Harry Cartwright was born in Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1867, the eldest son of John and Mary Ann Cartwright. His father was a warehouseman.
Harry Cartwright was a professional steward serving in the British Mercantile Marine and in 1915 he lived at 35 Loreham Road, Widnes, Cheshire. On 12 April 1915 he engaged as a first class bedroom steward in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania, at Liverpool at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d (£4.25). It was not the first time that he had served in this capacity on the liner.
Having left the River Mersey on 17 April 1915, the Lusitania crossed the Atlantic without incident and docked in New York on 24 April 1915. She left for her return voyage to Liverpool on the early afternoon of 1 May. Six days later, on the afternoon of 7 May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, within sight of the coast of southern Ireland. At that time she was only about 250 miles away from the safety of her home port.
Harry Cartwright was killed as a result of this action and his body was not recovered and identified afterwards. As he has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 48 years.
In August 1915 his family received the balance of pay owed to him in respect of his service on the
Lusitania’s last voyage from Cunard. This was reckoned to be from 17 April 1915 until 8 May - 24 hours after the liner had been sunk. In addition the Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted a yearly pension to one Mrs Ella Gregson to compensate her for the loss of Harry Cartwright which amounted to £46-0s-0d (£46.00) payable at the rate of £11-10s-d (£11.50) per quarter. The relationship between Harry Cartwright and Mrs Gregson is unknown.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR 13/24, Lawrence Evans.