Object of the month – July 2023

A Piece of Wooden Floor Board dated

3rd August 1917

This piece of floorboard was found in 90 High Street, Thame, with a pencil inscription by W.W. Howland concerning his sons in Flanders:

“While I am working here altering this large house into two to meet these Democratic Times, war is raging in Flanders. Four of my sons are fighting. W. W. Howland August 3rd 1917

William Watts Howland was a builder local to Thame. It’s not known why he felt driven to write the message, or whether he intended it to be seen. Sadly, it seems that shortly after he wrote the message one of his sons, Private Arthur Robert (Bob) Howland, was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres, aged just 20 years. He is commemorated as part of the Thame Remembers Project.

Private Arthur Robert Howland

You can see the piece of floor board in the Main Gallery Cabinet 6