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Gilbert Trenchard Carre, 6 Bttn QORWK


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#1 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 01:51 PM

Alan Thomas wrote of Gilbert Carre’s death and the subsequent burial of five QORWK officers in his autobiography A Life Apart:


The next morning I saw Gilbert—lying on the ground. He had been carried from the place where he had fallen—near Lateau Wood—to the ruins of Pam-Pam Farm. In his eagerness he had rushed ahead of his men, careless of his safety. He had been killed instantly by a bullet through the heart. There was hardly any trace of the wound on his uniform, beyond a small hole. His eyes were dosed and his features were calm and unaltered.

His pockets had already been emptied by the stretcher-bearers, but they had left his whistle which still hung by a strap from one of the buttons of his tunic. It was one of the whistles I had handed out to him at Noeux and for which he had given me a receipt “Received four sirens”—I have that receipt still). I unfastened the whistle and did the tunic button up again.

For a little while I stood looking down at him, trying to under­stand what had happened. Then I came away.

But the worst eruption of this General’s temper occurred dur­ing Gilbert’s funeral. Five of our officers were buried that day, Alderman, Gilbert and three others. They were buried in a com­mon grave. The funeral service was held at seven-thirty in the morning. A little knot of us, including the General, stood by the side of the grave while the Padre read the service. He was a ner­vous little man, the Padre, and his voice reminded one of a stage curate’s. That in itself was enough to irritate the General (and the rest of us, too, for the matter of that). Also it happened to be raining and we all of us wanted our breakfast—mitigations but not excuses for the General’s outburst.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” quoth the Padre, taking up a handful of earth and scattering it upon the first body.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” he repeated, taking up another handful of earth and scattering it upon the second body.

The General shifted from one foot to the other and heaved a very audible sigh.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” began the Padre, stooping for yet another handful of earth.

The General exploded. “That’s the third time you’ve said that!” he exclaimed. “Why must you keep repeating yourself ?”

Even the tough ones among us were shocked at this inter­ruption of the funeral service. We took deep breaths and looked down our noses.

The Padre made a feeble attempt to stand his ground.

“The Church ordains, sir,” he said, “that those words shall be spoken over each body.”

The General shrugged his shoulders. “Get on with it,” was all he said.

To his shame the Padre funked the rest. Forsaking the ordin­ances of the Church he scattered his last handful of earth upon the three remaining bodies, hurrying through the words as best he might. In another two minutes the service was over.

I walked back with the General in silence.

At breakfast he turned to me suddenly and said: “You think I was right, don’t you, Thomas, to stop that fellow repeating himself like that?”

Fortunately, before I could answer, he retracted the question. “Oh, well. I daresay I was a bit impatient,” he grumbled. “Let’s forget it.”



R.I.P.

#2 Will O'Brien

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 05:35 PM

Jon

Any indication as to who the General was in that little episode?

#3 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 07:51 PM

QUOTE (Will O'Brien @ Nov 21 2007, 05:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jon

Any indication as to who the General was in that little episode?


Scott was the Divisional General but I suspect this was Brigadier-General Incledon-Webber. If any one can shed light on personalities of eother General I would be grateful.

A Life Apart by Alan Thomas is a fantastic read and an extremely under-rated first hand account of the second half of the war as part of the BEF in F&F.

Regards,

Jonathan

#4 Hambo

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 06:42 PM

Jonathan
Just to add to your thread, as you know I have been researching the King's Canterbury memorial and this is what I have so far, due in no small measure to you!

Gilbert Carre
9th (Service) Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment attached to the 6th (Service) Battalion
Killed in action on the 20th of November 1917 aged 25
He was born on the 12th of December 1891 in Weymouth the son of the Reverend A.A. Carre of the Rectory, Smarden. He was educated at Bracknell and at King’s School Canterbury from 1903 to 1909 where he was a member of the Cricket XI and the Rugby XV.
At the outbreak of war he enlisted in the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade, but later received a commission in the Royal West Kent Regiment. In January 1915 he went to France and took part in heavy fighting being wounded twice.
On the 20th of November 1917 the battalion were involved in the Battle of Cambrai. At 6.20am the lead companies advanced behind a screen of tanks which crushed wire and was effective in dealing with enemy strong points. As a result the following infantry took many prisoners and had little to do until the strong point known as Pam Pam Farm was reached. Here the Germans put up a stout defence, but with the tanks they were overcome, the battalion pushing on to Lateau Wood and Le Quennett Farm. The Farm fell to the tanks as well and some of the battalion entered Lateau Wood and began clearing it. Major Alderman DSO began organising an attack on some machine guns to the north of the wood which he was anxious to silence. He went forward with Lieutenants Bourchier, Newsholme, Stiebel and Carre and a small party of men and working along the edge of the woods, came upon a large party of Germans around the guns. Instead of standing their ground, the Germans bolted and the small group of West Kents secured the guns and set off in pursuit only to come under fire from inside the wood. Major Alderman fell mortally wounded as did Lieutenant Carre. Lieutenant Bourchier was killed outright and Stiebel was badly wounded.
By early afternoon the battalion had gained and secured all their objectives.
His commanding officer wrote
“He had the honour of leading a company into action on the 20th of November. At our final objective, while leading his men with extraordinary courage, he feel victim to a German sniper and his death was instantaneous. He was by far the most valuable officer in the company, but his loss as an officer will be nothing to me compared his loss to me as a personal friend.”
He is buried at Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villier-Plouich Plot III Row B Grave 12

John

#5 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 10:41 AM

QUOTE (Hambo @ Nov 23 2007, 06:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
His commanding officer wrote
“He had the honour of leading a company into action on the 20th of November. At our final objective, while leading his men with extraordinary courage, he feel victim to a German sniper and his death was instantaneous. He was by far the most valuable officer in the company, but his loss as an officer will be nothing to me compared his loss to me as a personal friend.”
He is buried at Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villier-Plouich Plot III Row B Grave 12



Hi John,

Carre also had a twin, Meyrick, who won the MC with the 6 QORWK at Loos and then went on to serve at a Bombing School in UK - died around 1974 having been a lecturer in philosophy I think at Bristol Uni. Meyrick was the only one of 5 brothers that survived the Great War. If you are interested I can dig out the details of all 5 brothers, one was a OR in the AIF, another was a pilot, then Gilbert and I cant recall what happened to the final brother.

Regarding Carre's CO - this was the great Dawson. Dawson got on well with Meyrick - met him whenever he was back on leave in UK. Both Meyrick and Dawson were original officers that went out with the bttn on 31 May 1915. Gilbert did not go out until 1916 from memory - was wounded at Oviliers in the attack of 3 July as I recall. For the 20 Nov offensive Dawson took Alan Thomas out of the line and gave his company to Gilbert to lead - I think this was B Company. Thomas had a bad feeling about Gilbert leading the attack because he thought what Gilbert lacked in soldier ability he would try and make up with bravery - Thomas book A Life Apart is bordering on homoerotic in regard to his views of Gilbert. But I am digressing - according to Thomas, Dawson didnt greatly rate Gilbert. He didnt think he was a soldier - of course what Dawson wrote was something completely different.

Regards,

Jon S

#6 andrewr

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 09:28 PM

He was born on the 12th of December 1891 in Weymouth the son of the Reverend A.A. Carre of the Rectory, Smarden. He was educated at Bracknell and at King’s School Canterbury from 1903 to 1909 where he was a member of the Cricket XI and the Rugby XV.


For Bracknell, read Eagle House School, Sandhurst. He appears on the Roll of Honour in the school chapel there



#7 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 09:38 PM

Many thanks for this. Every small piece of information counts.

Regards,

Jonathan S