Wounded First World War soldier’s notebook of 99 years ago is discovered in drawer by relative

The notebook thought to have been written by Will Chamberlain. It contains Mr Chamberlain's handwriting, the handwriting of his wife, Mary, and unknown handwriting. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire EMN-150415-
The notebook thought to have been written by Will Chamberlain. It contains Mr Chamberlain's handwriting, the handwriting of his wife, Mary, and unknown handwriting. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire EMN-150415-
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A notebook thought to have been compiled by a Great War solider from Cambridgeshire after he was wounded in France nearly 99 years ago has been discovered in a drawer by a relative.

Will Chamberlain, who came from Shepreth, was hit by shrapnel at Trones Wood in July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme and lost his right leg, relatives say.

Undated family Handout of Great War soldier Will Chamberlain.  Credit Family.

Undated family Handout of Great War soldier Will Chamberlain. Credit Family.

The black “Memorandums” book contains details of his stays in hospitals in England, lists names of nurses and spells out card tricks his family think that he learned while recuperating.

Mr Chamberlain’s granddaughter Pat, who is in her 50s, says she came across the book in a drawer at her home in Foxton, Cambridgeshire.

She says the book - which measures six inches by three inches and has a cardboard cover - contains Mr Chamberlain’s handwriting, the handwriting of his wife, Mary, and unknown handwriting.

She said: “I found it when rooting round in a drawer. It seems to have been written after he was wounded.

Wounded by shrapnel at Trones Wood July 30th 1916. Leg amputated August 1st.

William Chamberlain

“It contains names of nurses, names of hospitals and details of operations he had.”

She added: “There are also details of card tricks.

“I remember him doing card tricks when I was a child. I think he learned them in hospital.”

One page is headed “William Chamberlain”.

Pat Chamberlain, granddaughter of Great War soldier Will Chamberlain. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA

Pat Chamberlain, granddaughter of Great War soldier Will Chamberlain. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA

It reads: “Wounded by shrapnel at Trones Wood July 30th 1916. Leg amputated August 1st. Arrived No 3 Hospital Exeter August 19th. Got up September 17th. Operation 26 September. Reamputated 16 October. Got up 30th. Enoculated for Tetnatus 4 November. Transferred to Sidmouth 25. Discharged from there March 9th. Admitted to Roehampton 20th March. Received leg 27 April. Discharged from Roehampton May 5th...”

Another page has the words “limb makers” written above a list of names.

Mr Chamberlain moved to Foxton, where he ran the village shop, after leaving the Army.

He died in 1971 aged 79.