LIEUTENANT ROBERT LESLIE CARPENTER
26TH OCTOBER 1915 AGE 20
BURIED: DUD CORNER CEMETERY, LOOS, FRANCE
"To what purpose is this waste?" is the question the disciples indignantly asked Jesus after a woman has poured a box of precious ointment over his head. They claimed that the ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor rather than wasted in this way. But Jesus told them that the woman "hath wrought good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always".
Is there a message here? Did Robert Carpenter's parents mean that what might look like a waste of their son's life in fact had a higher purpose? Somehow I don't think so. Somehow I think that they were questioning the purpose not only of their son's death but that of all the young men who lay buried with him in the battlefields of the world.
Robert Carpenter was educated at Whitgift Grammar School and commissioned into the 17th Battalion The London Regiment on 6 May 1914, before the outbreak of war. He was killed at Loos on 26 October 1915, the battalion's first engagement.