Second Lieutenant, "A" Company, 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died of Wounds on the 28th November 1917 aged 19
George Carter was born in Weston on the 16th May 1898 the youngest son of John & Clara Carter. After completing his education George became a Gardner by occupation and would have remained so if it had not been for the onset of war.
On the 8th September 1914 George Carter, who was now living at 3 Huntingdon Road, Stevenage was attested at Hitchin for service in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was immediately accepted for military service. Although he was only 16 years-old, he gave his age as 19. This small matter appears to have been of no consequence to the recruiting officer and he was whisked off for a period of basic training. Once his training was complete George was transferred, on the 31st October 1914, to the 11th East Surrey Regiment. This was a Reserve Battalion stationed at Dartmouth and it was here, a few weeks later, on the 12th December that he was promoted to Corporal. Two weeks later on Boxing Day 1914 he was promoted to Sergeant. He remained with the Battalion until the summer of 1915 when it moved to Colchester and on 25th August 1915 was transferred to the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles and the following day left for service in France. He remained in France until the 28th January 1916 when he was shipped home. George remained in England throughout the spring of 1916 until the 28th August when he was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles. The Battalion was serving in Salonika at the time and George remained with them until January 1917 when he returned home to undertake a commission. During his service in Salonika George had completed his will which left all his estates to his mother.
After returning to England he was accepted at No.19 Officer Cadet Battalion in Purbright on the 15th March 1917 and an excited George arrived at Kingston station under Railway Warrant number 660395 to begin his new career. After the completion of his training he was posted to the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Rifles and returned to France on the 25th August 1917. It had been some 18 months since he had been on the Western Front and by now it had become a living hell of mechanised destruction and death. On the 20th November 1917 the Battalion was situated 2000 yards West of Bellicourt, mid-way between Cambrai and St Quentin, when a trench raiding party was organised. The objective was for the raiding party to capture or kill any enemy troops in the front line and blow in any dugouts that were situated in a sunken road just beyond the front line. There were five parties and George Carter led No.1 party which contained six other ranks.
At 6.30am they set off at the Eastern end of a trench known as Fish Lane to enter the enemy front line and 90 seconds later they were at the entrance to the enemy trenches where they encountered a coil of concertina wire. George Carter cut a gap through the wire and as he did so two German’s threw several grenades towards the party which killed one of the raiders and wounded George, his senior NCO, Sergeant Bell, and a Private. At this point two other Privates, Mortimer and Bell picked up George Carter and, under enemy fire, carried him back to the British trenches. Sergeant Bell, although wounded, then attacked the German grenade throwers with his own grenades and killed them both. He then returned to the parties and reorganised them to continue the raid but was ordered to withdraw. The Battalion Commander, Major Thomas Hutchinson Sabine Swanton, believed that the raiders may have been spotted as they assembled for the attack and commended all those involved for their efforts. Three of the raiders, Lance Corporal Henry Millard, Private Frederick Prested and Private James Hunt were all killed during the action.
George Carter was evacuated to No.13 Field Ambulance with multiple wounds and later transferred to No.8 General Hospital in Rouen. A telegram was sent to his parents and his mother was given permission to visit him in hospital. He died from the effects of his wounds at 2am on the 28th November 1917. The officer commanding the hospital handed his effects to his mother.
He was awarded the Military Cross on 25/04/18 and the citation in the London Gazette read, “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid. Whilst cutting the wire on an enemy parapet he was very seriously wounded by a bomb. Although completely crippled he continued to cheer on his men till he saw that they had entered the enemy trench”.
George Carter is buried in the St.Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France. (Grave Reference: B.3.19.)
Medal Entitlement: Military Cross, 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal