Private 1675 Joseph Cartwright

Killed in Action on Friday, 21st July 1916, age 21.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 5 A and 6 C of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

1st/7th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 144th Brigade of 48th Division.

Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 31st March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Dudley Clock Tower memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1542588/

Genealogical Data

1911 Census
10 New King Street, Dudley, Worcs.
George Underwood (Head, 37, Cropper and Bundler, born Tipton), his wife Lydia (35, born Dudley), and their 4 surviving children of 7: Arthur (13, School, born Tipton), Eva (5, born Tipton), Dora (3, born Dudley), and Nellie (1, born Dudley). Also George's 2 brothers-in law: David Cartwright (25, Vice maker, born Dudley), and Joseph Cartwright (15, Apprentice Currier, born Dudley).

Personal Data

Joseph attested with the 7th Battalion of the Worcester Territorials on 8th February 1912. He was living at 18 Holcroft Street, Tividale, and was an Apprentice Currier (leather dresser) at J & A Hillman in Trindle Road, Dudley. He was 17 years and 7 months old, 5 feet 4½ inches tall with a 32½-inch chest; his vision was good and his physical development also good.

In common with most Territorials, Joseph waived his 'home-service' only obligation and on the 9th September 1914 agreed to serve abroad. After 7 months training, Joseph departed from Folkestone on 31st March 1915, and landed in Boulogne on the 1st April 1915. His military career was not unblemished. On 14th June 1915 Joseph was given the severe punishment of 21 days Field Punishment No. 1 for "not complying with an order", and on 20th May 1916 he was given 7 days Field Punishment No. 1 plus 2 days loss of pay for "overstaying his leave from 12 noon on 18th May to 12 noon on 19th May."

Action resulting in his death

On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 1/7th Worcesters were in the front-line between Gommecourt and Serre, but were not to attack. On 4th July they relieved the Leeds and Bradford pals of 31st Division at Serre where they stayed for the next 12 days. These days were remembered for the horrors of the remnants from the desperate fighting in this area on the 1st July.

On 15th July the 1/7th Worcesters moved back into the line at Ovillers. Over the next 6 days the advance captured Ovillers, or what was left of it, and continued to push northwards. 34 men of the 1/7th Worcesters were killed during that time.

The 1/7th Worcesters were to be relieved by the 1/8th Worcesters on the 20th July but the 1/8th, almost to a man, were disabled by a German gas bombardment, so preventing the relief. On the 20th/21st July 'D' Company of the 1/7th, in conjunction with the 1/6th Gloucesters, were to attack German positions to their north. In the mud and darkness the attack failed and the 1/7th lost 2 officers and 2 other ranks to German machine guns; one of these men was Private Joseph Cartwright. None of these men have known graves, and all, including Joseph Cartwright, are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 20th January 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
Previously reported missing, now reported killed.
WORCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT- Cartwright, 1675, J., (Tipton).

Tipton Herald 31st March 1917
Pte J Cartwright of Worcs Regiment (Tipton) is officially reported killed. This could be this man, or the other J Cartwright.