Object of the Month – July 2023

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

Fun Fact

Written during a break in building work

Object Date

3rd August 1917

Age Suitability



Main Gallery Cabinet 6

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