Rank:  Air Mechanic Class 2
 Service No:
 36339
 Date of Death:
 16th July 1917
 Age:  36
 Regiment/Service:  30 Squadron Royal Flying Corps.
 Memorial: Basra, Iraq. The cemetery contains 2,551 burials of the First World War. The headstones marking these graves were removed in 1935 when it was discovered that salts in the soil were causing them to deteriorate. The names of those buried in the graves affected are now recorded in a screen wall.  

 

Alfred Samuel Carter was born in Harlington, near Heathrow airport, in 1880 or 1881. His parents were Samuel John (b. 1839), and Ruth (b. 1840) Carter. He had two siblings: Minnie A. (b. 1869) and Ethel L. (b. 1877).

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family were living at 22 Elmar Road, Tottenham, London. Samuel’s occupation is listed as ‘retired police inspector’. At the time of the 1901, the whole family is living in Fulham. Alfred’s occupation is recorded as ‘engineer’s clerk’.

Alfred, aged 28, married Maud Gertrude Maidment (b.1883) at All Saints, East Finchley on the 1st June 1909. His father is listed as deceased in the marriage register. Alfred gives his occupation as ‘cashier’, and both he and Maud list their address as Woodville, Fortis Green Road, East Finchley. Their son, Ronald Alfred, was born on 25th February 1910.

At the time of the 1911 census, the family was still living at Woodville, Fortis Green Road, East Finchley.Alfred's occupation is listed as being a clerk and cashier for a gas company.

Alfred enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on 14th July 1916. After basic training he was sent to Mesopotamia as a member of the Advanced Aircraft Park with the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. This moved up to Baghdad from Sheikh Saad during July 1917 having moved forward from Amara a few months before. The main focus of the squadron’s activities were reconnaissance and bombing.

All accounts of the time state that temperatures where extremely high – 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade (about 50 centigrade), so his cause of death, which was heat stroke, would not have been surprising. In the Clouds above Baghdad, the author Lieutenant Colonel Tennant (Commanding Officer of 30 Squadron) wrote about the time period in which Alfred died, as follows:

“Two of our mechanics died on consecutive days; one officer and six other mechanics were invalided the same week; seven officers and thirty-two men of the squadron were in hospital; and out of the seven new pilots arrived to reinforce the thinned numbers of 30 Squadron three went into hospital at Busrah and one was put ashore from the river-boat on reaching Kut.”

It could be that Alfred is one of the mechanics referred to in this extract.