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Thomas Carter was born and brought up in Preston the son of James and Ann Eliza Carter (nee Daggers). He was one of fifteen children the couple had although sadly five of those died in infancy. James and Ann were married on the 31 March, 1888 in St. Saviour`s Church in Preston and they already had a two year old son Edward (1886) when they married.

The rest of the children arrived at fairly frequent intervals; Joseph (1888), Ruth (1889), William (1891), Thomas (7 May, 1893)*, Alice Ann (1895), John (1898), Violet Ruby (1901), Mary Jane (1904), and Sarah Ellen (1908).

Thomas`s parents spent the early part of their marriage living with Ann Eliza`s mother at 31 Queen Street but by 1901 the couple had moved into their own home in the same street living at number 42.

In 1911 the census shows James and Ann with Thomas and eight of his brothers and sisters living in five rooms at number 81 Queen Street. Thomas`s father was a coal cart driver and the six eldest children including Thomas were all mill workers.

Thomas enlisted into the Territorial Force at Preston in about 1911 and at the time he was working as a spinner at Messrs. Horrocks and Crewdson & Co. Unfortunately his service papers have not survived so very little additional information is available.

According to his Medal Index Card Thomas disembarked in France on the 12 August, 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force.

On the 22 October, 1914 the 1st Battalion moved north to Boesinghe, near Ypres in readiness for their part in the First Battle of Ypres. On the 22nd October they were ordered to march to Pilkem reaching there just after dawn the following day. They were then ordered to attack the German trenches and as soon as it became light enough the Battalion moved forward to the attack.

“C” Company was on the right and “A” on the left advancing by sections under Major A.J. Carter. They advanced to within 300 yards of the trenches and then began to come under heavy shell fire. The order to fix bayonets was given; a bugle sounded the charge and with loud cheers the Battalion dashed forward. In less than ten minutes the Battalion had carried the trenches and cleared them of the enemy. They took 600 prisoners which would have been more had they not been hampered by our own artillery.

The Battalion was later relieved by a French Territorial Regiment and the 1st Battalion withdrew to Ypres, arriving there in the early morning of the 25th October.

In this action the Battalion had 2 Officers killed and another four wounded, while 178 other ranks were killed, wounded or missing. Sadly, this was where Thomas Carter`s war came to an end.

After the Military Authorities had notified Thomas`s parents of their son`s death they placed the following photograph in the local paper.

Carter 1

De Ruvigny`s Roll of Honour states that Thomas was buried at Langemarcke after he died. However, the CWGC record states that he is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) so it`s very likely that his grave was probably lost in subsequent fighting in the area.

Thomas was awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his sacrifice for his country.

Thomas is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Library in Preston.

Carter 2

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 10269
Date of Death: 23/10/1914
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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