Captain William Constantine M.C.

Topics about the Regiment during the Great War.

Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:13 am

I got an enquiry for information regarding an Officer killed with the 7th Border in WW1 recently :-

Captain William Constantine M.C. killed in action in Gauche Wood 18th September 1918

It came from a relative of his from Australia Sharon Gigliotti.
Hello, I was checking the website on the 7th west and cumb yeomanry bn., Border Regiment.
On the section of outstanding pictures needed, when I press the icon for the list it doesn't work.
My great uncle is Captain William Constantine, MC and I do have photos I can contribute.

Hi Spike,
I am going to send you a few different photos. One interesting one is of Captain William Constantine on leave home departing Buckingham Palace with his father after being presented with the Military Cross by King George. The formal portrait I believe is when he first signed up. I have other photos that I have to go through, one is a postcard from Paris that William, "Billy" wrote my grandmother.

He was my maternal grandmother's, (Margaret Constantine Taylor) brother. My grandmother along with her husband, Albert Taylor, emigrated to Canada in 1920 when my mother was 5 months old along with her older brother. My grandfather was in the 4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment for the duration of the war and thankfully survived.


William Constantine as young boy.jpg
William Constantine as young boy.jpg (18.18 KiB) Viewed 6029 times

William Constantine photos.jpg
William Constantine photos.jpg (37.83 KiB) Viewed 6029 times
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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:22 am

The next email got me even more confused, I already was wondering how he won his M.C.
Unable to find any mention in the London Gazette, the 7th were not at Messines as this article sent from the local paper about W Constantine and his father visiting Buck Palace to collect his Military Cross, seemed to suggest he was with the Border Regiment at the time
Hello again,
I noticed on your website it mentioned that Captain Constantine was killed in Gauche Wood. I wasn't aware of that or any details surrounding his death with the exception they never found his body. His father went over to France to look for him.
Would you be able to send me any details or links that I might pursue to learn more about his time in the Lincolnshire and subsequent Border Regiment.

I am his great niece and have been interested in this for years. He held a special place in my grandparent's memories.

GGrandandWConstantine1918buckingham palace 001.jpg

Hi Spike,
Thanks for all of these photos and documents. Captain Constantine received a commisson to the Lincolnshire Regiment in July 1916 and later transferred to the Border Regiment.
Could he have been in the Lincolnshire regiment when the action at Messine happened? I am going to send you a photo of his medal, the Military Cross and a photo of him as a young boy.

best regards, Sharon
p.s. I am in the process of looking for a photo postcard of my great uncle with text that outlined the Messine battle. As I recall it referenced going forward on Wytschaete ridge. When I find it I will send it on as well.
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LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
.
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:33 am

From this it got me intruiged and I did a little bit of searching....
At first I was stymied by the lack of mention of his M.C. in the London Gazette.
I found a reference to his Medal Index Card If anyone is a member of Ancestry and would download it for Sharon, I'd be very grateful....
There was enough info on the entry to start and trace out his Career.
Enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps as Private 56136 W Constantine
Gained a commission and was transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment August 1916
LG1.jpg
LG1.jpg (9.23 KiB) Viewed 6028 times


Now once again we reached a bit of a blockade,
Thanks for all of these photos and documents. Captain Constantine received a commisson to the Lincolnshire Regiment in July 1916 and later transferred to the Border Regiment.
Could he have been in the Lincolnshire regiment when the action at Messine happened? I am going to send you a photo of his medal, the Military Cross

File0003a.jpg

I searched the Gazette again and googled many a battalion of the Lincolnshires to no avail.
SPIKE

LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
.
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:47 am

So I went back to the Border Regiment.... and had a touch of luck

Googling Border Regiment at Messines I came across this page

http://www.darkcoil.com/index.php?title=6th_Battalion_War_Diary%2c_October_1916

Yes= it's the remnants of our very own Chris's wiki. Not a lot of it works but this page did
Containing the words for October 1916 :=
The following officers were transferred attached from the 6th Bn Lincolnshire Regt to the Bn.
2/Lt. A.L. SHEENAN - A Coy
2/Lt. H. KNIGHT - B Coy
2/Lt. H.A. POTTER - C Coy
2/Lt. G.W. LEYS - D Coy
2/Lt. W. CONSTANTINE - A Coy
2/Lt. C.L. WILLCOCK - D Coy


They did serve at Messines -so I hope with a bit of luck and Wylly's book and I think Paul may have sent me the 6th Border War Diaries at some point -if you have a transcript for June July 1917, Paul I would be interested to see it.
I hope to get to the bottom of this

Chris your Wiki is still a valued resource, Please :| return to it at some time when commitments allow
and yes= the W Constantine is the very same one who died with the 7th Border.
I'll post more as I uncover it..........
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LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby kerchi » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:39 am

I am impressed with your detective work, and, of course, sharing it here.

Spike, that site you stumbled across was a holding site while transferring the wiki to my computer; not quite sure why half the links didn't work. Anyway, the entire wiki is running on my mac and when I get round to being a little involved again I will re-introduce some (but not all) of the projects I was working on. I need to take a leap out of your book and focus on one project at a time, which is "On this day" to begin with.

The wiki is not gone forever ;-)
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

Any problems, comments or questions about the forum? Contact me at: admin@border-regiment-forum.com
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby mrdeacon » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:51 pm

Hi Spike,

Here is his MIC and some other things from Ancestry.

30850_A000357-02535.jpg


31874_223135-00557.jpg


31380_189123-00012.jpg
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:09 pm

Thanks Mike, I'll pass the documents on to Sharon Gigliotti, if that's OK with you.........
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LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby mrdeacon » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:10 pm

Of cause Spike fire away.
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:29 pm

From the 6th Battalion at Messines in Col Wylly's book The Border Regiment in the Great War

Just before darkness fell a heavy shell fire developed on both sides, and by 9 pm was continuous along the whole front and the 7th South Staffords who were due to relieve the 6th Border Regiment, had a difficult and hazardous time of it.
The relief was however, effected in due course and the companies rendezvoused at the Chinese Wall where all lay down to get some sleep after the two last very strenuous days; the casualties totalled 102 made up as follows:-- Killed 3 Officers Second-Lieutenants G. E. Roberts E. A. Barry and A. W.
Farmer, and 15 non-commissioned officers and men ' wounded- Lieutenant-Colonel D. Mathers D.S.O., Major K. M. Chance, D.S.O., Captains N. D. Williams, T. E. Bjerre, J. W. Hood, M.C. (adjutant), and A. I. McCreadie, R.A.M.C., Second- Lieutenants W. Constantine and A. D. F. Torrance, and 76 other ranks, The Battalion now had an eight-days' march by way of Shaexken, Strazeele, Hondeghem, Renescure and through St. Omer to billets in the Fifth Army training area at Westrove, where reorganisation was taken in hand and training schemes were sedulously ? carried out


This would appear to be the action referred to in the Bolton Newspaper in which Second Lieutenant W. Constantine won the MC and promotion to Captain.

Anyway he was known as a brave officer,who his men called Mad Connie, according to Sharon,
Anyway I came across some notes from a second cousin sent to me from England around 1999. Here is his description of sorts on William Constantine and I thought you might enjoy it.
"William Constantine (Junior) had red (auburn) hair and blue eyes like his dad. He was educated at Holy Trinity School where he became a student teacher. He then went on to Manchester University. While he was at university the first World War broke out and he joined the army as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). He was sent to officer training school and was commissioned in the Lincolnshire Regiment (Infantry). He was wounded and went on
to become a Captain (Acting Major when he was killed) was known as "Mad Connie", he had a charger called "Dolly". His favourite weapon was the hand grenade .... (God)!
When he was killed in the his 23rd year while in the King's Border Regiment. He was awarded the Military Cross. He had no marked grave and his body was never found. After the war his mother and father went to France to try and find his grave but without success. He was quite an accomplished artist and painted in oils, was a great swimmer, had life saving certificate. He was rather reckless, once went into "No-Man's" land under fire to take a lamp off a shot-down German aircraft to take home, I don't know what happened to it.
"
SPIKE

LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
(right click and open in new tab)

In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
.
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Re: Captain William Constantine M.C.

Postby spike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:40 pm

Whilst he was recovering from his wounds the 6th Battalion Border Regiment were disbanded in the 1918 shake up of the British Army

On the afternoon of the 2nd the Divisional General inspected and addressed the Battalion, thanking officers, non-commissioned officers and men for the good work all had done while serving with the Division, and expressing his deep regret that a battalion which had rendered such splendid services should meet with such an untimely end.
On the next day 7 officers and 150 other ranks of '' D '' Company and 5 officers and 100 other ranks of '' B '' Company proceeded to join the 7th and 8th Battalions the Border Regiment respectively ; these were followed on the 4th by parties of 7 officers and 150 other ranks of '' C '' and 5 officers and 100 non-commissioned officers and men of '' A '' Company who left to join, the one party the 11th and the other the 1st Battalion. What was now left of the 6th Border Regiment remained at Malingarbe until the 9th when it marched to Allouagne and on arrival came under the orders of the Officer Commanding the First Army reinforcement camp, thus completing the disbandment of the 6th (Service) Battalion, The Border Regiment.
The End
The 6th (Service) Battalion, Border Regiment, was disbanded at Mazingarbe on the 9th February 1918, the officers and other ranks being absorbed into the 1st, 7th, 8th and 11th Battalions of The Border Regiment.


'Mad Connie' did not think his service had ended there and chose to go back to France, He was posted to the 7th Border Regiment
Interesting because February 9th 1918 is when he was awarded the MC at Buckingham Palace. He was home on leave after being wounded I assume and my grandmother had said he didn't have to return to France but chose to. They were in readiness with his "welcome home" party when they got word of his death.

Scan-140806-0001.JPG
SPIKE

LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
(right click and open in new tab)

In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
.
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