CARTER, Sidney Charles

No.46773, Rifleman, Sidney Charles CARTER
Aged 35

2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade
formerly No 6482, 2nd battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Monday, 27th May 1918
An Old Contemptible

Sidney Charles Carter was born in Great Cornard (Sudbury Q2-1884 4A:609), son of Nathan and Elizabeth CARTER (née KEMP),later of 85, Elveden Estate, Thetford.

1891 census...Aged 7, he was at "Cuckoo's", Sible Hedingham with his father Nathan CARTER [38] a brickmaker born Great Cornard; his mother Elizabeth [38] born Bures; brothers Ernest [16] born Chilton, Albert [14] born Gt Cornard, both brickmaker's assistants, Herbert [3] and John [2 months] both born in Sible Hedingham; sisters Alice [12] born Gt Cornard and Rose [4] born Sible Hedingham.

1901 census...Aged 17, a stableman, he was lodging at 12 Middleborough, Colchester with Edwin and Annie CORNISH and their three children. His parents had moved to Brandon Road, Elveden with his brothers Ernest, Albert, Herbert and John, and sister Rose.

1911 census...Aged 27, a kitchen porter, he was boarding with Edwin and Lydia KIMPTON at 19 Rutland Street, Brompton, SW London. His parents were at Brandon Road, Elveden with his brother Ernest ( a gas stoker at Elveden gasworks)) and his wife Norah Lily [29] born Bramfield, brothers Herberts and David both brickmakers. It appears that John has become David. One sibling had died.

He married Margaret May ROLFE at St Jude's Church, Kensal Green, London on 21st April 1914. Their son Sidney George CARTER was born in Tring on 27th April 1915. His wife received his 1914 Star when residing at Merivale, Brook Street, Aston Clinton, Tring, Herts in September 1919.

His cousin Herbert John CARTER whose parents Meshech and Ellen also moved to Elveden was killed in Belgium in 1917.

He enlisted in London when resident in Paddington.
Sidney initially joined the Suffolk Regiment, his service record is in the pension documents on line. Completing his service in 1916, he seems to have re enlisted in the Rifle Brigade but little is found regarding this. Soldiers Died and CWGC have him in the Rifle Brigade.. CWGC records indicate the family is the same, but strangely nowhere is there found mention of Suffolk regiment and Rifle Brigade in the same documentation except on his medal index card. Maybe he forgot to tell the Army of his previous service when he enlisted in the Rifle Brigade. His family appear to have actually received two sets of medals Pip Squeak and Wilfred as a Suffolk man and Mutt and Jeff as the Rifleman, and returned the Rifle Brigade pair. He would also seem to have qualified for the clasp to the 1914 star since the 2nd Suffolks most certainly came under fire in August 1914, but perhaps it was just not claimed.

His Suffolk Regiment records part of the pensions records show that he enlisted for 3 years in the colours and 9 on Reserve at Bury St Edmund on 5th May 1903. He gave his age as 19 years 2 months, born Sudbury and a brickmaker.He was 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm)tall, weighed 117 lbs (53.2 kg), chest 33" to 35" (83.8 to 88.9 cm), blue eyed with brown hair and Church of England.
Posted to Depot on 5th May 1903m, then to 1st Battalion on 21st August 1903 and the 2nd Battalion on 28th January 1905. He left UK on HT Soudan on 28th January 1905 and on RIMS Dunfermlin on 15th March 1905 he reached Madras, India. He completed his 3 years in the colours on 8th March 1906, returning to Gosport and transfer to the Reserves on 4th May 1906. He had gained 1 inch in height. Gave his intended address as 85, Brandon Cottages, Elveden, Thetford. His one failing appears to have been gambling as he was punished three time for gambling in barracks.

He was mobilised at Bury St Edmunds on 5th August 1914 and posted to the 2nd battalion on that day. He served with the 2nd battalion in the British Expeditionary Force from 12th August 1914 until 27th April 1916 when he was discharged, having served his 12 years. His intended address on discharge was 13 Charles Street, Tring, Herts. He seems not to have been wounded, his admissions to hospital or CCS were for sicknesses.
His total service actually exceeded 12 years, being 13 years 7 days. He had gained permission whilst on Reserve to have 2 months leave in France from 25th July 1907, and again on 1909 to Switzerland. This was to enable to retain his employment and travel with is employer (who does not seem to be mentioned by name, but the address given was Sunderland House, Curzon Street, home of the Duke of Marlborough, which may have influenced the Army. Apart from CWGC, "Soldiers Died" "Army Register of Soldiers Effects" and his medal index card there appears to be no other documentation showing the Rifle Brigade, and none of these show enlistment dates.

The 2nd battalion war diary for 27th May 1918:-
"German attack started. Barrage opened at 1 a.m.and the battalion front was heavily gassed and trench mortared at 4 a.m. The enemy attacked using tanks. The battalion suffered very heavy casualties during the preliminary bombardment and attack. The remnants retired to the second line and thence over the AISNE by GERNICOURT and held that village until forced to withdraw towards GUYENCOURT. Lt.Col.Richardson was wounded. Capt D Heaton-Elis killed, 2nd Lts Hoare, Denison, Lowder and Halford wounded.
60 details (Lewis Gun) went up at 12 noon under 2/Lt R.C.Ellis, who was killed. 44 other ranks went up under Capt E Boughton-Leigh and 2.Lt J Nettleton at 9 p.m.
28-5-18 Remnants of battalion still in the line. Casualties estimated at 27 officers and 680 other ranks.

Bearing mind that a battalion was roughly 1,000 men this was a very bad mauling. CWGC records 73 killed 27th/28th May

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sidney Carter is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial
and also on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)

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