Oswald Armitage CARVER
Rank: Captain
Number:
Unit: 1/2nd East Lancashire Field Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 7 June 1915
Age: 28
Cemetery: Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Helles, Turkey

William Oswald Carver, Oswald's father, was a very successful cotton goods merchant. It had allowed him and his wife, Kate Bentley Carver, to buy Cranage Hall, near Holmes Chapel. The 1901 Census gives an indication of the wealth that Manchester's cotton trade had brought to a small number of merchants. The Census records William, then aged 45, and Kate, 42 and their three children: Alan (15), Alison (9) and Basil (4), but it also shows that they could afford to employ 8 live-in servants - a housekeeper, cook, nurse and 5 maids.

It has not been possible to identify Oswald on the Census and he was, most probably, away at boarding school. He is known to have attended several public schools, including Charterhouse. He also studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and rowed for the University in the 1908 Boat Race against Oxford. He also represented the University at the Olympic Games in the same year.

The family owned Hollins Mill at Marple and also had offices and warehousing in central Manchester's "cotton district". Oswald was a Director of the Company.

In the closing months of 1911, he married Elizabeth Hobart at St James' Church, Tunbridge Wells. They would have two children together - John Hobart Carver, born on 30 November 1912 and Richard Oswald Hobart Carver, born on 26 May 1914. The family lived locally at The Hollies in Marple. When not running the Company, Oswald devoted much of his spare time to the Scout movement.

The East Lancashire Company of the Engineers was part of the Territorial Force. It is not known if Oswald was a pre-War member but certainly on 3 September 1914, his application to serve overseas with the Company was rejected by an army medical board at Bury. He was suffering from deafness and it was decided that his hearing would be checked again a month later and, if found to be the same, then it would be considered to be a permanent disability disbarring him from service. As events turned out, it must have been a temporary impairment. The Lancashire Territorials went overseas to Egypt on 10 September. It isn't known if Oswald was with them or followed later but, by 31 December, he had been promoted to Captain responsible for one of the Company's four Sections.

At the beginning of May 1915, the troops left Egypt to go into action at Gallipoli. It was a hard few weeks for the Engineers as they had trenches, strongpoints and dug-outs to construct. A major attack was scheduled for 4 June (it would later be officially designated as the Third Battle of Krithia). Territorial Battalions of the Manchester Regiment would lead the infantry attack on the Turkish positions. The role of the Engineers would be to follow behind the Manchesters and help to secure the captured Turkish trenches. They would then start to dig communication trenches back to the original British line and build strongpoints to be used in case of counter attack. Two Sections of Engineers, No. 3 & 4, were behind the 6th Manchesters, while No 1 & 2 took up position behind the 8th Battalion. An account of the attack is here.

As planned, the Engineers were quick to follow and got started on their work. Sometime during the day, Oswald was wounded in his back. He was evacuated down to the landing beach where he received attention from the military surgeons at 11th Casualty Clearing Station (believed to have been located at "W" Beach). The normal role of the field hospital would be to undertake such surgical care as was needed to stabilise the patient and permit his transfer away from the battle area to more permanent hospital facilities. The fact that Oswald was still there when he died three days later, perhaps suggests that the army triage system had determined his condition as hopeless. In such circumstances, he will have been made as comfortable as possible until he passed away.

The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 2 July 1915, reported a senior official of the Scouts in Marple as saying "The Scout movement has lost a very sincere wellwisher and friend. Mr Carver introduced the movement into Marple and gave it every assistance in his power. He seemed to realise the true spirit underlying it, not the popular one which I am glad to say is dying out, that it kept boys away from street corners, but the higher object, namely, that it gives an opportunity of applying their everyday life and games, the Christian principles they are taught in Church and School. Mr Carver answered the call of duty immediately the War broke out and had not the opportunity of seeing the Troop since it was re-organised in August last. Now he has answered the higher call and we have lost his personal assistance."

Oswald was related to a number of men commemorated on local memorials. His brother, Basil, died on 21 August 1916. He also had two cousins: Harold Barlow and Geoffrey Bagshawe.

   
           
   
     
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