CARTER, William Pearce

No.G/35159, Private, William Pearce CARTER
Aged 32

7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Killed in Action on Monday, 13th November 1916

William Pearce Carter was born in Denston (Risbridge Q1-1884 4A:601), son of Jaazaniah and Janet CARTER (née PEARCE).

1891 census...Aged 7, he was at Bury Road, Denston with his father Jaazaniah CARTER [34] watch maker and registrar of marriages, born Stansfield; his mother Janet [36] born Bloomsbury, Middlesex; sisters Emily [4] and Nellie [2] both born Denston.

1901 census... Aged 17, assistant to his father, he was still at Bury Road, Denston with his parents, sister Nellie and grandfather, widower James PEARCE [79] born Clapham, Surrey.

1911 census... Aged 27, assisting his father as Journeyman Watchmaker, he was at The Street, Denston with his parents

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds when resident in Newmarket. From their regimental numbers is seems William Carter and George Moore joined the Fusiliers on the same day.
The "Royal Fusiliers in the Great War" (H.C.O'Neill OBE) tells us that the 7th Battalion, which formed part of the 190th Brigade of the 63rd Naval Division were engaged immediately north of the River Ancre. At 5:45 am "C" and "D" Coys advanced, with the Hon Artillery Coy on their right. On heir left was a redoubt which for the whole day formed a salient into the British position. Both lead companies met heavy rifle and machine gun fire. The first two waves of "C" Coy were held up by German wire and, losing heavily, were forced to return to their starting point. In our front line then were the second two waves and about 60 men from other battalions. It was so foggy that no one could really see what was happening, but another advance was made with all the men in the trench. All the platoon commanders quickly became casualties, but the German line was rushed. In it were 20 dead German, 1 officer and 50 men surrendered.
The line was consolidated, and a Sgt and 13 men were left to hold the strong-point while progress was made to the Green line, which was reached with few casualties except from snipers and was held until about 9 pm, when they were relieved by the HAC.
Meanwhile "D" Coy had made three attempts to advance and by the end of the third attempt they were down to 50 men, so they held just n front off the German wire for 4 1/2 hours before being ordered back to the British front line.

CWGC has 116 men of the 7th Battalion killed that day.

The Bury Free Press of 16th June 1917 reported

After months of suspense, Mr. and Mrs. J. Carter have received definite news of the death of their only son, Prvt.W.P.Carte, 7th Royal Fusiliers,who was officially reported 'missing' and then 'killed in action'.
His Sergeant (now in hospital) writes:-"I saw your son instantly killed by machine gun fire in front of a redoubt on November 13th 1916. He was buried in a shell hole between Hamel and Beaumont, not far from where he fell, quite decently under the circumstances. He was in good spirits up to the last, and died a hero's death. He was one of our best men, and it came as a great shock to us to lose him. I am very sorry for you, and yet glad to be able to ease your minds, and you have comfort in knowing he died a gallant death doing his duty as a soldier and a man".
We extend to the bereaved parents of this gallant soldier our sincere sympathy in the loss of their only son.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Carter is buried in Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel grave 3:C:53

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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