Sergeant 15/177, The Leeds Pals

1885: Ralph was born at the end of this year, in Huddersfield, the son of Charles Carter, a French polisher originally from London, and Ruth Shaw, who had married in 1881. He was their third child, out of seven. He had two older brothers, Frank and Arthur, and he was followed by Ellen, William Shaw, Jessie and Sarah Annie.

1891 Census: The family had now moved to Leeds, the Brunswick ward, where their last four children were born.

1901 Census: Frank was now an estate agent’s clerk, Arthur followed his father’s trade, but Ralph was listed as a carpenter joiner.

1911 Census: The family was now living at 73 Leicester Place, off Blackman Lane, and Ralph had graduated to billiard table maker.

1914: When war was declared Ralph was twenty-eight, and volunteered straight away, along with his younger brother William, both being listed together on the applications to join, and William, who also reached the rank of sergeant, having the number 15/178.

Ralph was posted to B Company, and after initial training he went with the battalion to Egypt in December 1915, having already reached the rank of sergeant. In March of 1916 he went to France, but, due to inefficiency, unspecified, he was reduced to corporal, and didn’t regain his sergeant’s rank until February of 1917, by which time he had been posted to another regiment.

On 2nd July 1916 he was wounded by a shell in his right leg, and six days later was sent back to England on a hospital ship, having got the desired ‘blighty’ wound. On his return to France in October he was transferred to 3rd Battalion, The Yorks and Lancs, in which regiment he saw out the rest of the war, and also distinguished himself in the retreat of 1918, when he was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the field.

He was discharged to Class Z on 16th March 1919, and was subsequently awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.