Stop number BLUE 9: To the right of Vincent Wilk(e)s you will see the memorial headstone for Edward Carter.
Memorial to E Carter
Read his story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for Mrs Peddle.
Edward Carter's memorial
Oxford Road (SWOP RHW01156)
Edward Carter 1879-1916
My name’s Edward Carter, although everyone called me Pat. We live, we fight, we honour and we die. But we do it for our country and our families. And that’s what’s important.
I was born in the year 1879 to my loving parents Josiah Thomas & Alice Carter. I had an older brother, Fredrick Carter, who was born in 1874, and four sisters. We shared some fun and rather memorable times together although things changed when my mother died, aged 40, in 1887.
It wasn’t long before I began to bore over an evening of chores. Even the odd treat of snakes and ladders with Fredrick was beginning to get old. I wanted things to be better, I wanted to do something more with my life. So that’s when my father introduced me to the art of chair making. But not everyone thought much of it. Being a chair turner wasn’t at all the change or purpose I was looking for. Nonetheless, I suppose I ought to thank Father for guiding me in that direction, for that was when I first met Minnie, she was my best friend and it was thereafter when I made perhaps one of the best decisions of my life – to marry her and have a family of my own. We married in Wycombe in 1900. I went to work for one of the bigger furniture companies in the town, James Cox and Son in Oxford Road. It was one of the first companies to employ salesmen and we had our own showroom in London. I worked for them for 15 years.
The next few years seemed to pass by very quickly. We lived together in our own house: number 89 on Oxford Road and we had 4 children, two girls and two boys. The eldest girl we called Alice after my mother.
Apart from my family my other great love was football and I played for many local teams including Wycombe Wanderers. We won the Wycombe Cup in 1904. The Bucks Free Press said that my play could hardly be described as classical but I was a hard worker and possessed sound judgement!
Many spoke of Britain’s greatest battle that was yet to come and said that they would need me, they would need us in the British Army. Indeed, the sequence of battles that you commonly call the First World War was beginning and I along with hundreds and thousands of others decided in join up. In May 1915 I signed up with my good friend Charles Massey. He was to survive the war, although he was captured and held by the Germans for two years. I left my beloved wife, Minnie Carter, with a patriotic tear in my eye for the country I so dearly loved. But I also said goodbye to Fredrick, my close brother who had also signed up but joined a different regiment known as the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He smiled at me and shook my hand ... for the last time. This was it, an adventure: a chance to represent my country on the battlefield – and see somewhere different.
I was a part of the Oxford and Bucks Light infantry: 2nd battalion. I served my purpose as a man of the army, a proud and honourable British Soldier – but I was good at it too and was promoted to become a Lance Corporal. I had been made part of a small sapping platoon; we constructed trenches and other engineering tasks. On the 30th of July 1916 (an extremely hot and humid day with highs of 28 degrees) we moved to the front line trenches near Waterlot Farm. We were making progress to the east of Trones Wood but then the Germans started bombing us down with heavy artillery. We were aiming to take the village of Guillemont - I along with the hundreds of other men battled bravely that day and we had over 200 casualties. I was one of them when a shell killed me instantly. One of my Wycombe friends Albert Ball told my wife that I would be missed as I often entertained them by playing the mouth organ. We live, we fight, we honour and we die; we do it for our country and our families.
My brother Frederick was injured in early 1918 and although he reached home, he died from his wounds in December 1918, just as everyone was celebrating the end of the war.
Edward Carter researched and performed by Dylan Thakker To see the performance on YouTube click here.