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Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - On this day...... 11th May 1917


Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War

On the centenary of their death, we remember

Henry Thomas CARRIER (of Lynsted)
b. 17 November 1885
d. 11th May 1917. Aged 31 years.

Trooper, 1737
Household Battalion, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line
Formerly Private 3296, Royal East Kent Yeomanry
(The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles)

Remembered with Honour
Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais
Bay 1
Killed in Action

Henry Thomas Carrier

Son of Henry Julius, a garden and orchard labourer, and Elizabeth Jane (née Gage), Henry Thomas was born in the house next door to Newhouse Farm, Greenstreet, Lynsted, on 17 November 1885. He was christened in Teynham Church one month later on 16 December. Along with Henry’s younger sister, Harriet Jane, the family had also lived in Cellar Hill and Wilkin’s Cottages in Greenstreet.

Henry Thomas worked as a butchers assistant in Mr Wilkin’s butchers shop in Greenstreet. In later years this became Read’s butchers and is now converted to accommodation.

Henry served in the Greenstreet Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and in the Teynham and Lynsted Fire Brigade.

On Christmas Day 1907, at the age of 22, Henry married Alice (née Banning) daughter of Albert, a ship riveter living in Chatham, and Bertha (née Field) in Lynsted Church. At the time of the 1911 census Henry and Alice were living in Green Villa (now 92 London Road), Greenstreet and had a daughter, Isabella Evelyn (known as Evelyn) born on 31 December 1909. Four further children would be born, Henry Albert on 29 April 1912, Ruby Alicia Banning on 4 July 1913, Ronald Kitchener on 7 May 1914 and Joan Kathleen on 27 February 1916.

Henry enlisted in Sittingbourne on 11 December 1915 into the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles (REKMR). At the time of his enlistment the family were living in “Rose Lea” Greenstreet. He was immediately put into reserve. On 9 June 1916 he was called up and posted to the REKMR 3/1st. On 28 October 1916 Henry was transferred in to Household Battalion Reserve which was then training at their barracks in Windsor, and given the new rank of “Trooper”.

Up until this point, Henry’s military career coincided with William Gambrill (see previous biography). Henry and William enlisted, trained and were transferred to the Household Battalion together. They had consecutive regimental numbers during their time in the REKMR, and were just a few digits apart on transfer to the Household Battalion.

However, their stories, for a while, went in different directions when William left for France on 8 November 1916.

Henry continued with his training until his posting into the Household Battalion proper on 3 February 1917 when he immediately embarked for France from Southampton. The following day he disembarked in Le Havre and Henry and William’s stories then coincide again and is detailed in the previous biography.

William was killed on 3 May 1917 but Henry would live for a further 8 days. Despite the battalion being heavily under strength, the sixth and final attack on Roeux began. The attack was preceded by the heaviest bombardment seen since the start of the battle on 3 May. Smoke shells gave a screen which prevented a clear picture of the attack from Battalion Headquarters. The infantry moved off at 7.30pm and the troops were ordered to attack the area around the railway station and the land to the north, while other units attacked the village itself. story of his remaining days are detailed in the Household Battalion war diary:

Date Summary events and Information
4th May 1917 Reorganisation of Line. Pioneers (W. Yorks) assisted ahead of Seaforths were completed from I.19.e.7.5. to I.19.B.1.2. in lien with West corner of CEMETERY.
5th Very quiet. Sniping active at night. Posts deepened.
6th 3 a.m. Bombing attack by 2nd Lieut. Wanklyn on enemy Listening Posts I.19.c.6.05 after excellent reconnaissance by 2nd Lieut. Moffat causing German retaliation along whole line.
7th Relieved in line by Royal Irish Fusiliers. Battalion came back to 4th German system H.22.A.a.3.
8th Battalion reorganised into 5 platoons. Colonel Postal (?) arrived at Transport.
9th Battalion rested.
10th Battalion proceeded up line to original position in front line. Battalion H.Q. at [Green?] Trench (H.24.D.8.9.).
Battalion occupy left of original front line. East corner of MOUNT PLEASANT WOOD (I.19.A.9.1.) and junction CEYLON and Front line.
11th Battalion took part in attack on CEMETERY. 7.30 p.m. Objective to dig in East of N. end of village.
Officers: Capt. Tobin (?). 1 Platoon Lt Bridgeman; 2 Platoon 2nd Lt. Price; 3 Platoon 2nd Lt. Stockwood; 4 Platoon 2nd Lt Wanklyn.
H.Q. Major Kirkwood. Lt. Dill – Cazalet – Sandeford - Capt. Sloan R.A.M.P.
Attack successful. Seaforths mopping up in rear of Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers on right. R.W.A. in reserve.
Casualties again very heavy – 2nd Lt Stockwood only officer in line.

On 16 May, Major J H M Kirkwood of the Household Battalion wrote his narrative of operations undertaken on 11/12 May:

In accordance with 10th Brigade Preliminary Instruction dated May 9th 1917, I issued the Battalion O.O. attached.
At 5.30 p.m. on Z day I moved my Battalion H.Q. up to the head of CEYLON trench near the Junction with CAP. Here I established a telephone line in connection with the Brigade Report Centre. I also took Lieut. Cazalet forward as Intelligence Officer leaving Lieut. Dill with the greater part of the H.Q. staff at Battalion H.Q. in CRUMP dug-outs.
At 6 p.m. I went round the line and found the whole situation satisfactory – Officers and men keen and confident. Captain Tobin commanding the whole line, which was divided into 4 platoons, total 5 officers and 177 O.R.
At Z hour (7.30 p.m.) I was able to obtain an excellent view of the commencement of the attack and the men went forward in very good order – scarcely one seemed out of place – though I consider that in places the barrage was falling rather short and this caused my left platoon No.1 to bear away to the left after they had worked up close to the barrage – otherwise I saw no fault in the line up to the time that I lost them to view in the smoke.
At Z plus 5. I saw several prisoners come running back through the smoke towards Mr. PLEASANT WOOD.
At 8.15 p.m. Captain Tobin came by wounded, but informed me that all was going well.
At least 50 prisoners had passed my H.Q. by 8.15 p.m.
A message brought in at 8.45 p.m. stated that my left platoon (No.4) as well as part of No.3, had gained its objective and was consolidating.
At 8.50 p.m. Lieut. McPherson of the Seaforths, who had been forward to clear up the situation (he did very valuable work during the night) returned to report that my left was alright; but that my right centre and right were held up in the gardens round the Cemetery and were being enfiladed by M.G. fire from the houses – he also informed me that there appeared to be a wide gap on again from there to the R. Irish Fusiliers. The Seaforth mopping up party had mostly returned to the trench which ran West of the Cemetery across our front – this they were consolidating.
9 p.m.: I sent Lieut. Cazalet down at once to R. Warwickshire H.Q. to inform Colonel Forster, and asking him if I might use his front line Companies to strengthen the position and gain our objective.
I had been told that I should not use the troops holding our front line excepting in the case of a counter-attack and then only if very urgently needed.
Consequently I did not feel justified in using them unless I received the consent of the O.C. Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the Brigade.
9.21 p.m. I received a reply back that I was to send forward “B” Company Royal Warwickshire Regiment (this amounted to less than 30) and that one company of the King’s Own were coming up to reinforce the front line. I then directed O.C. “B” Company R.W.R. to advance at once, and support my right and right centre in the direction of the CEMETERY. This order was send off in writing at 9.30 p.m.
9.33 p.m. I sent a runner off at the same time to 2nd Lieut. Stockwood who was the only officer whom I could ascertain to be in the advance line, telling him that support was being sent up to his right.
9.57 p.m. A further message from O.C. R.W.R. arrived at 9.57 p.m. saying the his “C” Company was being sent up to establish communication between my left and the Hampshire Regiment who were co-operating on the left of the 10th Brigade. Immediately on receipt of this I sent off a message in reply to say that all reports gave me to understand that we were linked up on the left and that my right was far more in need of support. This message I sent off at 10.2 p.m. but in the meantime “C” Company R.W.R. had already been despatched (I might here add that this rather pointed to overlapping, as I had been previously given to understand that all 3 Companies of R.W.R. were under my orders, and I was relying upon this in order to be able to deal with any urgent call for support – more especially as each Company of R.War.R. was less than a full platoon strength.)
9.50 p.m. I heard from my right centre platoon that they had pushed forward and got in touch with the two left platoons, but had been entirely cut off from the right platoon. I gathered that the combination of the darkness and fairly heavy machine gun fire from houses in the neighbourhood of the cemetery had accounted for this.
At 10.38 p.m. I sent a message to O.C. SKEW, which message I repeated to the Brigade Major on the telephone (This was of very little use to me as the line was frequently broken during the night) to say that I was confident of holding the objective gained and of consolidating the entire position providing that supports were sent to me to operate after moonrise or before dawn as the darkness rendered any attempt to straighten things out futile.
About this time I heard that part of “B” Company R.W.R. had run into machine gun fire and got separated, 14 of them had returned to the front line and the remainder (as I learnt later) had joined their “C” Company and had consolidated on our left in touch with the Hampshire Regt, although I should have preferred their assistance on my right.
At 11.55 p.m. I received a message from O.C. R.W.R telling me that if I utilized his remaining men, that he would send the Company of King’s Own up to occupy our front line in place of them.
At 12.35 a.m. I heard from Lieut McPherson that three of the machine guns that were to have been with my advanced troops, if they took the objective were back with the Seaforths and that only one was up in my front line on the N.E. of the CEMETERY.
At 1.5 a.m. I heard through a runner from 11th Brigade that all their objectives had been taken.
About this time the Brigade Major 10th Brigade arrived at my H.Q. and I told him that I felt confident about holding the position providing I could obtain enough men to send forward before dawn to capture the houses on the road round the Cemetery and I asked him to let me have at least 50 men of the King’s Own as well as the remainder of the R.W.R. This he agreed to do.
I then sent a further message to Lieut. Stockwood to hold on and to consolidate as energetically as possible. There was some delay before the O.C. “A” Company, R.W.R. and King’s Own arrived; in the meantime I sent a message to O.C. 10th Brigade M.G. in the Seaforth trenches, which I append.
At 2.45 a.m. the Officers commanding detachments of R.W.R. and King’s Own arrived, and I gave them the appended orders – This left 50 men of the King’s Own to hold the front line and trenches in support.
At 4.30 a.m. I received a message through the Seaforths that both their parties had reached the houses round the Cemetery and Cross Roads and were clearing them.
At 4.54 am everything appeared quiet in the houses from what I saw personally and I sent a message through to the O.C. King’s Own advanced posts to establish communication with my right beyond the Cemetery.
At 5 am I went up to the line held by my men and found all their posts had been consolidated and that they had established connection with the R.W.R’s on their left and the King’s Own on their right – but it appeared to me that the houses in rear of our line, South of the Cemetery were still held by the enemy as I noticed flares being sent up from that direction in response to two enemy aeroplanes that were flying low over our line and firing very lights. I told Lieut. Stockwood to send two bombing parties to clear up some of the buildings directly he was able to find the available men. About 5.30 a.m. as I was returning to CEYLON trench via CORONA, I met the Brigade Major, 10th Brigade and told him that the situation was satisfactory, excepting the clearance of the houses in question, and pointed out that we had not enough men to clear up the situation. He suggested that the Seaforths should send a strong detachment forward as bombing parties and I agreed that it was the best possible solution. Captain Booth of the Seaforths was then instructed to go forward to clear the vicinity of the Cemetery at the same time as the 11th Brigade attacked the BLUE Line, viz 6.30 a.m.
This was most effectively done and some 5 Officers and 60 O.R. were taken prisoners.
After this, everything quietened down, and the line was strengthened and consolidated.
During this engagement the enemy barrage was more prolonged than during the operations of May 3rd/4th, and continued several hours.
Casualties during the action:–

Officers   Other Ranks
Killed 1 3 and 1 died of wounds
Missing 2 22 (includes 1 wounded)
Wounded 1 68
Total 4 94

Henry had not lived to see the success of the battle. The following morning all the objectives to the north of the railway were taken, and the western half of the village had been occupied. During the day, efforts were made to consolidate the ground and that night the Germans were forced out at bayonet point allowing the line to move forward to the eastern half of the village.

On 30 May, Henry was officially posted as “missing” since 11 May and his wife informed. On 23 February 1918 Henry was officially classed as “killed in action on or after 11 May 1917”. His wife, now living at 18 Station Road, Teynham, was informed on 27 February 1918.

Two weeks later, on 9 March 1918 the Faversham and North East Kent News carried the following misleading report:

Ten months have elapsed since Trooper H.T.Carrier, of the Household Battalion (son of Mr and Mrs H T Carrier, of 18, Station Road, Teynham was posted as missing, and no further tidings of him have come to hand. Trooper Carrier, who was a married man, enlisted in June, 1916, up to which time he had for some years been in the employ of Mr. Wilkins, butcher, Greenstreet. He went to France just a year ago. On the 11th May he took part in a successful attack on the village of Roeux, in which a good many men of his company were cut off and taken prisoners. Of the fate of Trooper Carrier nothing has been ascertained, though inquiries at all sources have been made.

Two days later on 11 March 1918 the same newspaper ran the following article confirming Henry’s death:

Among several local men on the list of missing mentioned in our columns last week was Trooper H.T. Carrier, of the Life Guards, whose home was at Teynham. The Army Authorities, however, have now written to Mrs. Carrier informing her that her husband was killed on May 11th of last year, or since that date. Before joining the Army Trooper Carrier was rendering useful service as a member of the Greenstreet Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and the Teynham and Lynsted Fire Brigade.

Henry’s ultimate sacrifice left a widow, and five children. The pension awarded to Alice on 9 January 1918 amount to 31s 6d a week.

Henry’s body was never found and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 1. As well as the Lynsted memorial, he is also remembered on the Teynham war memorial.

Teynham plaque

In addition, he, and William Gambrill, are listed in one of the three books of remembrance in the Holy Trinity Parish and Garrison Church, Trinity Place, Windsor. The Garrison Church of the Household Cavalry, Household Battalion and the Brigade of Guards. The books contain 14,000 names of those who fell from the Brigade of Guards. Altar rails were put up in memory of those of the Household Battalion who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918.

Henry was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medals.

In 1921, Henry’s widow remarried to William Austin. She died in 1956.

Henry’s was not the only loss suffered by the Carrier family. Henry’s sister, Harriet Jane, was to lose her husband, Thomas Wigg, when HMS Kale hit a mine on 27 March 1918. Thomas is also commemorated in this book. Henry’s mother and father are seen in this photograph along with some of the children of Henry and Thomas.

Carrier and Wigg families in group photograph

Carrier and Wigg families (About 1926) Greenstreet
Back Row: Edith R Wigg, Ruby Carrier, Henry Carrier.
Front Row: William Thomas Wigg, Margaret Harriett Wigg, Henry Julius Carrier, Elizabeth Jane Carrier (nee Gage), Isabella Evelyn Carrier, Joan Kathleen Carrier, Ronald K Carrier
Photograph by kind permission of David Kerrall

The Society is indebted to Mrs Rosemary Ivory, Granddaughter of Henry Thomas Carrier and Thomas Wigg for her valuable contribution to Henry’s story.