George Cartwright was born at South Kensington, London, England, on 9 December 1894. After coming to Australia as a lone migrant, he found work as a labourer in the Glen Innes district    of New South Wales and, on his birthday on 6 December 1915, he enlisted in the First A.I.F. at the nearby town of Inverell. He was posted to the 33rd Battalion which left England for France in November 1916 and, in June 1917, Cartwright was wounded. After recovering and rejoining his unit he was severely gassed in  April and was away from his unit until late June.

He fought throughout the subsequent offensive until, on 31 August 1918, the advance of two companies was halted by intensive machine‑gun fire during the attack on Road Wood, south‑west of Bouchavesnes, near Peronne.

Private Cartwright rushed forward, killed three German machine‑gunners, threw a bomb at the gun emplacement and, single‑handed, captured the gun and nine German prisoners. His comrades stood up and cheered and then continued the attack with renewed morale. For his most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, Private George Cartwright was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 30 September, he was again wounded and repatriated to England for hospital treatment and he was discharged from duty in January 1919.

He was decorated with his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace by King George V on 8 March 1919 and, after his return to Australia, was discharged in Sydney on 1 July 1919.

On his return to his occupation as a clerk in civilian life he maintained his military activities by joining the 4th Battalion of the Citizen Military Forces (C.M.F.).

He rose to the rank of Sergeant and later he became a Warrant Officer and, on 25 February 1932, he was appointed Lieutenant and, on a number of occasions led the Sydney Anzac Day parade.

In October 1939 he was promoted to temporary Captain and, during the early years of the Second World War, he served at the Reception Training Depot in Eastern Command.

In September 1943, he was appointed for two years as Second‑in‑Command of the 28 h Infantry Training Battalion after which he was posted to the Australian Army Amenities Service until his demobilization in May 1946.

In April 1955, Lieutenant George Cartwright received the Efficiency Decoration for his C.M.F. Service.

His leisure activities included tennis and rifle‑shooting and he was an honorary member of the Royal Automobile Club of Australia.

He visited London in 1956 for the Victoria Cross centenary celebrations and he died at his home at Epping, New South Wales on 2 February 1978. His name is commemorated at the Rookwood Cemetery Garden of Remembrance in Sydney.

The machine‑gun which he captured is on display in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and his Victoria Cross and other medals are displayed in the land of his birth at the Imperial War Museum, London.

Bro. George Cartwright was initiated into Lodge Merrylands No.479 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales on 1 November 1923. He was passed to the Second Degree on 22 January 1924 and raised a Master Mason on 5 April 1924.

Bro. George Cartwright was one of many who fought bravely in the uniform of their adopted land.


Information supplied from the book " Australian and New Zealand Freemasons and the Victoria Cros" by Grahame Cumminge PDGM UGL of NSW & ACT