CARTER, Robert Cecil
(Service number 7/1981)
|First Rank||Sergeant||Last Rank||Lance Corporal|
|Date||19 February 1890||Place of Birth||Rockpool, Pleasant Point|
|Date||13 October 1915||Age||25 years 6 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Rock Pool, Pleasant Point|
|Previous Military Experience||Otago High School Cadets, 3 years.|
|Next of Kin||David CARTER (father), Rock Pool, Pleasant Point, Timaru. Later of Mt Gay, Hazelburn, Timaru.|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 6 feet 1 inch. Weight 174 lbs. Chest measurement 35½ -38 in. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight and hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth serviceable. Free from hernia, variococele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects.|
|Served with||New Zealand Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||9th Reinforcements Canterbury Mounted Rifles, C Squadron|
|Date||8 January 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Western European|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal.|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
30 May 1916 - admitted No. 23 General Hospital, Etaples. 23 June 1916 admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, England, with pneumonia; 15 August 1916 progressing favourably. 8 September 1916 transferred to NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst. 1917, spent time in hospital suffering from severe shell-shock. Wounded & discharged to duty July 23rd 1918. Wounded in action 26 August 1918 - gunshot wound legs, compound fracture both legs.
|Date||27 August 1918||Age||28 years|
|Place of Death||Main Dressing Station of No. 1 N.Z. Field Ambulance, in the Field, France.|
|Cause||Died of wounds received in action.|
|Notices||Otago Daily Times, 19 September 1918; Otago Witness, 25 September 1918|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Shrine Cemetery, Bucquoy, Pas de Calais, France. Pleasant Point Cemetery - memorial on parents' headstone|
|Memorial Reference||II. B. 5. Pleasant Point Cemetery - General Section, Row 3, Plot 204.|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall; Hazelburn District War Memorial; Otago Boys' High School War Memorial; Plaque at St David's Church, Raincliff|
Robert Cecil Carter, known as Bob, was the third son of David Taylor Carter, one of the oldest settlers in the Pleasant Point district, and Elizabeth Maud née Cummings, of Rockpool Farm, Pleasant Point. David Taylor Carter, one of the oldest settlers in the Pleasant Point district, had come to New Zealand in 1873 and taken up Rockpool, marrying Elizabeth Cummings in 1878. Robert was born at Rockpool on 19 February 1890 and baptized at St Alban's Anglican Church at Pleasant Point on 8 June 1890. Mr and Mrs Carter were active members of the Hazelburn Community, Mr Carter being elected to the school committee in 1895. In 1903, when a pupil at Hazelburn School, Robert attained good results but just failed to make the top six for an Education Board Junior Scholarship. He was further educated at Otago Boys’ High School where he failed to achieve the necessary marks in the Senior Scholarship examination conducted in 1904.
Prior to enlistment he worked as a farm assistant on the home farm. He left Timaru to go into the training camp in October 1915. He was one of a large group who were given a very enthusiastic farewell when they assembled in the drill shed for afternoon tea. The Ven. Archdeacon Jacob said that they were going to answer the call of duty and to help the brave boys who had gone before them and who were doing such splendid work. They were going to fight for King and country, to fight in the cause of right. They marched to the railway station, with the 2nd South Canterbury Regimental Band playing some soul-stirring patriotic airs. “Brave lads,” said the Mayor in a voice broken with emotion, “. . .We are proud of you for the gallant way you have come forward to assist the Empire in its time of need, .. .You are going forward to fight . . . for truth, liberty and justice.” He was 26 years 6 months old when he enlisted on 13 October 1915, single and of Church of England affiliation. He nominated his father as next-of-kin - David Carter, Rock Pool, Pleasant Point, Timaru, and later of Mt Gay, Hazelburn, Timaru. He was a well built, fit man, standing at 6 feet 1 inch, weighing 174 pounds, with a chest measurement of 35½ -38 inches. He had a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all good, his limbs and chest well formed, his heart and lungs normal, while his teeth were serviceable. He was in good bodily and mental health, free of diseases and defects, and vaccinated. He had served for three years with the Otago High School Cadets.
At Hazelburn in December 1915, a social and presentation were tendered to Robert and two others. The chairman congratulated them on their patriotism and he expressed the hope that they would come back safe and sound, covered with honour and glory. Robert was presented with a wristlet watch. After the singing of “For They are Jolly Good Fellows”, the recipients thanked the people for their presents and good wishes. Bob Carter was also given a pipe by the Hazelburn Relief Committee (of which he was a member), in the hope “that he would enjoy many a good smoke in the trenches”.
Before leaving New Zealand Robert was promoted to corporal; three months later he reverted to lance corporal; just a week after he was appointed temporary sergeant, he then again reverted to ranks. Sergeant Robert Cecil Carter embarked with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles of the 9th Reinforcements per the “Maunganui”, leaving Wellington on 8 January 1916, destined for Suez, Egypt. In Egypt he transferred to the infantry and went with them to France. In March 1916 R. C. Carter had to pay the cost of 7 shillings and sixpence for losing his hat. On 30 May 1916, he was admitted to No 23 General Hospital at Etaples, and the next day transferred to No 24 General Hospital, from where he embarked for England on 21 June and, on 23 June, was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, in Hampshire, England, suffering from pneumonia. On 15 August, it was reported that he was progressing favourably, and on 8 September he was transferred to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst. It was 18 October when he was attached to Strength at Codford and on 18 January 1917 that he was transferred to the NZ Army Service Corps at Codford, on medical grounds. He had been suffering from severe shell shock, and, after a slow recovery, he spent some months in clerical work at Codford. On 10 May 1918 he was able to return to France, joining the Headquarters Company on the New Zealand Divisional Train and the Canterbury Rifles on 13 July. He was reported wounded – gunshot wound to left arm - and discharged to duty on 23 July 1918, only to be wounded in action again on 26 August 1918. Lance-corporal Robert Cecil Carter died of wounds on 27 August 1918, in the Main Dressing Station of No. 1 New Zealand Field Ambulance in the Field, France. This was the very day he was admitted to the Field Ambulance and exactly three years after his brother, Roger’s death. Robert was 28 years old. He had suffered gunshot wounds to the legs and compound fractures of both legs.
He was buried in Shrine Cemetery at Bucquoy, France. This small cemetery, which was named from a crucifix standing on a mound in the village, includes the graves of six men who served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the First World War and died in 1918. His father received a letter dated 6 September 1918 and bearing an Army Post Office stamp from Private John A. Walker, one of Robert’s comrades-in-arms, stating that he was with Robert at the time of his admission to the No. 1 New Zealand Field Ambulance and that Robert died from wounds shortly after admission. News of his death was received with much regret in South Canterbury where he had spent most of his life. At an evening in honour of returned soldiers, held at Hazelburn in September 1918, the chairman moved a vote of sympathy and condolence to the parents of Corporal R. Carter who had recently given his promising young life for the Empire. Robert was very popular in the district, “his sterling character and bright, cheery disposition gaining him friends wherever he went.” Also his example and record as a soldier won him high esteem.
Robert’s brother, David Roger Carter, was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915. Two other brothers, James Quartly and Francis John, were listed on the Reserves Roll, Francis being called up in 1917. And, indeed, in November 1917, their father was among a goodly number of appellants who were held for home service, as they had been classed as C2. By 1921 when Robert’s memorial plaque and scroll were sent, his father had moved to Mt Gay, Hazelburn. Advice of his medals - British War Medal and the Victory Medal - was to be sent to his brothers, Francis J. Carter & Jas Q. Carter, Raincliff, Pleasant Point, his executors. Robert's will had been lodged with a solicitor at Timaru. He bequeathed all his real and personal property to his brothers and his sister Selina in equal shares. Annexed to the probate record is a certificate of death. The Carter family was active in the Hazelburn district, Mr Carter serving on school committees and Mrs Carter supporting patriotic funding through the Hazelburn and Raincliff Guild. At the beginning of June 1919, the members of the Hazelburn Ladies’ Guild met to make a presentation to their president, Mrs Carter. They wished to show their appreciation of her splendid leadership. By her personal example she had “inspired every member of the guild to do her very best. Even in adverse circumstances, Mrs Carter’s work had continued steadily.” The New Zealand Hospitals were the best equipped in the army, this being largely owing to the good work of the ladies of the guilds under the direction of their sole presidents, it had been noted. Thanks and tokens of appreciation were given also to Miss Carter, who had provided cups of tea on sewing days, and to Mr Carter, who had driven the ladies to and from the meetings.
The residents of Hazelburn decided to erect an obelisk to the memory of the men who paid the supreme sacrifice, the names of all those who were farewelled by the Totara, Opihi. Raincliffe, Rockwood and Hazelburn Reception Committee, and who were killed, to be included. The imposing granite memorial, erected on a corner of the Hazelburn School ground, was unveiled by Mr T. D. Burnett, M.P., in November 1922. The inscription on the monument reads: “Erected by the residents of Hazelburn, Totara Valley, and Opihi, to the memory of those who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. We will remember them.” Nine names, including R. C. Carter and D. R. Carter, are listed. In St David’s Anglican Church, Raincliff, is a brass memorial plaque in memory of L. Corp. Robert C. Carter, died of wounds in France, August 27th, 1918, aged 28.
He was remembered by the Board of Governors of Otago Boys’ High School at their meeting in September 1918. The Otago Boys’ High School war memorial, which commemorates ex-pupils who fought and died in the First World War, was built in 1920 and was dedicated in August 1923 to mark the school’s diamond jubilee. It takes the form of a large handsome stone arch at the Arthur Street entrance to the school. Inscribed at the top are the words “Lest We Forget”, and on the curve “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”. The names are inscribed on four bronze plaques set into the inside of the arch, that of Lance-Corp Robert Cecil Carter being one of those 201 names. Bronze military statuettes have been placed in niches on the outside of the arch. The memorial arch was erected by the Old Boys to the memory of their fallen comrades. The names of nearly 1200 ex-pupils who went on active service were recorded on plaques in the school hall.
Robert Cecil Carter is remembered on the Timaru War Memorial, the Hazelburn District War Memorial and the Otago Boys' High School War Memorial. Robert Cecil Carter and David Roger Carter, who both died in action, are remembered on their parents’ headstone in the Pleasant Point Cemetery.
Cenotaph Database [03 December 2013]; NZ Defence Force Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5530 0023363) [06 December 2013]; CWGC [05 December 2013]; NZ BDMIndexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [03 December 2013]; Timaru Herald, 22 February 1890, 25 April 1895, 14 January 1903, 6 & 14 October 1915, 23 December 1915, 13 May 1916, 8 November 1917, 15 August 1918, 11, 24 & 26 September 1918, 5 June 1919, 29 August 1919, Evening Star, 19 January 1905, Otago Daily Times, 28 August 1916, 19 & 20 September 1918, Press, 15 August 1918, 13 & 19 September 1918, 28 February 1920, 25 July 1923, 4 August 1923, New Zealand Times, 15 August 1918, Lyttelton Times, 15 August 1918, Marlborough Express, 11 September 1918, Otago Witness, 25 September 1918, Temuka Leader, 21 November 1922 (Papers Past) [04 December 2013; 05 October 2014; 25 & 28 March 2015; 07 February 2018; 08 & 09 May 2020]; Pleasant Point Cemetery headstone image & transcript (Timaru District Council & South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [03 December 2013]; Pleasant Point Anglican Baptism records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG); Probate Record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [29 May 2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [March 2015]; St David’s Anglican Church, Raincliff (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records microfiche) [25 March 2015]; SCRoll web submission by Janet Rae, 02 July 2015
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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