Published 31 October 2018

Ahead of Armistice Day, The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Imperial War Museum in London to view letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War.

On arrival the Imperial War Museum, The Duchess took a short tour of the First World War Galleries and was shown elements that relate to the experience of her relatives.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Imperial War Museum

Francis Martineau Lupton, The Duchess’s great-great-grandfather, had five children. His three sons Francis, Maurice and Lionel were all killed in action while serving during the First World War.

Francis, Maurice and Lionel Lupton

Their sister Olive, who worked as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, is The Duchess of Cambridge’s great-grandmother. She married Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton, who also corresponded with the family during the war. 

Olive Middleton

During the visit, The Duchess was shown Olive's registration card. Olive and her younger sister Anne were both VAD nurses with the Red Cross during the war.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Imperial War Museum

Her Royal Highness was then shown letters and documents relating to Francis, Lionel and Maurice from World War One.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Imperial War Museum

The items shown included a field service postcard from Lionel dated 16 July 1916, where he notes that “I am quite well”. Sadly, Lionel was killed in action on the same day, aged just 24.

A field service postcard

This telegram from Noel Middleton to the family, informs that Francis’ body had been found: “Bad News Francis Body Found Near Taylor’s Killed Instantaneously Bomb Saw Norman Yesterday And Grave In Churchyard”

A telegram from Noel Middleton

Among the Lupton Brothers’ letters, was a letter of condolence from the Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace:

The King realises that this is the third beloved son you have given to your Country’s cause

A Letter from the the Privy Purse

The eldest brother, Major Francis Lupton, served with the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and was killed by a bomb on 19 February 1917 aged 31. Francis’s brother, Lieutenant Lionel Lupton, the youngest of the three, had been killed in action only a year earlier aged 24. Lionel had served 28th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, spending significant time in the Front Line trenches in France. Captain Maurice Lupton served with the 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and also spent time in the trenches, occasionally meeting with his younger brother, Lionel. Maurice was the first family casualty of the war and was killed by a sniper in 1915 aged 28.

The letters are part of Imperial War Museum’s Documents Archive, which provides a means to research, reflect and remember the extraordinary contribution and sacrifice made by so many families during the First World War.