April 15

The Queen Mother & the brave Australian soldier

An Australian soldier machine gunned in the First World War was treated in hospital and then sent to convalesce at Glamis Castle, the Scottish ancestral seat of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.




The soldier, Lt Rupert Octavius Dent of the 54th Battalion there met Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was to marry Prince Albert Duke of York and in 1936 become Queen –Empress. The young aristocrat was then doing voluntary work assisting the soldiers running errands visiting wards, and generally been very useful purpose to the nurses and the  soldiers.

Lt Dent, the future Queen, her mother and the family were to form a close relationship. She said he made her laugh and her mother, Lady Strathmore said that "We shall never forget you".

They continued to correspond after his return to Australia,  and he met Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of York at Government House in Sydney on the couple's visit to Australia in 1927 to open the new Parliament at Canberra.

Some of the Queen Mother's letters were found several years ago in a second-hand chest of drawers purchased as a restoration project.

Writing in the Sun Herald on 11 March 2013  Tim Barlass told this fascinating story and revealed that the letters were to be auctioned. This took place in Sydney on 11 April, 2013, the letters being sold for $3500.

The ABC's Scott Bevan interviewed ACM's National Convener Prof David Flint one hour before the auction.


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