William T. McQuade
Biography: William T. McQuade was born on Dec. 14, 1913, to William Francis (6/20/87 to 2/4/45) and Mary Agnes McQuade (5/13/90 to 8/14/87). The family lived in Somerville, Massachusetts. William attended Mission High School in Roxbury, MA, and then the Massachusetts Military Academy, graduating in 1941 as a second lieutenant. His sister, Christine, remembers that his interest in the military began as a young boy. He would march around the kitchen table while wearing his uncle’s WWI helmet. Prior to entering the service, William worked at Walter Baker’s Chocolate factory in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. He would routinely bring home chocolate for the family to enjoy. He later worked as a machinist and toolmaker in Boston.
Service Time: William entered the service and attended Tank Destroyer School at Camp Hood Texas (Officers Advanced Course). He became part of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, seeing action throughout Europe including Cherbourg, the Siegried Line and the Roer River area during the Battle of the Bulge. He was Captain of “A” Company and was awarded a Bronze Star after the Battle of Cologne. In addition, he received the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal.
William met and married the former Katherine Hall who was the daughter of Michael Hall, also of Somerville, MA. The couple remained in Somerville and William would begin his career as a Police Officer in Boston with the Metropolitan District Commission. This unit would later merge with the State Police. The couple had six children, Peter, William, Michael, Ann, Mary and Regina.
He was a member of the National Lancers, which provided mounted color guards, escorts and troops for ceremonies, parades and other military and patriotic events throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was also a member of the Massachusetts National Guard. William passed away on Sep. 19, 1961, and was laid to rest in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford, MA
William’s grandson Greg was able to speak with Sgt. Charles George who served with Cpt. McQuade in “A” Company. Here is what Charles had to say about him:
“He was a warm hearted guy. But a very sensible guy. That’s what is most important to me. McQuade was the only one to me that had both courage and common sense and devotion to his men (in the 692nd TD BN). There was no bullshit about him. He wasn’t a gung-ho guy. It’s the most important kind of thing. McQuade knew I had been in Europe (before the war). He picked me to lead us out of camp around Paris to our first combat and I screwed up. He would rely on my advice (laughing). He’d never got mad when I was wrong. He was just a human soldier. I think I saluted him once or twice on an official occasion. He took a god awful situation day by day and made the best of them. His expectations were no more than ours. Everybody knew McQuade was the best officer. I liked the fact that he had a Boston accent. He was more out of shape than most officers. I only knew him as a man caught in this god awful mess. There was just no bullshit about him. I admired your grandfather thoroughly. I admired the way he carried what power he had. He never offended me somehow. All other officers sooner or later did. He was a damn good soldier. He had a special kind of way of observing things in a level headed intelligent man would observe. Nobody had ever seen war like that. He hadn’t till he saw it. He reacted so sensibly and confidently as you could imagine. It was admirable. He handled fear certainly better than I did. I think people knew when I was scared. You could never tell with McQuade. If McQuade wasn’t there I don’t know if I would have made it or not. I think that was true for many of us. He knew that was his gift…to stay level headed. He wasn’t trying for heroics but just survival and good soldiering…using our weapons to hurt the enemy.”
I want to thank William’s grandson, Greg McQuade, for providing this information and the materials on the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. Greg never met his grandfather who died 8 years before he was born. After finding out about his grandfather’s career a few years ago, Greg, a reporter, made it his mission to meet veterans of his grandfather’s unit and help document their memories of their time with the 692nd.