Carter, Henry Charles

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay

Name / Enw: Carter, Henry Charles

Regiment/Catrawd: 16th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Rifleman C/331

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Thiepval Memorial

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Pier and face 13A and 13B

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory, British War and 1915 Star medals

Date of Death: 15th July 1916

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Died of wounds 15th July 1916

Henry Charles was born in 1879 in Flintshire. He made his first appearance in a census in 1881. He was living at Wepre Farm, Northop with his family which comprised  of the head of household also called Henry Charles Carter. He was 43 and a ship broker originally from Newquay in Cornwall. His wife, Priscilla was 38 and the childen were Mary Jane 15, Sarah Peers 13, Eliza Maude10, John Peers 8, Minnie Cath 3, Henry Charles 1. Robert Sutton Marwood was a visitor and John Williams was a farm servant.

Ten years later in the census of 1891 the family still lived at Wepre Farm. Henry C was now 53 and still a ship broker (Agent). Priscilla was 48 and the children at home were  Elizabeth M 20, John P.  18 a Ship Broker’s Assistant. Minnie C 13, Henry C 11, Constance L 9 and Annie G 7 were all scholars.  Marian was 4.   They had all been born in Connahs’ Quay apart from Henry C (snr.)   Frances J Griffiths 14 was a general servant.

In the 1901 census the family had moved to 7 Church Street, Connah’s Quay. Priscilla was a 58 year old widow. Living at home with her were Catherine M a 23 year old school teacher, Henry C 21 an electrical engineer and Constance L a 19 year old music teacher. There were two grandsons with them. Evan J Lewis was 3 and had been born in Connah’s Quay and Christopher D Lewis was 1 and had been born in Calcutta India.  Maria Guest was a general servant.

In St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, on the 14th September 1909,  Henry Charles married Agnes Ferguson who was the daughter of Archibald Ferguson a ship builder.

The 1911 census records Henry Charles Carter 31 and Agnes 33, his wife  living at 48 Church Street, Connah’s Quay.  On this census Henry states he had been born in Sandycroft.

UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www,ancestry.co.uk gives us Henry Charles Carter’s regimental details as above and says that he enlisted in Chester. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ details his medals as above and  tells us that he first entered a theatre of war on 16th November 1915 and this was France. We know,  however, from newspaper reports (see below) that he served in Gallipoli in September that year.

Henry Charles Carter’s Army Service Records have survived but they are in a poor state and much is illegible. They are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk  and we can glean some of his story from some of the papers.  He enlisted on the 19th September 1914 and Attested in Chester. He was 35 years old, married and his trade was ‘draughtsman’. He had some military experience having served in the militia – possibly with the Cheshires (Difficult to read). He was described as being 5 feet 7 inches tall and he weighed 123lbs. His chest measured 36 inches with an expansion range of 3 and a half inches.  His complexion was sallow, eyes  blue and his hair was black.  His religion was C of E.

He was wounded in the lip with Shrapnel on the 15th December 1915 but was back in the field on the 19th December 1915.

The records contain details of his family. This was done on a ‘Living Relatives form’ which was completed on the 24th June 1919. His marriage to Agnes Fergurson was detailed as was the birth of their son John Peers on the 23rd August 1913. He was named after Henry’s elder brother, John Peers Carter, who was living in Cornwall according to the relatives form.  It also listed his five sisters, one of whom, Constance, was living in India.

The Records tell us that he was missing from the 15th July 1916 and eventually, it was regarded for official purposes that he had died on that day on the Somme.

Henry Charles Carter in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tell us that the sole Legatee was his widow Agnes Carter for herself and child, she was paid £2. 12s 10d on the 5th July 1917 and his War Gratuity of £ 8. 0s 0d on the 1st November 1919.

There is some correspondence between the army and Agnes regarding Henry’s personal effects, his medals and his commemorative plaque and scroll.
The newspaper cuttings transcribed below, are much more helpful in tracing Henry’s story than his army records are

COUNTY HERALD 10th September 1915 Letter from Corporal H. Carter

SEALAND

Lance-Corporal H. Carter, Garden City, promoted in the trenches for good work on the nights of August 10th and 11th, writes from St. Andrew’s Military Hospital, Malta, to Mr. & Mrs. Woolley, 51, High Street, Higham Ferrers, with whom he was friendly; – “Just a line to let you know that we are still in the land of the living.   Thank God for that, after what we have gone through.   We went straight to the Dardanelles from Higham, and we had it rough as soon as w e landed which we did on Sunday August 8th.   As soon as we landed they poured shrapnel into us, and we had casualties at once.   Well, our hearts were in our mouths but we pulled ourselves together and formed up as soon as possible, but we felt a bit queer at first.   We soon got used to them flying around us, and we made the best of it, but they made it too hot for us to stay there, so we had to move at once.   We found the shelter of a small hill, where we rested and fed that day and night.   We moved off at 3 a.m. on Monday and go as supports to the firing line.   We marched just the same as Higham until the Turks spotted us, and then the fun began.   We had orders to extend, which we did with all speed, and from there we had to advance four or five miles facing a murdering fire.   We advanced in rushes, but our chaps were getting mowed down, but we reached the trenches about 6 p.m.   You would have thought they would have given us a rest then, but from when we started to advance till Tuesday night we never had a minute’s rest.   Never mind, we pulled through, and we rested the best we could for a full day.   Then on Thursday we got the order to advance, which we did with a vengeance.   The Turks ran like rabbits, shouting “Allah, Allah!” but we gave them Allah – about a foot of cold steel!……………….”

COUNTY HERALD 25th August 1916

Missing Soldiers – We are informed that up to Tuesday this week no definite information had been received respecting Rifleman H.C. Carter of Church Road, Golftyn, Connah’s Quay, and Private George Rogers of 14, Stone Row, Connah’s Quay, both of whom are reported missing at the Front.

COUNTY HERALD 25th May 1917

The Late Rifleman Carter –Many friends in the Connah’s Quay district will regret to learn that official intimation has been received by his wife that Rifleman Henry C. Carter was presumed to be dead at the Front in July 1916.   The deceased was a very well known and greatly esteemed resident, and one who had been engaged in Church work many years in the St. Mark’s locality.   He served his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer at a local Works, and where he was afterwards employed as an estimator and designer.   He volunteered for military service soon after the commencement of the war.   The first news that he was missing was published some months since.   He was a member of the St. Mark’s Lodge of Freemasons.   Much sympathy is felt for his widow and family.

Henry Charles Carter is commemorated on a family gravestone in Connah’s Quay Cemetery. The inscriptions include the following

Henry Charles CARTER, Their Son of the CLB  1st Batt. Kings Royal Rifles who was reported missing in France at the Battle of Somme July 15th 1916 Aged 36 yrs.

“Fight the good fight”. 1Tim 6c 12v.

(Connah’s Quay Cemetery, Monumental Stones Volume 1 Page 23  Grave No:- JR3  12-13(Double Plot) – ( Granite Cross)

There is a card for Henry in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Archive Office in Hawarden. It gives the address 35 Dee View Road Connah’s Quay. It gives regimental details as above and says he enlisted 1st September  and was called to colours in October1914. It tells us he was missing and presumed killed on 15th July 1916.

Henry Charles Carter in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966; Probate Date: 20 Nov 1918 – CARTER, Henry Charles of 35 Dee View-road, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire a Private in the 16th Regiment King’s Royal Rifle Corps (No. C331) died on or since 15th July 1916 in France on active Military service. Probate St. Asaph 20 November to Agnes Carter widow, John Peers Carter and Hugh Jones Ferguson shipbrokers. Effects £647. 15s.