The Cemetery contains 1 soldier of the Cheshire Regiment, who died in 1918.


1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment
Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Vevey (St Martin's) Cemetery

©: G E Conway, 2009
Their name liveth for evermore
Private E J Conway (circa. 1905)
Back to
"Grandad's War"
... about how to get to Vevey (St Martin's) Cemetery and other information
Read more about ..
 
This cemetery contains 88 British and Commonwealth sailors, soldiers and airmen, fallen in the Great War. 61 died before repatriation.

In the year 1916, agreements were made between the Swiss Government and the French, British and German Governments under which a certain number of wounded prisoners of war were interned in Switzerland. The first British prisoners arrived on Swiss soil at the end of May, 1916; and the average number under treatment during the remainder of the war was 2,000.



Bandsman 8331 William COLTMAN

Date of Death:
26 July 1918 (Died)
Grave No:
61
Unit:
'C' Company
Age:
25
Personal History:
William was born in Mile End, London on 26 June 1893. He was the 3rd son of Frederick and Annie Elizabeth Coltman. However, Frederick died in the September quarter 1901.

William had 2 older brothers, Thomas Frederick and Albert, two younger brothers, Gordon and Ralph Hanly, and a younger sister, Elizabeth Maude. (1901 Census RG 13/355) At the end of the War the family was living at 23 Enfield Road, Hornsey Vale, London 8.

At the time of his enlistment he was 4' 7" tall (1.41 m.), weighed 72 lbs. (5 st. 2lbs.) had a 'fresh' complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. His religion was Church of England. His vision was not very acute, but clearly good enough for his enlistment.

Military History:
William attested at Lichfield on 30 Nov 1906 as a boy bandsman, declared age of 14 yrs 5 mths, although he was actually born on 26 June 1893, so in fact he was only 12 yrs 5 mths. His period of service was for 12 years Active Service.

He was described (2nd October 1913) as "intelligent, hard-working and reliable", a gifted clarinettist as showed 'promise' on the cello! He was awarded his first Good Conduct Badge on 4 December 1908 and his second on 30 November 1911. Even so, by 1912 he had recorded "a number of cases of drunkenness". On 13th Sept 1905 he was initially posted to the training ship 'Exmouth' where he remained until 3rd November 1906. He was described as a "very excellent lad" and received a 'VG' for most of his studies.. On 24 September 1909 he was posted to Belfast and spent 10 days in hospital in August 1911 suffering from diphtheria.

He entered France with 'C' Coy on the 16th August 1914 and according to an account in the 'Oak Leaf' was taken prisoner after the Battle at Audregnies on 24 August 1914.

William died whilst officially a "prisoner of war" at Leysin, Switzerland. He arrived in Switzerland on 28th November 1917 from Soltau, Germany. He was suffering from tuberculosis, from which he subsequently died. He was initially buried in Leysin Cemetery.  Later, along with many others, he was reburied in Vevey.

A death certificate from the Officer i/c, "British Interned in Switzerland" states that he arrived in Switzerland on 28 Nov 1917, suffering then from tuberculosis. His family was informed on 23 Sept. 1918 that he had died from TB at 7.00 on 25th July. At the same time they were sent his possessions - a "box of sundries" and Fr104.30. The box contained books and rolls of music; 3 religious books; a rosary; pencil; coins; handkerchief; cloth badges; photos; cards; a purse and an illustrated book of Switzerland.

Maybe he contracted the disease in his German p.o.w. camp and was transferred to Switzerland for the better conditions - if so it says a lot about the treatment of our boys later in the War. However, Soltau p.o.w. camp had a reputation for mistreatment of prisoners, especially those ill with tuberculosis, for which it had a large number of cases. The New York Times of 5th January 1917 reported one instance of 70 Belgian TB patients being returned home in a cattle truck.

Link to CWGC details
Return to top of page
Vevey (St Martin's) Cemetery
Bandsman Coltman's Medal Index Card
Click on image to see full medal set
Medal ribbon bar
P.o.w.'s at Soltau Camp
Prisoners of War at Soltau Camp
A burial party at Soltau
A burial party at Soltau p.o.w. camp
Australian p.o.w.s
Australian Prisoners of War at Soltau Camp
Photo courtesy of Isabelle & Guillaume van der Wende-Perrot