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William CARTER #3124

By Marg Powel & Des Crump | 14 August 2017

Service Record, William Carter

Indigenous Australian, William CARTER, 47th & 48th Infantry Battalions

William Carter (1872-1949) was born at Wagga, NSW to William and Bessie Carter and was employed as a labourer near Stone River, North Queensland when he enlisted at Charters Towers, in October 1916. 

Aged 44 he named his brother Thomas Carter of Mount Surprise as his next of kin, and noted that his daughter Eva was living at Charters Towers.

Carter left Sydney in December 1916 on board HMAT Demosthenes arriving in England in March 1917. After 4 months at the 12th Training Battalion at Codford, he embarked for France with the 8th Reinforcements of the 47th Infantry Battalion in September 1917, where they were serving in the area of Hazebrouck, Belgium.

The  47th Battalion was involved in the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, a campaign that took place on the Western Front, from July to November 1917, for control of the areas south and east of Ypres.

In May 1918 due to heavy casualties and a lack of reinforcements from Australia, the 47th Infantry Battalion was disbanded and Carter was transferred to the 48th. By June 1918 Carter's health had deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital, first with gastritis, then shortly after he was diagnosed with cardiac hypertrophy. Following a medical review it was decided to return William Carter home to be medically discharged in October 1918, just one month short of the armistice.

William Carter and Eva Santo had three girls, Eva, Violet and Jessie. Eva who worked on cattle stations as a housekeeper was of South Sea Islander heritage. Her grandfather Charlie had been brought to Queensland from Vanuatu and married Maggie Thompson, a Gudjal woman.

William had sought permission to marry Eva in 1911 but was refused permission by the Chief Protector of Aborigines. Two daughters died very young, Violet in 1916 and Jessie in 1919; while Eva (their mother) died in a riding accident in 1923. William left his 10 year old daugther Eva in the care of family.

In the 1930's Carter applied to join the RSSILA, Charters Towers, he died in 1949 age of 78, and is buried at Ingham, North Queensland.

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The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.


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