Friday, 18 November 2016

A Very British Romance, part 5: Making it official

This next instalment of a Very British Romance is only a brief one. Our volunteer, Margaret, picks up the events of November 1916, using documents held in the Foreign Office records at The National Archives in London.

All is quiet for the next couple of months until November, when Angus makes his request, dated 14 November 1916, for Connie to be allowed to visit him in Switzerland as his fiancé.

This application is refused by Lieutenant Colonel HP Picot, Senior Officer, British Interned Switzerland, on the grounds that Angus' understanding of the rules concerning visits from fiancés of officers and men is that a marriage is being contemplated in Switzerland.

Angus states in his follow up request dated 20 November 1916, that 'the question of the date and place of my marriage I must reserve as the course of the war in the next few months influences matters considerably.' He also states that Connie has been refused a Passport but her visit would incur no cost to the Public.
A copy of the letter sent by Angus appealing for Connie to visit Switzerland (The National Archives FO 383/217)
FO 383/217 A copy of the letter sent by Angus appealing for Connie to visit Switzerland (The National Archives)
He encloses a Newspaper cutting from home:
'An engagement is announced between Elliot Angus, Lieutenant Durham Light Infantry, only son of the late SJ Leybourne JP and Mrs Leybourne of Bircholme, Gateshead-on-Tyne, and Constance, only daughter of Philip Kirkup, JP, N Inst. C E, and Mrs Kirkup of Leafield, Birtley, County Durham.'

Angus' courage and persistence is again rewarded as Lieutenant Colonel Picot relents and writes to the secretary at the War Office in London to ask to be advised what action he should take regarding Connie's visit. He goes on to say that, 'I have no objection to Miss Kirkup, the lady immediately concerned, coming out. She seems to be in every way desirable and would be under the care of Lieutenant Leybourne's mother.'

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