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March 31st 1917 - Letter from the War Office to Clara Brown Constable

31st March 1917
Correspondence From
War Office, London SW1
Correspondence To
Clara Brown Constable, St Kilda's Hotel, 18 Torrington Square, WC1
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Official communication from the War Office
Text of Letter

War Office, London, SW1

31st March 1917


In reference to your personal application of the 30th instant, on the subject of Second Lieutenant John Cecil Brown Constable, 14th Battalion, London Regiment, Territorial Force, I am commanded by the Army Council to inform you that, as the only official reports regarding this Officer are to the effect that he was wounded and missing on the 1st day of July 1916, this Department is not in a position to issue a formal certificate of death.

Looking, however, to the testimony of No 6546 Private G Robertson, 14th Battalion, London Regiment, who states that at Gommecourt Wood, on the 1st of July 1916, he saw Second Lieutenant J C Brown Constable struck by a piece of shrapnel on the right side of the forehead, and that he placed him in a shell hole where he died, the Army Council are regretfully constrained to conclude that Second Lieutenant Brown Constable is dead, and that his death occurred in action on the 1st day of July 1916.

I am to add that the Army Council have, unfortunately, no doubt as to the death of this Officer, and to explain that their action, as set forth above, is notified to those concerned, upon application for a certificate of death, with a view to assisting them in dealing with the estates of officers whose deaths have not been reported to the Department in a formal individual written statement.  It is understood that these letters, which may be used in place of a formal certificate of death, are, as a rule, accepted for Probate and other purposes.

I am, Madam,

Your obedient Servant

H H Fawcett

To:  Mrs Brown Constable, St Kilda’s Hotel, 18 Torrington Square, WC1



Minute Sheet, 31st March 1917

Mrs Brown Constable, St Kilda’s Hotel, 18 Torrington Square, WC1, called 30/3/17 and asked to be furnished with a certificate of the death of 2nd Lt J C Brown Constable, 14 Bn London Rgt, who was reported wounded and missing 1/7/16, and whose death has been accepted as having occurred on 1/7/16.

She was told that a certificate letter will be sent to her.

Send Presumption letter.


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
1 sheet of typed notepaper with accompanying Minute sheet
Location of Document
The National Archives