THE ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT MUSEUM HAS TAKEN UP THE OFFER FROM NELSON CARTER'S DAUGHTER ON FIRST REFUSAL OF OWNERSHIP OF HIS VICTORIA CROSS
16 September 2002

Nelson Carter's daughter, who died in early 2001, instructed in her will that first refusal for ownership of her father's Victoria Cross medal group, should go to the Royal Sussex Regiment. The regiment gratefully took up the offer and the VC now resides with the Regimental Museum based in Eastbourne, East Sussex.



Medal entitlement of Colour Sergeant Nelson Carter,
12th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )


Nelson Victor Carter was born at Eastbourne on the 9th April 1887 and was educated at Hailsham. In December 1902 he enlisted under the name of Nelson Smith into the Royal Field Artillery, where he attained the rank of Bombadier, but was discharged on the 17th August 1903 as medically unfit. Declared fully fit in August 1906 he again enlisted into the RFA and served three years with the regiment. However, whilst on service with the RFA in Singapore he was once again declared medically unfit and returned to England and discharged.

Upon the outbreak of WWI, Carter joined Lowther's Own in September 1914, promoted corporal on the same day, then sergeant and later Warrant Officer Class II. Nelson Carter was sent to France attached to 'A' Company, 12th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment, and served with this detachment until his death on the 30th June 1916 whilst winning his Victoria Cross.


For the award of the Victoria Cross:

[ London Gazette, 9 September 1916 ], Boar's Head, Richebourg l'Avoué, France, 30 June 1916, Company Sergeant-Major Nelson Victor Carter, 4th Company, 12th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment.

"For most conspicuous bravery. During an Attack he was in command of the fourth wave of the assault. Under intense shell and machine gun fire he penetrated, with a few men, into the enemy's second line and inflicted heavy casualties with bombs. When forced to retire to the enemy's first line, he captured a machine gun and shot the gunner with his revolver. Finally, after carrying several wounded men into safety, he was himself mortally wounded and died in a few minutes. His conduct throughout the day was magnificent."


The following is a part of a letter written by Lieutenant Howard Robinson, Carter's Company Commander to Kathleen Carter, Nelson's wife.

"When I last saw him he was close to the German line, acting as leader to a small party of four or five men. I was afterwards told that he had entered the German second line, and had brought back an enemy machine gun, having put the gun team out of action. I heard that he shot one of them with his revolver. I next saw him about an hour later ( I had been wounded in the meanwhile and was lying in our trench ). Your husband repeatedly went over the parapet. I saw him going over alone and carrying in our wounded men from 'No Man's Land'. He brought them in on his back, and he could not have done this had he not possessed exceptional physical strength as well as courage. It was in going over for the sixth or seventh time that the was shot through the chest. I saw him fall just inside our trench.

Somebody told me that about a month previously your husband carried a man about 400 yards across the open under machine gun fire and brought him safely into our trench. For this act I recommended him for the Military Cross. On every occasion, no matter how tight the hole we were in, he was always cheerful and hopeful, and never spared any pains to make the men comfortable and keep them cheery."

Colour Sergeant Nelson Carter is buried in the Royal Irish Rifles Churchyard, Laventie, France.

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Iain Stewart, 16 September 2002