George Carter, Private 27303, 1st Leeds Pals
George Carter was born in Surfleet, near Spalding, in August 1896 according to his POW records, or 1895 according to the 1939 Register, which I think is more likely to be correct. His parents were John and Mary Ann Carter, she probably being Mary Ann Boor, and they had married in 1882. They had eleven children, four of whom did not survive, and George was the fifth son. He had four older brothers, William, Harry, Fred and John, who was possibly one that died, and three younger sisters, Holly, who may also have died, Nellie and Mary Rebecca. This leaves the possibility of another child who did not appear on a census, and at least two others that died. (Find My Past)
Surfleet was, and still is, a small village near Spalding, and Seas End, where the family lived for most of this period, was a small part of Surfleet. John was a farm labourer, and when the boys left school they followed the same trade. There is little information about George until he joined the army, and not a lot then.
In 1914 George was 19, but he did not join up until 11th December 1915, when it seems he joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and was given the number 27537. He was promoted to L/Corporal (unpaid). By April the following year he had been transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, with a new number, 27303, and was in Malta. Here he proved himself to be a not too efficient soldier, being on a charge twice, for being on parade with a dirty rifle and bayonet, and being unshaven on parade. Perhaps at this time he lost his stripe. He was then transferred to C Company, 15th Battalion, the Leeds Pals, and in December was sent to France.
On 3rd May 1917, during the Battle of Arras, he was listed as missing. In fact he had been wounded, a gunshot wound to his face which fractured his jaw. The Germans had captured him, and they sent him to hospital. He was put into Duisburg POW Camp, and from there went in February 1918 to Münster, Camp II, where he was recorded as still wounded, and probably unable to give full details, as there is no Next of Kin listed, and his place of birth was noted as Torfleet. On 24th April he was well enough to be moved to Münster, Camp III, but less than a month later he was repatriated, and came home via Boston. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)
He still ended up in hospital, this time the King George Hospital in London, where he was assessed and recommended for a medical discharge on account of his wound. He was discharged from the hospital and from the army on 20th September, and received a Silver War Badge, as the war at this point was still in progress. In February of 1919 he also received the King’s Certificate, recording his service. Later still he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)
He returned to Lincolnshire, to Surfleet, and unlike many wounded soldiers, managed to live a useful life. He married Gladys M Walker in March 1924, in Spalding, and they appear on the 1939 Register, along with Evelyn, Irene, John and Ivy, their children, plus two others whose records are still closed. They lived at 13 Broadgate, aka Holly Cottage. Next door at number 12 were John and Mary Ann, now OAPs, and next door to them, at number 11, lived Fred and his wife Elizabeth, and two children, Mary and Hilda. It is likely that George died in Spalding in March 1959, at the age of 63. (Find My Past)
Researcher: Peter Taylor, based on information from Keith Riggall, a descendant of George.
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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