A Dawn Like Thunder
Tornado Squadron EightA Dawn Like ThunderRobert J. MrazekWorld War II Navy PilotsBattle of Midway

Ensign William Robinson Evans, Jr.


KIA, Midway, June 4, 1942           
Awarded Navy Cross

“Bill” Evans was a graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His parents were Quakers. Friends at Wesleyan remember him as boyishly handsome, fun-loving, thoughtful and very idealistic, given to wearing his hair long and wearing Hawaiian shirts. He was a pure romantic and turned to flying after reading the book, Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine St. Exeupery. The rest of the pilots dubbed him “the Squire.”

Waldron was happy to have him in the squadron. Often, he would say, “Let’s have one of you figure this out and explain it.” Then he would usually call on Evans. Off duty, he wore black and white saddleback oxford shoes with tweed jackets and charcoal gray slacks. His eloquent letters home after joining the Navy are an honest and often searing reflection of all that he saw from training to combat.

On December 7th, while stationed at Norfolk, he sat down to write his parents after learning of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

“…This war will be more difficult than any war this nation has yet fought….once more the world is afire. I find it hard to see the inherit difference between man and the rest of the animal kingdom. With Christmas approaching, it seems bitterly ironical to mouth the timeworn phrases concerning peace on earth and goodwill toward men, with so many millions hard at work to reduce millions more of us to slavery or death. …Faith lost—all is lost. Let us hope tonight that people throughout this great country have the faith to once again sacrifice for the things we hold essential to life and happiness…and to retain reason enough to have ‘charity for all and malice toward none.’ This time it has to be a better world.”

Click here to see more writing by Bill Evans


from left: Bill Evans (pilot), Ross Bibb (radioman/gunner)


entire site copyright Robert J. Mrazek 2008