Marjorie Carter was the daughter of a prominent Chelmsford surgeon who died a week after her 15th birthday. During the First World War she was an ambulance driver at the emergency hospital at Hylands House and during the Second World War she served with the Women's Volunary Service. She was fatally injured by a German V-1 flying bomb in July 1944 at Margaretting and died two days later in hospital in Chelmsford.
Marjorie was born at Fairfield House, Duke Street, Chelmsford on 26th October 1881, the younger daughter of the surgeon and doctor Edward Hunt Carter and Elizabeth Anna Carter (nee Heywood). Her father had been born in Billericay in 1839; her mother in Orsett about four years later. The couple had married in Lancashire in 1872.
Marjorie's four siblings (all Chelmsford-born) were: Douglas Heywood Carter (1873-1895), Harry Fothergill Carter (1874-1947), Edith Mabel Carter (1878-1952), and Cornelius Edward Carter (1880-1950).
She was bapised at St. Mary's Church, Chelmsford (today's Cathedral) on 10th December 1881. At the time her father was a surgeon living at Fairfield, Duke Street, Chelmsford a house which he had had built
Marjorie was recorded by the 1891 census living with her parents, four siblings, three servants and a visitor at Fairfield House in Duke Street, Chelmsford. Her father died in 1896 and the Essex Chronocle reported:
"DEATH OF MR. E. H. CARTER, OF CHELMSFORD.
We sincerely regret to announce the death, at the age of 57 years, of Mr. Edward Hunt Carter, M.R.C.S., L.S.A., of Fairfield House, Chelmsford. The sad event occurred at half past twelve on Saturday morning, after an illness of short duration.
Mr. Carter was out visiting patients on Monday, although he did not feel very well, and he went to bed early in the evening, saying he was very tired. Influenza, from which he had previously suffered several times, soon developed, and double pneumonia or inflammation of both lungs supervened. On Thursday it became apparent that the deceased gentleman had but a short time to live. He recognised this fact himself, and, in bidding farewell to his wife and family, expressed the wish that his funeral should be conducted quietly as possible. After suffering great agony, Mr. Carter passed away as already stated.
During his illness he received every attention at the hands of his brother, Dr. Fred. Carter, of Billericay, and his partner, Mr. H. W. Newton, of Chelmsford.
Mr. Carter was medical officer for the borough of Chelmsford, for the first district of the Chelmsford Union, surgeon to H.M. Prison, Chelmsford, and to the Essex County Constabulary. He was also one of the medical officers for the Chelmsford Infirmary as well as for the Essex Industrial School. In addition to these he had an extensive private practice.
He was a man of genial manners, and he was very humane to all his patients, less to prisoners in the gaol than to others. He fulfilled his duties, public and private, always in the same pleasant and efficient manner, and his death causes vacancies which it will not be easy to fill.
Mr. Carter began his medical career as a student at the London Hospital. He was subsequently gold medallist in medicine, house surgeon and pathological assistant. He received his diplomas, and was registered on the 9th of December, 1861.
On leaving the hospital he entered the Cape mail service and the Royal mail service, voyaging about a great deal and spending a considerable time in the West Indies, where worked among the yellow fever. He was surgeon on board the steamship Tamar, of the Royal mail service, on which, the same time, was Capt. Frank Wilson, of "Meadowside," Springfield.
Retiring from the service, Mr. Carter settled in practice at Writtie, near Chelmsford, and was appointed medical officer of health to one of the districts of the Chelmsford Union. He was at Writtle about 18 months, and then, the medical officership of the first district of the Union becoming vacant, secured it and came to Chelmsford, taking up partnership with the late Dr. Gilson, and living in Museum-terrace, London-road. This would be about 26 years ago.
Upon the death of Dr. Gilson, Mr. Carter was appointed surgeon to the gaol, and he also took over the duties of surgeon the County Constabulary. He became likewise medical officer under the old Local Board of Health, and subsequently, upon the incorporation of the town, under the Town Council. From Museum-terrace, Mr. Carter removed to the house at the corner Wells street, until recently occupied by Mr. Andrew Marriage, and later at considerable expense he erected Fairfield House, where he resided until his death.
Marjorie CARTER, Civilian
Died in Chelmsford from injuries caused by a V-1 flying bomb at Margaretting. Aged 62
The deceased gentleman was the second of six sons of the late Mr. William Carter, of Billericay. Of those six sons one only now survives, Dr. Fred. Carter, who is two years younger than Mr. E. Hunt Carter. The eldest surviving daughter is Mrs. Spitty, wife of Major Spitty, J.P., of Billericay.
The deceased was married on the Bth of February, 1872, at the Parish Church, West Derby, near Liverpool, the Rev. Edward Green, to Miss Elizabeth Anna, youngest daughter the late Mr. William Arthur Heywood, of Orsett Hamlet, Stock. The wedding took place from the residence of the bride's brother, who was a well-known Liverpool banker.
Mrs. Carter is sister to Capt. Heywood, of Stock. There were five children of the marriage— three sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Douglas, died last year, aged 22 years. The second son, Harry, left England for America about three weeks ago, and the third son, Cornelius, is a midshipman on board the Narcissus, at a China station. The eldest daughter, Edith (Mabel), is at home, and has been suffering from inflammation of the lungs and measles, but we are glad to learn that she is now getting better. The youngest daughter, Madge, is about 15 years of age, and is at school.
Apart from the offices he held, Mr. Carter did not take any active interest in public affairs. One of the late doctor's hobbies was a love of pigeons, and he obtained some celebrity as a breeder of homing birds. He was this year's president of the Pigeon Club. Mr. Carter was also a very fair shot, and a good fisherman. In politics he was Conservative to the backbone, and for some years he was Ruling Councillor of the Chelmsford Habitation of the Primrose League, being succeeded in that position by the present Ruling Councillor, Mr. G. W. Pascall. Socially, Mr. Carter was exceedingly popular. His kindly presence was always sought after, and many indeed were the calls upon his time in this direction. He was a member of the Chelmsford Beefsteak Club, and was chairman of their last dinner the Saracen's Head Hotel.”
A decade later the census listed Marjorie still living in Duke Street, with her mother, sister-in-law, and two servants. In 1911 the census recorded 29 year-old Marjorie living with her widowed mother and two servants at 60 Duke Street in Chelmsford.
During the First World War Marjorie was an ambulance driver on Lady Gooch’s staff at Hylands Park near Chelmsford where there was an emergency hospital. In 1915 Marjorie's uncle, Cornelius Edward Carter, survived the sinking of the Lusitania.
In her younger days Marjorie was a fine golfer, tennis player and horsewoman. She was a captain of the Chelmsford Ladies golf team and noted as a keen gardener. During the Second World War Marjorie served in the Women's Voluntary Service, despite being crippled by rheumatism.
At 12.20 a.m. on Sunday 16th July 1944 a German V-1 'doodlebug' fell at Bearman’s Farm in Margaretting and in the process caused the first V-1 fatality in the Chelmsford district.
The device demolished one house and seriously damaged farm buildings and two other properties. At ‘Tuhfaut’, a newly built house fronting the Writtle Road, Marjorie was one of four women who were trapped in the debris; the others being, Miss M. Clarke, Mrs. Radford, and Miss Radford. Rescuers, who included American soldiers, were quickly on the scene and managed to extricate the women who were rushed to hospital. However, the following day Marjorie died at the Chelmsford & Essex Hospital. Among those injured was Marjorie’s sister, Edith Newton, the widow of a Doctor.
One of the first to reach the scene was Leonard Watts, a sergeant in the Home Guard. He was quoted as having said: “We could hear the buzz overhead. Then the thing cut out, and there was a big flash and an explosion. I rushed down the road. All the black-out in the first house I came to had been blown out. When I got to Miss Carter’s house I found four persons were trapped there. A lot of people came to help. One man - it was too dark to see who he was - did magnificent work in going up into the wrecked, tottering bedroom and handing down one of the injured. It was difficult in the dark, but we managed to get all the people out.”
Marjorie’s funeral was held at Margaretting Church on 27th July 1944.
She left an estate valued at £6,867 4s. 10d. She left her freehold residence her nephew John F. Newton. £500 each to the children her brother Cornelius, her furniture, etc., to her sister. Edith M. Newton, of Fairfield. Margaretting I (executrix), and £1,500 and the residue of her property to her brother Cornelius In the will