Funeral of brave young solder who gave his life trying to rescue his commander

Fusilier Louis Carter

Fusilier Louis Carter

The Funeral, with full military honours, of Fusilier Louis Carter, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF), took place at the Parish Church of Our Lady of the Angels, Nuneaton, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham on Thursday,  3 September.

Nuneaton-born Fusilier Carter was killed while carrying his wounded section commander, Lance Corporal James Fullarton, on a stretcher following an explosion while on patrol near Sangin in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Sunday, 16 August. 

Fusilier Carter, aged 18, died alongside the section commander he was trying to save, and Fusilier Simon Annis. Their deaths, from the same Battalion, announced by the MoD, took the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan to 204 since operations began in 2001.

Fusilier Carter was born in 1990 and joined the British Army in January 2007. After training he was posted to the Second Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in April 2009 and sent out to join them in Helmand Province.

Despite the daunting task of deploying straight to a war zone, Fusilier Carter adapted himself well to life on operations and very quickly became a respected and popular member of 2 Section, 3 Platoon.

The Funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr Philip Harrop, Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Angels, assisted by his two Permanent Deacons, Rev Mr Michael Skidmore and Rev Mr Trevor Smith.  The church was packed to capacity and hundreds of friends, comrades and local people lined the pavements outside to listen to the service on loudspeakers.

During his homily Fr Philip Harrop said: "On Sunday 16 August the Louis family were plunged into their own Calvary experience with the devastating news of his death - a deep sadness shared by his fellow fusiliers, and, as the news spread, by so many friends and by this community.

"One of the things that you have been doing is to talk about Louis. Lots of times, I'm sure, you will have said: 'Do you remember that time when Louis said this or did that?' And for Louis' parents these will be special memories over the whole span of his life.

"Then there was his other family, his adopted family if you like, the Royal Fusiliers - that at last he became what he had long dreamed of becoming. He loved doing it and died doing what he loved."

Fr Harrop stressed: "In some ways like the barren, dusty and seemingly hopeless scene that the Gospel described (of the death of Jesus on the Cross
at Calvary), Louis's death far away in Afghanistan seems an unlikely setting
for hope, of something beautiful.

"Yet in how he died and in the way he died - trying to save a comrade, a brother-in-arms - there is a great deal that is awesome. That in Louis we now see incredibly clearly a maturity, a bravery, a generosity that is truly remarkable.

"Jesus once said: 'Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.' (John 15:13). Although Louis was so very young, he showed a stature, a strength of character, a commitment to his superior officer, his comrades and friends that is truly inspiring."

Speaking on behalf of the family before the Prayers of Commendation, Fusilier Carter's uncle, Ray Carter, said the soldier was a "true role model". He ended: "Louis, we will remember you and your qualities when we are facing our trials. You are our Louis, our soldier, our hero."

It was drizzling as the Bearer Party of six Royal Fusiliers carried Louis' coffin, draped in the Regimental Flag, out of the church he knew so well. The Catholic church where he was baptised, made his First Holy Communion, was Confirmed and attended Mass.

A three volley salute was fired before the Bearer Party gently placed the coffin in the hearse for Louis's last journey to Nuneaton Crematorium. He died a hero serving his country.

In a tribute at the time his death was announced, Fusilier Carter's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, said: "Fusilier Louis Carter gave his young life just as he was embarking on his career with the Fusiliers." He added: "Thrown into to the thick of it right from the start Fusilier Carter quickly became a key member of his battle-hardened platoon."

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