W W Quarterman
William Walter Quarterman 1885-1917
I was born in 1895, to my parents William and Anne Quarterman. I lived at 6 Carrington Terrace in Newland Street, which was near where the Eden Centre is now.
My parents lived next door at 7 Carrington Terrace but as our family had got so large (I had six brothers and sisters) my older brother and I moved in next
door with George and Maria, a retired couple. When I left school I went to work for R. Howland and Sons, in Demark Street, as a French polisher.
My war began on 11th December in 1915, at the age of 20 years and 11 months. I was 5 foot 5 inches tall, about the average height of men at this time. I signed up for
the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at the local recruitment centre in Aylesbury and was placed in the Buckinghamshire Battalion, like many men from Wycombe.
As part of Kitchener’s army we would not go straight into war as none of us had any idea about being a solder, so we had six months of training in England.
We learnt some skills that we could use in warfare like how to bayonet sandbags.
Eventually we were called to the front line... we travelled to France on 20th May 1916, along with many other battalions; there was going to be a big push to
finally win the war.
Many will simply know me as the man who was wounded in war on 15th August in 1916 and who eventually died from my wounds at home. But let me tell you from my
own mouth there was a lot more to it than just that.
The Battle of the Somme started on 1st July 1916 but the Bucks Battalion weren’t involved until a bit later. Let me take you to the battle of ‘Pozičres’
which was a two week struggle for a French village and it took place in the middle stages of The Battle of the Somme. We marched into this area on 9th August,
but I am going to take you to 15th August, the day of my injury. At about the time of 12 noon it all started, the Germans began shelling the trenches for around
9 hours... They bombed us with heavy guns and they started on the right of our trenches and then systematically moved across the line of our trenches. I do remember
that at one point we did try to retaliate against this bombing and this resulted in some brief respite, but our hopes were short lived. The bombing then started
After a while we decided to abandon a couple of our avenues and hold onto what we had. It was then it all went wrong... A shell explosion that meant my left leg
was seriously injured as shrapnel had cut it open and broken my leg.
I was rescued and sent back to England. After the immediate medical treatment it was clear my leg would not recover. My tibia permanently bowed outwards which
meant my left leg was shorter than my other one; I also couldn’t put much weight on it. I was discharged from the army in September 1917 as it was clear I would
never be fit for service.
Many local men faced the same fate as me on that day in 1916 as my battalion was full of Wycombe men. In fact William Cartwright, also buried in Wycombe Cemetery,
was wounded on the same day and he also died of his wounds. That day there were 73 casualties from the Battalion and another 20 men were missing.
I finally succumbed to my wounds 7th November 1918, and was buried here just when everyone was celebrating the end of the war.
Researched and performed by Alex Sutton
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