback lads. In 2004 he completed the Three Peaks’ Challenge in 22 hours. In March 2006 he trained for 2 weeks in Norway doing glacier training, living in sub-zero conditions, and building an igloo; this was in preparation for his goal to be the youngest person to walk unaided to the South Pole. He was unable to realise his goal due to insufficient financial support. He trekked for 18 days across Northern Spain in 2006 to raise money for ‘For Dementia’. During his Army Officer training, at Sandhurst in 2007, he organised an adventurous training expedition to the Jebel Akdhar Mountains of Oman.
Mark was commissioned by the Welsh Guards in December 2007. He loved the army and its comradeship, care, adventure, respect and courtesy. He had an outstanding start to his career in the army. An early army report described him as:
“An exceptionally impressive young officer. He is bright, positive, fit, robust and charismatic…Importantly he is set apart from his contemporaries because he combines real talent with great humility and charm. He also maintains many interests outside the army and is a talented musician…His soldiers have nicknamed him ‘007’ which, whilst humorous, does indicate their respect for his ability. He cares very deeply for his men and takes great trouble to ensure than they never want for anything”.
Lt Mark Evison was leading a patrol as the platoon commander in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when they came under fire. He managed to extract half of his men from a difficult situation, and whilst trying to gain a better view of the ground he was shot in the shoulder. In spite of his serious wound he remained conscious and continued to issue orders to his men – the entire patrol returned successfully to their base. He died shortly after being flown back to England on 12th May 2009: he was 26.
Mark lit up many lives in his 26 years. Everyone who knew him warmed to him. As he continued to develop he gained in confidence and maturity, and became a leader whom others wanted to follow. The qualities Mark embraced in his short life made him a first class officer, and in the same way, we believe will bring out the best in others.