Friday, 20 March 2015

Buckingham Palace?

Private Robert Constantine of Gateshead was in the 9th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. The dates of his letters show that he left for France a few days before the rest of his battalion in April 1915. This suggests that he might have been in the transport section. Constantine’s letters are being transcribed by one of our volunteers.

Arriving in London on the evening of 15 April before continuing to Folkestone, the men found that all boats to France had been stopped. Private Constantine writes home to his brother.

Private Robert Constantine, October 1914 (D/DLI 7/137/54)
D/DLI 7/137/54 Private Robert Constantine, October 1914

Friday 16 April 1915
I am writing this in Buckingham Palace. I wrote to Doris last night but that was before we were put up in the Palace.
We were properly stranded last night and when we got to the Palace we were all properly tired out but we had a good bed and a grand feed this morning.

We had a trip round the city today and had a free dinner at The Union Jack Club. I am now waiting for my tea here in the Palace and then make for the Station but I hope the boats are stopped tonight again.

Was Private Constantine actually put up somewhere in Buckingham Palace or was it more likely to have been Wellington Barracks, a grand building in its own right, home of The Guards, and a stone’s throw from the Palace? 

The 9th was one of the five territorial battalions that went out to France in April 1915 and into the Second Battle of Ypres. An exhibition about this battle is coming soon at the Record Office.

No comments:

Post a Comment