Captain Charles Brunskill Larter


Charles Brunskill Larter was born on 10 October 1891 at Kelvin, Glasgow, Scotland, son of warehouseman Frederick William Edward Larter and his wife Janey Elizabeth.

He enlisted in the Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry in 1909 (No.1607), rising to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 and being awarded a Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.

On 13 May 1915 he embarked for France with the regiment's B Squadron, where it joined the 9th (Scottish) Division.

During 1916 Larter applied for a commission and on 21 December was appointed 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 1st Reserve Cavalry Regiment. He was then attached to the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, joining it in the field at Boeschepe on 16 April 1917. He was posted to B Squadron.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and its officers and men transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Larter joined the battalion on 2 October, but left for England on 16 November where he transferred to the Tank Corps at Bovington.

On 19 December 1917 he embarked for France with J Battalion of the Tank Corps – soon after renamed the 10th Battalion.

The battalion saw much action during the German Spring Offensive on 25, 26 and 27 March, and 5 April 1918.

On 28 July Larter was given command of a section of the 10th Battalion's C Company and was appointed acting captain.

From 8 to 10 August the 10th Battalion was heavily involved in the Battle of Amiens, Larter serving in C Company alongside fellow former 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment officers Bayliff and Garnham.

On 8 August the twelve tanks of C Company were to support the 58th Division's attack to secure Chipplily Spur. Larter, commanding tank J48, later reported:

The long approach March had greatly heated the Tank and on arrival at jumping off point a very heavy mist came down so that we could neither see nor smell any Gas. Visibility extended for only five yards, so I drove on a Compass Bearing, crossed the front line at Zero and went in with the Infantry who were in scattered parties. Owing to having to swing several times to negotiate obstacles I lost direction in the mist and at 5.45 a.m. I and the crew were overcome by Exhaust fumes and Gas. With difficulty I stopped the Tank, got the Crew outside and revived them. I got into touch with the Infantry who were also lost, found our position which was K.26.c.1.4 and arranged to go on. At 8.15 a.m. I started again, driving myself, but ten minutes later succumbed to fumes again. On reviving I got into touch with other two Tanks and finding that the Infantry were digging in, we returned to the rallying point.

On the following day:

Left jumping off point at K.20.a.1.1. at Lens, crossed main road at K.20.b.3.9. and turned E, picking up Infantry, and following our barrage. Engaged enemy machine gun nests on the left front with case shot, which was most effective in the crops. After two rounds the firing mechanism broke. Repaired the damage, fired another round and it broke again. While repairing it again gunner and loader were wounded by splinters. Carried on engaging enemy with Hotchkiss and revolver fire. About K.15.d.6.8 I found that the Auto-vac had been pierced in two places and was leaking badly. I plugged the holes as best I could turned about and brought the tank out of action.

On 21 August 1918 on the opening day of the Battle of Albert, sixteen tanks of the 10th Battalion went into action at Bucquoy. Eleven would receive direct hits from the enemy, with sixteen officers and 53 other ranks as casualties. Larter (in Tank J48), Bayliff and Garnham commanded tanks in the right section. Tank J48 was hit and destroyed, Larter being wounded in the knee and hip. His company commander reported that:

At about 11.0 a.m. Lt. C.B. Larter was brought back to me and reported having sustained direct hits to his Tank and burn out.

His lance corporal later reported:

On proceeding into action this Tank was on the extreme right of the right Section. The Tank proceeded on the right of Longeast Wood and [was] fired at by a M.G. on its left. On going to meet it the Tank lost touch with the Infantry. At this time the 6pdr had a broken firing pin and efforts were being made to repair it. The Tank was moving towards the Railway and about this time received 2 direct hits and caught fire. The Tank was evacuated. The Officer & 5 O.R. were wounded by these hits. The wounded were sent to the dressing station and the remaining Personnel returned to Bienvillers.

After the war Larter returned to his home at 10 King Edward Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow. He was released from service in mid-1919. However on 20 May 1920 he re-enlisted at Glasgow as a private in the Tank Corps (No.386404). By the time he was discharged on 31 January 1922 he had reached the rank of Squadron Sergeant Major.

On the outbreak of war in September 1939 he was appointed a 2nd lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He later served as adjutant in a Home Guard battalion.

Larter died in Glasgow on 8 February 1966.