Herbert Augustine Carter VC

b. 26/05/1874 Exeter, Devon. d. 13/01/1916 Mwelo Mdogo, Africa.

Herbert Augustine Carter (1874-1916) was born on 26th May 1874 in Exeter, Devon, the second son of Reverend Conway R. D. Carter, Vicar of St Erth, Cornwall. He was educated by private tuition, and obtained his first commission in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in May 1897. He served throughout the operations against the Zakka Khel (Tirah Campaign) in 1897-1898, under General Sir William Lockhart, KCB, KCSI, and received the medal and two clasps.

Herbert A Carter VC

In 1899, he was transferred to the Indian Army, and joined the Indian Staff Corps, and in 1901 he was seconded for active service in Somaliland with the King’s African Rifles, and went in pursuit of the Mullah’s raiding party to Adadhero. He served the operations in Somaliland in 1903-1904, under Lieutenant-General C. C. Egerton, CB, DSO, and was present at the action at Jidballi. For his services in this campaign he was first gazetted for the DSO, but this was cancelled when Lieutenant Carter was awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 9th December 1904).

On 19th December 1903 during a reconnaissance at Jidballi, British Somaliland, when two sections were retiring before a force of Dervishes who outnumbered them by thirty to one, Lieutenant Carter rode back alone, a distance of 400 yards, to the assistance of an Indian private who had lost his horse and was closely pursued by a number of the enemy. The man was so badly wounded that it took three attempts to get him on to the horse.

Carter received his medal on 31st January 1905 from Major R W Falcon in Wadamago, Somaliland. In 1908, he was appointed OC, Indian Contingent, King’s African Rifles, and proceeded to India to raise a new Indian Contingent, and returned to Somaliland in 1909. He served throughout the East African Campaign of 1908-1910, under Colonel Johnnie Gough VC in command of the Indian Contingent. On 19th October 1909 he was mentioned in despatches. In 1910 he was appointed to the Egyptian Army, attached to the 15th Sudanese, and posted to the Blue Nile District as Commandant of Roseires and Kurnak.

On 2nd February 1911, at St James’, Piccadilly, London, he married Helen Lilian Wilmot Ware, youngest daughter of Reverend Canon Wilmot Ware, Rector of Barnborough, Yorkshire. After his marriage, he resigned his appointment in the Egyptian Army, and rejoined the 101st Grenadiers for duty in Bangalore. In 1913 he went as an Attache to Army Headquarters Staff, Simla.

During some home leave back to England in 1914, the Great War broke out, and he served with the 10th and 16th Service Battalions, Durham Light Infantry. He was then recommended for the command of the West Yorkshire Regiment with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He didn’t obtain the post, and returned to the Indian Expeditionary Force, and proceeded with them to the British East Africa. Arriving in Mombasa suffering from a fever, he took command of the 40th Pathans. He was soon marching the men toward the relief of Mwele Mdogo. Tragically, Carter’s health worsened, and on 13th January 1916, he died aged 41. His body was returned to England and he was buried in St Erth Churchyard, Cornwall. His medals are held by the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Museum, Bodmin.





Kevin Brazier – VC Grave at St Erth, Cornwall.

Steve Davies – Medal Group Image at Duke of Cornwall Regiment Museum, Bodmin.