Hailsham’s Victoria Cross hero to be honoured

Nelson Victor Carter, of Hailsham, awarded the VC posthumously
Nelson Victor Carter, of Hailsham, awarded the VC posthumously

A commemorative paving stone will be unveiled in Hailsham next year to honour the memory of Victoria Cross winner Company Sergeant Major Nelson Victor Carter.

The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme that will see every VC recipient of the First World War – 628 in total – honoured with a paving stone in their place of birth.

The first paving stones were laid in communities around the UK on August 23 last year and each ceremony will take place 100 years to the day since each recipient’s actions.

Nelson Victor Carter was born in April 1887 and educated in Hailsham. On the outbreak of war he joined Lowther’s Lambs in September 1914, was promoted corporal on the same day, then sergeant and later Warrant Officer Class II.

He was then was sent to France attached to ‘A’ Company, 12th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment, and served with this unit until his death in action during the Battle of the Boar’s Head (Richebourg l’Avoue) on June 30 1916.

The VC was awarded posthumously – “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 Victoria Cross stone will be installed next to the war memorial in Hailsham High Street during a special ceremony which will take place in June 2016.

Mayor Cllr Jo Bentley said, “The Town Clerk John Harrison and I sought permission from the Department of Communities and Local Government to honour Company Sergeant Major Nelson Victor Carter VC by purchasing a commemorative Victoria Cross stone to honour his courage and provide a lasting legacy of this Hailsham-raised and educated hero, a true son of Hailsham.

“But this stone will also serve as a representation of the bravery of all born, raised or educated in our town who served in the First World War and of the sacrifice of those who fell.”