William Henry Carter

Date of birth: 1898
Place of birth: West Bromwich, Staffordshire
Service No.: 260061, formerly 3454 Hampshire Regiment
Rank: Private
Regiment: Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Battalion: 1st
Died: 3rd August 1918 aged 21 years
Death location: France


Before the War
William was the 4th of 6 children born in 1898 to Benjamin (1865 – 1931) and Alice (nee Booth, 1863 – 1929).  His parents were married in Bilston, Staffordshire on 28th March 1891 and their address on the 1891 census was 25 Billhay Lane, West Bromwich.  The records show that William died aged 21 years, but the 1911 census shows his age as 12, so when he enlisted he may have given the wrong date of birth.

William’s siblings were:

Roland (04/05/1892 – 1971)
Roland enlisted in the Army Reserve on 16th February 1916.  At the time he was living at 27 Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool and working as a Ships Steward.  Roland left for France on 28th December 1917 and joined the Scots Guards in the field on 8th January 1918.  His service number was 16509 and he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.  Roland married Margaret Olafsen (1893 – 1948), on 19th July 1920 at St. Luke’s Church, Great Grimsby, Lincoln.  They emigrated to USA the same year.  Roland died in April 1971 in New Jersey.

Alice Amelia (1893)
There is a marriage record in Southampton 1915 for Alice A Carter to Frederick John Wilson and a death record for Alice A Wilson in Southampton in 1917, but there is no proof that these are correct for William’s sister.

Leonard (1895 – 1978)
Leonard emigrated to Australia on 9th February 1922.  He sailed from London aboard S.S. Berrima and arrived in Melbourne on 25th March 1922.  His occupation was recorded as ‘machinist’.  He died in Heidelberg, Victoria in 1978.

Albert (1902)
Albert emigrated to USA on 17th August 1921.  He sailed on S.S. Adriatic and arrived in New York on 25th August 1921.  The 1930 US census shows an Albert Carter, living as a boarder, at Maple Street, Kingston, Luzerne, Pennsylvania.  It shows that he came to America in 1921, so this may be William’s brother.

Doris Winifred (12/02/1905 – 1986)
Married Stanley Thomas Alloway (1905 – 29/08/1964) in Southampton in 1929.

On the 1901 census William and his family were living at 6 Drummond Road, Itchen, Southampton.  His father was employed as a Hydraulic Crane Driver in the docks.  This road does not appear to be in existence anymore, but there is a Drummond Court.

The 1911 census shows that the family lived at 22 Woodside Road, Portswood, Southampton.  William’s father was in the same employment.  His sister Alice was a Housemaid and his brother Leonard was an Errand Boy for a Fishmongers.  William’s brother Roland was not listed at this address.  When William enlisted in the Army Reserve on 28th December 1917 he was living at 27 Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool and working as a Ships Steward so he may have been at sea for the 1911 census.

The Kelly’s Street Directories from 1912 to 1925 show that William’s father, Benjamin, lived at 22 Woodside Road, but from 1931 neither he nor Alice were recorded as living here.


Military History
William’s service number was 260061.  Service numbers 26000 to 260999 were issued during the First World War  as part of a sequence allocated from 1st March 1917, and mostly issued to those servicemen who were transferred from the Hampshire Regiment.

Prior to joining the 1St Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry William served in the Hampshire Regiment, service number 3454.

The 1st Battalion of the  Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry was sent to France in August 1914 and remained there for all but six months of the war.   From December 1917 to April 1918 they were deployed to Italy.

William was one of 107 men who joined the Battalion on 3rd July 1918, at La Lacque Camp.

An entry from the War Diary of 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry for that day read:
“Companies at disposal of Company Commanders from 9am to 12.30pm.  Physical drill, Bayonet fighting and Company drill being practised.  Football match between the left and right half battalion was played in the afternoon.  Left half winning by three goals to nil.”

The Battalion remained at La Lacque Camp until 11th/12th  of July, when it was relieved by the 12th Battalion Gloucester Regiment and withdrew to Villorba Camp.

An entry form the War Diary for the 15th July 1918 read:
“Fine day with occasional showers.  Battalion found usual working parties throughout the day and night.  Trials for Brigade Swimming Competition were held in the afternoon”

 On the 17th July the Battalion was relieved by the 2nd Kings Own Scottish Borderers and withdrew to Arcade Camp, relieving 14th Royal Warwickshires.

William had a short spell of leave and returned on 23rd July 1918.  On this day his Battalion was relieved by the Norfolk Regiment and moved to relieve 16th Royal Warwickshires in the left sub-sector of the line at Plate Becque.

Orders were reported in the War Diary of 30th July:
“The following reliefs will take place on the night of 30th/31st :-
1/E. SURREYS will relieve 1/DEVONS in the RIGHT  Sub. Sector.  12th Gloucesters will relieve 1/D.C.L.I. in the LEFT Sub. Sector.
On relief the 1/D.C.L.I. will withdraw to support, and take over trenches vacated by 1/E.SURREYS”

William’s Battalion remained in the trenches until they were relieved on the night of 5th/6th August 1918.

William was killed in action on 3rd August 1918.  An entry from the War Diary for this date read:
“Heavy showers with bright intervals.  Pretty quiet day.  One enemy plane crossed our line during the evening and dropped 2 bombs.  Companies cleaning and draining trenches by day and working parties were found at night.”

It cannot be confirmed that this is how and where William died.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

William is buried at Thiennes British Cemetery   Row F. Grave 2.  This cemetery is one of those in the area of French Flanders and the battlefields of this area range from the French-Belgian border at Armentieres to Arras.  There are 114 First World War burials in the cemetery.
The inscription on William’s grave reads:

‘260061 Private W. H. Carter
Duke of Cornwall’s L. I.
3rd August 1918 Age 21’

 He is also remembered on a Marble Plaque at the Church of the Holy Saviour, Bitterne.


Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 31st July 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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