Mr James Carter was reportedly born in Berkshire, England around 1866. Any other details about his early life remain uncertain.
The James Carter who was aboard the Titanic had joined the British military at some point although when is not certain; there are various candidates in service records but no individual has proved conclusive. Carter is known to have gone on to serve in the Queen's Lancers and also served in South Africa as Farrier-Sergeant of the South African Mounted Police. He was later a reservist of RAMC of Netley Hospital.
He was married in Southampton in 1909 to Marianna Kestell, née Pester, a native of the Channel Islands. Marianna was born in Vale, Guernsey on 24 October 1862, the daughter of a farmer and seemingly had a previous marriage to a man named Kestell, of whom nothing is known.
James and Marianna, having married late in life, had no children of their own. Whilst James was absent from the 1911 census, his wife was recorded as living at 5 Brinton's Road, Southampton.
When he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912, Carter gave his age as 35 and his name as "W. Ball," for reasons unknown.
He listed his address as 5 Brinton's Road and his previous ship as the Olympic and as a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6.
James Carter died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
CARTER--James, aged 46, the dearly beloved husband of Marianna Carter (Late of the Queen's Lancers, also Farrier-Sergeant of the South African Mounted Police and Special Reservist RAMC of Netley Hospital) of 5 Brinton's Road, Southampton. London papers please copy.
Hampshire Independent, 11 May 1912
His widow Marianna, who later benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund, never remarried and remained in Southampton, later living at 37 Andersons Road with her sister Amy Alice Knight (1866-1950). She died on 7 January 1945 aged 82.