William Carter AM

b. 10/11/1829 Borgue, Latheron, Caithness, Scotland.  d. 21/01/1910 ?

DATE OF AM ACTION: 31/03 to 01/04/1889 Atlantic Ocean.

William was born on 10th November 1829, the son of Charles and Margaret Carter (nee Polson). Little is known of his childhood, but from a young age he was working at sea as a fisherman. He had two younger brothers George and John. On 4th January 1856, he married Janet McKay in Latheron, and they went on to have seven children in all. Little else is known about his life. He died on 21st January 1910 aged 80.



The ” Gettysburg” was lost by striking on the Morant Cays on the night between 31st March and 1st April, 1889, whilst on a voyage from Monte Video to Pcnsacola, seven of the crew being drowned. The sea during the night washed over the ship and over the remaining nine of the crew, who, however, managed to hang on to the wreck until daylight, when WILLIAM CARTER and seven men managed to reach a rock which was seen above water at the distance of about 500 yards. The Master of the vessel tried to follow, but was injured and exhausted, and the sea was so strong that he was knocked down, and would have been drowned had not CARTER returned and carried him to the rock. CARTER afterwards swam out and secured part of the topmast and yard, lashed them together, and with assistance brought them ashore, where they were formed into a raft. The nine men left, got on the raft, and with small pieces of wood commenced to paddle to the nearest Island, distant one and a half miles, CARTER and another seaman at times swimming alongside and directing the raft, which was frequently turned off its course and sometimes upset owing to the heavy sea which was running at the time. CARTER and six others subsequently swam to a larger island a quarter of a mile distant, the former returning the next day, and assisting the Master and a seaman, who were seriously injured, to reach it. The Burvivors of the shipwrecked crew remained on the larger Island till the 21st April last, when CARTER and others manufactured a larger raft, on which two of the crew sailed to Jamaica, a distance of 32 miles, in two days, whereby the rescue of all the men was ultimately effected.