Hartlepool hero wasn’t the only saviour in his family

Capt Charles Carter.
Capt Charles Carter.

Captain Charles Henry Carter’s heroism made headlines in our Memory Lane pages earlier this month.

The Hartlepool Mail report of how he came to the rescue of a ship’s crew certainly caught the attention of Hartlepool’s Museums Manager Mark Simmons.

Mark Simmons

Mark Simmons

Because by complete coincidence, Mark was working on the same story about Captain Carter at exactly the same time.

He was able to provide us with much more detail.

And thanks to Mark, we now know that heroism ran in Captain Carter’s family.

Chris Cordner reports.

Charles Carter was married to the daughter of Captain Thomas Smith of the SS Southwood. Captain Smith himself won a commendation and was later awarded the MBE for his rescue of the crew of the SS Effra on April 17, 1941

Mark Simmons

Charles Carter was born on January 13, 1913, in Baltic Street, Hartlepool - the son of a publican.

His father was Robert Henry Carter who ran the Fleece, the Royal and the Sun Inns and was also the Mayor of Hartlepool from 1938 to 1941. He served four terms in office.

But Charles was making his own mark on the world after working on herring drifters as a boy.

He first joined a merchant vessel in 1929 aged 16, working for Ropners of West Hartlepool. He joined the Constantine Shipping Line in 1930.

His family was living at the Sun Inn when he married Agnes Smith at St Hilda’s Church in 1940. Agnes was the daughter of Captain Thomas William Smith and Annie Smith.

Mark told us: “Charles Carter was married to the daughter of Captain Thomas Smith of the SS Southwood.

“Captain Smith himself won a commendation and was later awarded the MBE for his rescue of the crew of the SS Effra on April 17, 1941. Carter was also present at this rescue, as he was a senior member of the Southwood’s crew at the time.”

Mark knows of the story as “Captain Charles Henry Carter left the Museum of Hartlepool both his “Order of Glory of Tunisia” and his MBE in his will of 1982.”

In 1950, he took nine men aboard his ship from a crippled Tunisian vessel called the Tebourba. Thanks to Master Carter, she was towed 62 miles to safety in Marseilles. That led to the Tunisian Government making him a Commander of the Order of Nichan Iftikhar.

Mark added: “According to an internet discussion in 2013 the Captain of S.S TEBOURBA was named Eugène Coadou. His grandson comments that Captain Carter saved the Tebourba but refused the prize for the ship’s salvage, as Coadou had rescued his countrymen when he had gone to the aid of the sinking SS Yewkyle in 1945.”

We will continue our coverage on the family in the Hartlepool Mail next week.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to share their own family history should email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk