Arthur Henry Carter

31890, Private, 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died on the 29th May 1918 aged 20.

Arthur was the son of George & Caroline Carter of the High Street, Walkern. At the time of his death the Battalion were in the frontline at Forceville. However, Arthur is believed to have died as a result of disease rather than combat injuries.

His brother Reginald died in Germany whilst a Prisoner Of War.

Arthur is buried in the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, St.Radegonde, France. (5.E.7.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Ernest Carter

203345, Private, 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on 30th October 1917 aged 19.

Tyne Cot Memorial - Belgium

Ernest was the son of George and Edith Carter and was to lose his life during the closing stages of  The Third Ypres, or Battle of  Passchendaele.

The offensive had been launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The area had suffered the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with intensive shelling from both sides, had turned the ground into a hellish morass.

On the 30th October 1917 the Battalion were in the frontline at Ourton when they were ordered to attack an enemy strong-point. The ground was described as being very “boggy” and the Battalion only managed to move forward by 150 yards. However, this slight movement in the line cost the lives of 2 officers and 73 men, one of whom was Ernest Carter.

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zillebeke, Belgium. (Panel 48/50.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

George Augustus Carter

30203, Private, 2nd East Lancashire Regiment, (24th Brigade. 8th Division).

( Formerly 28097 Norfolk Regiment ).

Killed In Action on the 31st July 1917 aged 35.

George was the eldest son of Edward & Emma Carter of Aston End. He was one of three brothers who were serving during the war both of  whom were, at the time of his death, Prisoners of War. He was to lose his life on the first day of a major British offensive, The Battle of  Passchendaele, which was launched on 31 July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6 November.

The offensive resulted in gains for the Allies but was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The village of St. Juliaan lies on the Hanebeek, one of the small streams that drains the fields in this area. On the 18th July 1917 a heavy preliminary artillery bombardment began which lasted for the ten days prior to the launch of the attack. The bombardment was made by 3,000 guns which expended four and a quarter million shells into the surrounding ground.  Given such an onslaught the German Fourth Army fully expected the attack and the element of surprise was entirely lost. Added to this was the fact that the area was suffering the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with the shelling, turned the ground into a hellish morass.

On the 31st July the Battalion attack was set to commence at 3.50am and their objective was the German trenches at Bellewarde Ridge. Although the Battalion managed to reach it’s objective quite quickly their supporting troops, the men of the 17th Manchester Regiment, were held up and as a result the right flank was exposed. The Germans quickly exploited this advantage and attacked the Battalion with heavy machine gun fire, causing considerable casualties. A total of 92 men were either killed or missing, one of whom was George Carter.

He is buried in the Aeroplane Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. (2.C.39.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal 

George Sidney Carter MC

Second Lieutenant, "A" Company, 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment

Died of Wounds on the 28th November 1917 aged 19

Second Lieutenant George Sidney Carter MC

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

Reginald Carter

266935, Private, "D" Company, 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment.

Died 28th November 1918 aged 23.

Reginald was born on the 21st December 1895, the son of George & Caroline Carter of the High Street, Walkern.

He was taken prisoner on the 31st July 1917, when the Hertfordshire Regiment suffered devastating losses at St. Julien on the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as the Battle of Passchendaele.    He was held in the Niederzwehren camp where conditions were almost intolerable. Many prisoners were only given very rudimentary treatment for any wounds or infections that had received. Additionally, food was very meagre and many men died of malnutrition.

His brother, Arthur, died in France on the 29th May 1918.

Reginald is buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. (4.M.7.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Albert Lewis Catlin

18957, Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed in Action on the 5th September 1916 aged 32

The grave of Lance Corporal Albert Lewis Catlin in the Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France.

Albert was the son of Susan Catlin of High Street, Graveley and the husband of Mary Catlin of 47 Alleyns Road, Stevenage.

He arrived in France with his Battalion on the 13th May 1915, and was killed during the Somme offensive following an attack on Falfemont Farm, a German fortified strong-point to the South-east of an area known as Wedge Wood. The Battalion successfully captured the farm in the early hours of the 5th September 1916. However, there was no part of the farm left standing and, as result no real shelter for the assaulting battalions, who had to spend the night in the open. Early in the morning the Germans shelled the area and the battalion suffered many casualties, among which is believed to have been Albert Catlin.

He is buried in the Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France. (27.D.1.)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

David Chalkley

8433, Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 4th September 1916 aged 34.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

David was born in Aston. He arrived in France with his Battalion on the 16th August 1914 and served almost continuously on the Western Front.

During the morning of 4th September 1916, British artillery persistently shelled the line his Battalion were holding, and in spite of several reports, matters remained the same. Finally, two of the forward trenches had to be evacuated as the men were all being buried. In doing so, the enemy opened up with machine guns on them and there were several casualties. Quite apart from its moral effect some 30 men were killed or wounded by our own guns, one of whom was Lance Corporal David Chalkley.

He has no know grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.(Pier and Face 2 C )

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star & Clasp, British War Medal & Victory Medal

William Noah Chalkley

241933, Private, 2nd/5th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment

Died on the 11th April 1918 aged 42

Private William Noah Chalkley

William was the son of William & Eliza Chalkley of Letchmore Green, Stevenage. He married Jane Aldridge in the parish church at Graveley, Hertfordshire, on the 24th September 1898 and the couple lived in Walkern Road, Stevenage, where they had their first child, Cecil. William listed his occupation at that time as a Domestic Coachman but by 1911 he had become a publican, occupying a premises in Silver Street, Stanstead, Essex. By this time the couple had an additional three children, Clarice Maud, Lesley John and Alfred Percy. The family later moved back to Stevenage where they lived at 42 Alleyns Road.

William was called up for service in the Army on the 12th July 1916 at the age of 40, initially applying to join the Army Service Corps, but was posted to the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, part of the Territorial Army. The Battalion only served in the UK and William did not serve overseas. Whilst in the performance of his duties at Chelmsford, Essex, in May 1917 he caught a serious cold and a cough. The cough persisted and he was admitted to hospital at Christmas 1917 where was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. William was examined at No.1 Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, on the 2nd February 1918 and was recommended for a discharge. The Army attempted to place him in a sanatorium but William refused and requested to be sent home, which was now at 56 Stanmore Road, Stevenage, so that he could be nursed by his wife. He was discharged from the Army on the 27th February 1918 and his wife looked after him for six weeks but eventually he succumbed to his illness and died.

He is buried at St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

Headstone Inscription: "And With The Morn Those Angel Faces Smile Which I Have Loved Long Since And Lost Awhile"

As William had not served overseas he was not entitled to any of the Great War campaign medals.

Arthur Chamberlain

134873, Sapper, “Z” Special Company, Royal Engineers

Killed in Action on the 3rd April 1917 aged 25

Sapper Arthur Chamberlain

Arthur was the son of Eli & Julia Chamberlain of 125 High Street, Stevenage. Before joining the Army he worked in his father’s Plumbing & Gas fitting business which may be the reason why he was selected to serve in a special unit of the Royal Engineers.

He was serving in “Z” company of the Royal Engineers which was a unit specialising in the use of Gas & Flame Projectors. On the 3rd April 1917 the company were proceeding along the Lille Road near Arras when they were heavily shelled by German artillery, killing Arthur Chamberlain and his Sergeant, Reginald Richard Ford MM, and seriously wounding their officer, Lieutenant Clement Stuart Hogg, who died three days later from his injuries at a Casualty Clearing Station near Aubigny.

The casualties were;

Lieutenant Clement Stuart HOGG aged 25 of Clapham, London.

He had previously served with the Royal Fusiliers and received his Commission on the 4th February 1917. Clement Hogg is buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

19883 Sergeant Reginald Richard FORD M.M. aged 29 of Cullompton, Devon.

He had served in the Army since 1910 and had been wounded on several occasions. Reginald Ford has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial (Bay 1.)

Arthur Chamberlain is buried in the St.Nicholas British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France. (Grave Reference: I.A.1.). His grave number indicates that he was the first soldier to be buried in this cemetery, which lays behind a housing estate on the outskirts of Arras.

Headstone Inscription: "Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away"

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal