HoC - Roll of Honour - Henry Gordon Carter
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2nd Lieutenant Henry Gordon Carter
Henry Gordon Carter was tall, blond and good looking, a Chiswick-based Rupert Brook figure, and until his sad death in the Dardanelles, everything he touched appeared to be tinged with success.
Henry Gordon was a cousin of Firman Carter (also commemorated at St Michaels). His father Frank had moved with his family from Kimbolton to Yorkshire where Henry Gordon was born in 1890. He attended Leeds Grammar School, and his old Headmaster was one of his sponsors when in 1915 Henry applied for a commission in the Northumberland Fusiliers.
By 1911 the family had moved from Yorkshire to London, first to Ealing (16, Colebrook Ave) and thence to 43 Park Road in Grove Park. The family appears to have been enthusiastic members of the congregation of St Michaels, particularly the young Henry, who was a Sidesman, and also Superintendant of Childrens Services.
At the outbreak of the war, Henry was working as a clerk on the London Stock Exchange: he must have been one of the first of the young men to enlist, and he started in the ranks, but by January 1915, he had applied for, and been awarded, a commission in the Northumberland Fusiliers. His application was supported by both his old Headmaster from Leeds, and also his boss at the firm of stockbrokers where he worked.
Glowing with justified pride, the Parish Magazine congratulated Henry on the award of his commission, “earned as it has been by strenuous service in the ranks since the beginning of the war”, as the vicar put it.
After a period of training at Grantham, Henry’s unit was selected to serve on the ill-fated Dardanelles expedition, intended to eliminate Turkey as an ally to Germany, and ultimately to safeguard the Suez Canal and the British oil supplies in the Middle East. During his embarkation leave the Chiswick Times reported that the glamorous Henry had inspected the local Boy Scout troop at St Michael's.
Henry sailed with his unit on the S.S.Aquitania from Liverpool in July 1915, and arrived in Suvla Bay on the 6th August. Despite determined and courageous efforts from the ANZAC and French troops the Gallipoli campaign already looked doomed to failure, and at the end of the year a decision was taken to halt the campaign, and pull out.
Henry, alas, was reported “missing in action” on the 19th August and after what must have been an agonising wait for his parents, his death was confirmed by telegram on the 31st October 1915.
The “Raphael” window in the Lady Chapel at St Michaels is in memory of Henry Carter. He and his cousin Firmin Carter are also remembered in a beautiful stained glass window in Kimbolton, where the commemoration reads: “Lieutenant Henry Gordon Carter…who fell gloriously fighting against overwhelming odds at Suvla Bay on the 19th August 1915, aged 25 years.”