This booklet was the property of Lt Col William Whitesmith Constantine. One of the three Constantine brothers of Harlsey Hall, East Harlsey, Northallerton who were all Officers in the Battalion. He was born on the 26th March 1887 and educated at Uppingham and Clare College Cambridge before entering the family shipping business.
He had joined the local 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry some time before 1908, as when the Territorial Force was established on the 1st April of that year this Unit became part of the 4th Yorks Battalion. He was at that time a Lieutenant and the London Gazette lists him among the Officers who were transferred.
He was a Battalion Capt at the start of the War and was forwarded for mention in Despatches for action on the 3rd May 1915 at Ypres, where he was among those gassed on the 24th May 1915.
He was wounded again, October 1916, and for his conspicuous gallantry at this time was awarded the Military Cross.
The London Gazette of the 14th Nov 1916:-|
"Though wounded before the attack commenced, he insisted in leading his Company to the final objective, where, though wounded again, he continued with the greatest determination to control his Company. He set a fine example."
When he returned to duty is not known. He was promoted to Major in January 1917 and appears to have held a position as a Staff Officer until 1918.
In August/September 1918 he was posted to the 9th Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as by this time the 4th Yorks had ceased to exist as a fighting Unit. He was with they KOYLI only a short time before he was wounded for a third time.
After the War the 4th Battalion was re-formed and Major Constantine was promoted to Lt Col with them. He received the TD and Bar for length of service.
In World War II he served in the Home Guard from 16 May 1940 to 31 Dec 1944 and received the Home Guard certificate and Defence Medal.
He also received the Danish award, the Order of Dannebrog Knight 1st Class, presumably when he was CO of the 4th Yorks TA in the 1920/30s
At some after the First War he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the North Riding.
His Grandson writes of him:-
He was an interesting man. Quiet, unassuming and kind. Notwithstanding his background and business in shipping, good with people and not overbearing or militaristic. He was deeply affected by WW1, but valued his friends and social life in the TA. Despite being badly gassed and suffering chest problems, he was a heavy smoker till he died in 1970. He would never talk about his experiences in WWI.
[Photograph and information kindly contributed by his Grandson, Christopher Constantine.]