CWG: Lance Corporal William Collard

Lance Corporal William Collard

William Collard was born in August 1891, the youngest of two children to William and Agnes Collard from Wedmore in Somerset. William Sr was a carter for a local miller and his son followed him into labouring when he left school.

William’s life seems to have been a tragic one. His mother died in 1910, while his sister Mabel passed a year later.

William married Eva Heal, a woman from the same village, in April 1914. The couple didn’t go on to have any children.

There is limited information relating to William’s military service. What is apparent is that he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, presumably at some point after the start of the Great War.

Private Collard’s battalion, the 3rd South Midlands, were based in Essex and were shipped to France in March 1915. There is, however, no evidence that William went with his troop. His training must have gone well, however, and he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

Details of his death are vague; William’s gravestone confirms he passed on 18th April 1915; the cause of his death was not reported. He was 23 years of age.

A brief notice in a local newspaper gives a little more information:

Mr W Collard [Senior], of Wedmore, one of the patients at the Country Sanatorium, received last week the news of the death of his soldier son. The funeral took place on Thursday at Wedmore in the same grave as the mother and only other member of the family, a sister of the deceased.

Shepton Mallet Journal: Friday 30th April 1915

William Collard lies at rest in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church in his home village of Wedmore, Somerset.

William is remembered in on a plaque in Bristol Cathedral; this commemorates the fourteen members of the 3rd South Midland Field Ambulance who fell during the war.

Comment should also be made of William’s father. In the space of four and a half years, he had lost his wife and both his children. He was already in a sanatorium when his son died. He too passed away, in December 1924, at the age of 58.

William’s widow, Eva, never remarried. She went on to live the age of 96, and passed away in Poole, on the Dorset coast.

2 thoughts on “CWG: Lance Corporal William Collard”

  1. A detailed biography of Collard appears in Tim Moreman, The Isle of Wedmore Remembers the First World War, 1914-19 (Wedmore, 2018) All proceeds go to the maintenance of four non-CW~GC war graves in St Mary’s Churchyard.


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