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The Fallen of Kirkby

John Carter

The Arras Memorial
The Arras Memorial
  • Of Sandside Cottage, Sandside.
  • Son of Joseph Hartley Carter and Eleanor Carter, later of 13 Hall Street, Dalton-in-Furness.
  • Private, 42563, 10th (Service) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment (“Grimsby Chums”).
  • Formerly Private, 36468, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
  • Killed in Action 22 March 1918, aged 26.
  • Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bays 3 and 4 and on the War Memorial of St. James’s Church, Grimsby.

Joseph Carter was an iron ore miner living in Sandside in 1911 with his wife Eleanor. John, sometimes known as Jack, was their first child, born in about 1893 when they were 21 and 23 respectively. Four more children, Lizzie, Lena, James and Eleanor Ann, followed at two year intervals. John was a farm labourer in 1911, living in at the farm of William Coward in Beckside. (At that time his parents were still living in Sandside, and had another daughter, Hilda Mary, aged 6. Sometime later the family moved to Dalton.)

The Carters lived here at Sandside Cottage (since demolished) (pictures :Julie Rushton)
The Carters lived here at Sandside Cottage (since demolished) (pictures :Julie Rushton)

The Carters lived here at Sandside Cottage (since demolished). (Pictures: Julie Rushton)

John Carter enlisted in Barrow in the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, but was apparently transferred to the 10th Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment in the field, probably to help fill the gap following the Grimsby Chums’ disastrous losses at La Boiselle in the Battle of the Somme, when on the first morning the battalion lost 15 officers and 487 men. Depending on the date of his transfer, Carter may have fought with the Lincolns near Arras in May/June 1917, and at Passchendaele in October 1917 before being killed in the 1918 German Spring Offensive, also known as:

The Ludendorff Offensive

The Ludendorff Offensive began at 0930 on 21st March 1918, when 1 million German soldiers attacked along a 50 mile front between Arras and St Quentin. By 5th April the German lines had advanced 40 miles, at a cost of 200,000 casualties on both sides.

At the time of the attack the 10th Battalion of the Lincolns was in reserve, and was ordered forward at 1450 the same day. After a pause during the night of 21st March, the German attack was resumed at 0200 on the morning of 22nd, when A, B and D Companies were in the line; all three Companies, who had been defending Henin Hill near the village of Croisilles, were forced to retreat to the Sensée River. In two days, the Grimsby Pals Battalion suffered 159 casualties, of which 52 died. John Carter of Kirkby-in-Furness, aged 26, was among them. Their Commanding Officer, Colonel Blockley, while acknowledging a most serious loss, was proud of his men under the circumstances they faced: ‘It will be seen how well each Company of the Chums supported each other, often taking considerable risks to do so,’ he wrote.

Map showing the extent of the German gains in the 1918 Spring Offensive
Map showing the extent of the German gains in the 1918 Spring Offensive

John Carter was killed near Arras on 22nd March.

On 18th May 1918 the Barrow Guardian reported on page 3:

KIRKBY.
SOLDIER MISSING – Mr. and Mrs. J. Carter, Sandside, have received word from the War Office that their eldest son is reported missing.

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