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William McNeill Carleton

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

William McNeill Carleton (31 August 1874 – 4 October 1918) was the second son of Salvation Army Commissioner John Aiken Carleton, a contemporary of William Booth.[1] As a young man he went to South Africa to pioneer work among the Zulu people, first with The Salvation Army and then later as an ordained Congregational church minister. Passionate about soccer, he is notable for introducing soccer to Africans in South Africa and forming one of the first soccer clubs for people of colour. He was a chaplain to the British West Indies Regiment during World War I and died when the ship he was on, the SS Harino Maru, was torpedoed by UB-91 (commanded by Wolf Hans Hertwig).[2]

Salvation Army[edit]

Carleton was appointed to accompany Commissioner and Mrs David Rees to South Africa. He was a captain and only 20 years old. For some reason this appointment was changed and he went to help with the Zulu work under Commissioner James Allister Smith, a great Salvation Army pioneer of this work. In 1896 Carleton was appointed to the Huletts settlement to assist with the building up of this centre. He was given the Zulu name “Dabulamanzi”.

He returned to England to marry Geraldine Onslow, the daughter of Denzil Roberts Onslow, on 7 June 1899 at Penge Corps, London. They returned to Natal to continue with the mission. In 1906 there was the Bambatha rebellion against British rule and taxation in Natal, South Africa. Carleton was working at the Miriam Booth settlement in the middle of the trouble. His superior, James Allister Smith wrote in “Zulu Crusade”: ‘Willie Carleton - son of commissioner Carleton, and his wife were officers at the time. Despite ugly rumours of an intended wholesale massacre of Europeans, the Carletons and their children remained after other whites had moved away, until their native soldiers told the Captain that it was not safe to stay any longer. After a terrifying journey they reached Ixopo where with the others they found refuge in the jail.[3]

The Congregational Church & Soccer[edit]

Congregationalist missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions began work in KwaZulu-Natal in 1830.[4] These early missionaries were not simply intent on founding new churches. From the start, they fought for the rights of the indigenous peoples, and established educational institutions[5] or in the case of Carleton, sporting institutions.

Carleton took up an appointment with the American Board and established the first mission at Ifafa on the Natal south coast. Carleton started the Bush Bucks Football Club in 1902, one of the first football clubs for people of colour in South Africa.[6] Carleton was known as a 'fanatical footballer and a strong coach', a person who worked tirelessly to provide sporting opportunities for African youths.[7] He invited boys from Ifafa, Amahlongwa, and Mtwalumi missions on camping trips that involved serious football training. Mission school students formed a substantial portion of players within many clubs in Natal.[8]

African soccer traces its roots to the Ifafa mission station near Durban.[9]

Army chaplain[edit]

Carleton was on home leave from South Africa at the start of World War I. His name was put forward by the United Board in 1916 to be a chaplain. He was appointed to the British West Indies Regiment. He demobbed shortly before the end of the war and was returning to South Africa with his son, Jack, when their ship, the SS Hirano Maru, was sunk by enemy submarine SM UB-91, just five weeks before Armistice Day.

In 1919 in the ‘Salvation Army Messenger Magazine’ ran the following report: “The commissioner’s second son, The Rev William M Onslow–Carleton, and his 10 year old grandson, Jack, were returning to South Africa on the SS Harino Maru on October 4th 1918, when the ship was sunk by enemy submarine action, and we regret to say that both lives were lost. Mr Carleton, about 18 months before, had come to England with his sons Denzil and Jack, and shortly after arriving he was appointed as chaplain to the 3rd British West Indies regiment, and was able to do good work for those concerned whilst in that position. The eldest son Denzil, was granted a commission in the Royal Air Force. Little Jack was a general favourite with all who were privileged to know him. He dearly loved his grandfather and the Salvation Army. His body was subsequently found on the Welsh coast and brought to London, where it was laid to rest in the cemetery where his grandmother and cousin Carl, and the late Staff Captain Earls are buried.”

Carleton was lost at sea.


  1. "The Proof is in the Pudding". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  2. "Kapitänleutnant Wolf Hans Hertwig - German and Austrian U-boats of World War One - Kaiserliche Marine". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  3. Smith, James Allister. "Zulu Crusade, etc". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  5. Template:Http://
  6. Hill, Lloyd (1 January 2010). "Football as code: the social diffusion of 'soccer' in South Africa". Soccer & Society. 11 (1–2): 12–28. doi:10.1080/14660970903331300. Retrieved 24 November 2017 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  7. Template:Alegi P 2004. Laduma! Soccer, Politics and Society in South Africa. Scottsville South Africa: University of Kwa Zulu-Natal Press.
  8. {{Alegi P 2006. Sport, Race, and Liberation: A Preliminary Study of Albert Luthuli’s Sporting Life. in Sport and Liberation in South Africa: Reflections and Suggestions, edited by C. Thomas. Alice: University of Fort Hare Press, 2006: 66-82.}}
  9. Template:Http://

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