ON Anzac Day 2016 I want to share with you this story about my grandfather Aubrey Carter.
My niece Amy Kennaugh Vickers reminded me about grandad Carter when she shared earlier today the information I first posted on Facebook on March 30 last year.
The story “Forgotten treasure found in Livingstone councillor’s drawer” by Austin King appeared in the Morning Bulletin Rockhampton on Saturday, March 28, 2015.
(I am not so sure about the treasure claim as according to my mother grandad did not talk about the war very much.)
As a child my main memory of grandad Carter was that my sister was his favourite grandchild but I also have a vague recollection of him making some comment to my grandmother Isabel (she did not have a favourite grandchild, which meant she treated her many grandchildren equally even when several of us stole things from her well stocked pantry during school holiday sleepovers and then told fibs about it).
I think I remember him telling grandma that he was not joining the “poor sods down the pub” referring to the men who got drunk on Anzac Day and (only then) started talking about the horrors they had seen and endured during the war.
Now as an adult I wonder if he ever told anyone what he had endured and done to survive the war and what a burden many of those memories must have been to him.
I also marvel at what inner strength he must have had not to let those awful times turn him into an awful man.
After the story by Austin King was published my aunt Isabel Lane and my cousin Noel Lane also met with the councillor but to my knowledge we are no closer to knowing why her father had possession of grandad’s medal.
WAR MEDAL RECIPIENT: Former Tambo man and British War Medal recipient, Pte Aubrey Carter sits on his front stairs at his home in Augathella. Contributed RCC
IT WAS a treasured possession that had been lost for almost a century.
Tucked away in the bottom of Livingstone councillor Glenda Mather’s drawer.
Cr Mather pulled it out of her drawer, opened the velvet-lined box and brushed her finger across the dull bronze medallion.
She ran her finger over the face of King George V, looking for clues. Nothing.
The gallant stallion and rider on the flip side were just as clueless as King George. When she checked the edge of the coin, she found the inscription “4173 Pte A.W. Carter”.
In a bid to find Pte Carter, she contacted The Capricorn Coast Mirror to try to track down the owner.
After three hours of searching online war memorial records, and several White Pages searches, The Capricorn Coast Mirror tracked down Aubrey Carter from Blackall.
(My cousin) Aubrey was the grandson of Pte Aubrey William Carter, a soldier in the 9th Infantry Battalion deployed overseas during the First World War.
With a number of other Tambo lads who had signed up as recruits for the Australian Army, Aubrey was taken by truck to Blackall in 1915.
From there they travelled by train to Rockhampton.
Aubrey was declared medically fit and signed his attestation paper in Rockhampton on September 27, 1915.
He was then sent to the army training camp in Sandgate, near Brisbane. With the 13/9th Battalion, Aubrey embarked on the HMAT A55 called “Kyarra” on January 3, 1916, for Suez and Egypt.
Army records revealed Aubrey was admitted “critically ill” to the 2nd General Hospital at Le Havre in France on December 18, 1916.
From there he was transported to a hospital in England for appendicitis.
Aubrey’s only recollection of these events was regaining consciousness in the English hospital.
Sometime during his service overseas, Aubrey was awarded the British War Medal for entering the war during a specified period.
How Cr Mather ended up with the medal remains a mystery.
The medal made its way into the hands of Glenda’s father, Senior Constable Joseph Clay, during the First World War.
Mr Clay served as an officer in Charleville and Augathella (in south-west Queensland) during the latter part of the war.
It was about this time Aubrey Carter had moved to the area after returning from service overseas.
Cr Mather said she believed her father may have had some interaction with Aubrey Carter, but didn’t know exactly how her father ended up with the medal.