Cuthbert William George Collard was born in the spring of 1899, one of nine children to William and Eliza Collard. William was an agricultural labourer from North Newton in Somerset, and this is where he and Eliza raised their family. While probably helping his father out as a child, Cuthbert found work at the local blacksmith’s when he left school.
Cuthbert was barely fifteen when war broke out in Europe, and so had to wait until April 1917 before he was of age to enlist. He joined the Devonshire Regiment, and his service records show that he was 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall, had black hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion.
Assigned to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Private Collard served his time on home soil. While full details are not available, it appears that he contracted tuberculosis during his training. This was serious enough for treatment in a sanatorium to be recommended, and he was medically discharged from military service because of the lung condition on 9th January 1918. He had been in the army for just 280 days.
At this point, Cuthbert’s trail goes cold. Whether he was admitted for medical treatment is unclear, but it appears that he returned to North Newton. He passed away on 19th June 1919 at the family home, aged just 20 years old.
Cuthbert William George Collard was laid to rest in the graveyard of the village church, St Peter’s.