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Major Archibald Thomas Wynne Constable, 2nd Battalion, the Essex Regiment

October 16, 2019


Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1915, Major Archibald Thomas Wynne Constable, 2nd Battalion, the Essex Regiment, attached to the 9th Battalion, died of wounds received in action at Loos four days earlier.

The only son of a vicar, he attended Tonbridge School and then joined the 4th Battalion (Militia) of the Essex Regiment in 1900.  The following year he was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion and went out to South Africa – for his service there he received the Queen’s Medal with three clasps.  Later he saw service in Malta and Ireland, and was promoted to the rank of captain in 1912. 

In December of 1914, Major Constable was attached to the 9th (Service) Battalion of his regiment.  It was noted that he gave excellent service during the training of the battalion, and that he showed “those qualities of thoroughness, reliability and tact for which he had been conspicuous throughout his service”.  The battalion went to France in May of 1915 and were in the first line trenches near Loos by October.  The trenches had been badly damaged by shellfire, with many areas that were far more dangerous to move around in or through.  Major Constable was shot in the head but remained conscious long enough to send for his company sergeant major in order to give him instructions.  He was taken to hospital, where he died four days later.  Major Constable is buried in the Choques Military Cemetery in France,  and his name is on the war memorial at St. John the Evangelist church in Churt, Surrey. 

His colonel wrote to the Reverend and Mrs. Constable, declaring that the great praise earned by the battalion at the Front was largely due to their son’s work and influence.  He went on to say:  "I cannot tell you what your son's death is to us.  He had endeared himself to every one, and we all had the greatest admiration for him.  He had done yeoman service since we started to raise this Battalion in August of last year, and he cannot possibly be replaced.  He was such a fine, good fellow, we were all so fond of him, officers, non-coms., and men.  I have never known a more genuine, courteous, kind hearted man, and he was such a thorough gentleman."

Archibald, from Farnham in Surrey, was 32 years old and married. 

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