aka  Ben

Late of Lightning Ridge

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. #  ????

Rank:  Constable

Stations: ?, Lightning ( Hill ) Ridge – Death

ServiceFrom  ? ? 1916  to  3 December 1919 = 3 years Service

Awards:  No find on It’s An Honour

Born? ? 1892?

Died on:  Wednesday  3 December 1919 @ 11pm

Age:  27

Cause:  Suicide – Firearm – Committed

Coroner Findings:  Suicide while temporarily insane

Event location:  near Wombat Rd, 13 miles from Young, NSW

Event date:  Wednesday  3 December 1919 @ 11pm

Funeral date:  Friday  5 December 1919

Funeral location?

Buried at:  Church of England, Young

 Memorial located at?



[alert_yellow]BERT is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance[/alert_yellow]  *NEED MORE INFO





May they forever Rest In Peace


Lithgow Mercury (NSW : 1898 – 1954), Wednesday 10 December 1919, page 2


and his last invitation.

When several men in an hotel ( the Rose & Crown ) at Young were drinking the health of Constable Cartwright, he replied, ” I will bet you £5 I will be dead before any of you. If this gun cartridge will not finish me this revolver will. I invite you all to my funeral.” Later in the night the body of Cartwright was found on the Wombat-road with his brains blown out.


Young Witness (NSW : 1915 – 1923), Tuesday 9 December 1919, page 2

Bert Cartwright’s Death


The Coroner, Mr. G. S. Whiteman conducted an inquest this morning concerning the death of Bert Watson Cartwright, constable of police, who was found on the Wombat road on the night of December 3rd with his brains blown out, and a double barrelled gun beside him.

Formal evidence of the finding of the body was given by Constable Auld.

George Eastley, a gardener, residing at Spring Creek, said that he had known Bert Cartwright since childhood, and had always been on friendly terms with him. At a few minutes past seven on the evening of December 3rd, deceased had come to his home. He behaved in a peculiar manner, was staring about, and kept looking at his watch. At times he talked quite sensibly. After having a cup of tea he asked for his gun at 7.30 p.m. and announced his intention of going to town alone, but witness insisted on going part of the way with him. Deceased had been shooting rabbits in the locality, and had left the gun in witness’ keeping about three weeks before. Deceased shook hands with Mr. Punt, Mrs. Eastley and Miss Eastley, and as he reached the door said


As he and witness walked along the road together, deceased said ” I’m going to shoot myself tonight.” Witness replied. ” Don’t talk so foolishly,” but he insisted, ” It must be done tonight.” Both sat down and for an hour witness tried to reason with him, but he repeated, ” It must be done tonight.” When he made an effort to get the gun as they moved off, deceased said, ” You can’t get the gun, and if you did I’ve got a loaded revolver.” After a hundred yards he became excited and looked fierce. He took the gun out and ran into the scrub. Witness could not catch him, so returned home,and went a quarter of a mile for the assistance of his son. Both went to Mr. Bailey’s, and word came through by Mr. W. Eastley that Cartwright had returned to witness’ residence. Witness hurried back and found Bert Cartwright with the loaded gun in his hands and eventually persuaded him to come in and have a cup of coffee and some cake. Again he became restless, would stare, and kept pulling out his watch. At ten thirty witness asked him to stay the night, but he persisted in going. Witness asked him to come tomorrow, but he would not promise. Neither would he promise to go to the pictures next night. Both men walked a few hundred yards along the road when deceased ordered witness to go back. Witness appealed to him to think of his sister and brothers and not to take his life. As they continued, witness asked him for a loan of the gun, but he refused. Then he rushed ahead, put the gun cleaner and the case on a post, stared at witness for a full minute, made a cigarette and lit it. Then he rushed up to witness, and staring at him, said, ” You know nothing. ” He took up the cleaner and case again, shook witness’ right hand, said


and rushing away, called out, ” It will all be over before you get home ” Witness could not catch him and walked homewards. Having gone 100 yards, witness heard the report of a gun, and hastening home, got Mr. Punt to accompany him to the place whence the gunshot came.

They found Bert Cartwright dead on the side of the main road, in the shade of a bush. The gun was beside him. Mr. Punt waited while witness went to telephone to the police, who arrived about an hour later, and removed the body. Witness had asked deceased several times to explain his trouble, but the invariable reply would be. ” It is too late. ” Having known deceased all his life, witness believed him to be a temperate, steady young man. Generally speaking, deceased’s actions at ordinary times showed that he was not quite right in his mind. Witness believed that his troubles were imaginary.

Richard Punt, laborer, of Spring Creek, gave evidence of deceased having had one drink on the date of the fatality. He corroborated the evidence of the previous witness.

Mrs. Castledine, proprietress of the Rose and Crown Hotel, said that deceased was having a few drinks at the hotel on the afternoon of December 3rd, and when the other men wished him good luck, he said, ” I’ll bet you £5 I’m dead before any of you. If I don’t do it with this (a cartridge), I’ll do it with this (a revolver). Will you all come to the funeral?” Deceased stayed at the hotel for tea. He said that he was in trouble, but would not explain what the trouble was.

Mr. O. W. Cartwright, father of the deceased, deposed that his son was 27 years of age, and had been a member of the police force for three years. He was a single man stationed at Lightning Ridge, and did not wish to go back. His mother’s death, which took place two and a half years ago, had played on his mind.

Sergeant Wood deposed that he had received communication from the Police Department that the deceased was sober and trustworthy.

A verdict of suicide while temporarily insane wast recorded.


Young Witness (NSW : 1915 – 1923), Friday 5 December 1919, page 2

Shooting Fatality.


The report of a gun was heard near the Wombat road, about 13 miles from Young at about 11 o’clock on Wednesday night. Hurrying to the spot, Messrs Geo. Eastley and Potts found the dead body of Bert Watson Cartwright. A sporting gun ( double barrelled ) was near the body. The deceased man’s head was badly mutilated, obviously by a shot from the gun which, on examination, was seen to have just been discharged. Death must have been instantaneous.

Personal troubles had been known to have been a source of much worry to the deceased, who was a constable of police stationed at Lightning Hill, but at the time was visiting his relatives at Young on a holiday.

He had called for the gun, which had been left at Mr. G. Eastley‘s house, and had said that it was his intention to end it all. Mr. Eastley‘s attempts to dissuade him were of no avail.

The profoundest sympathy of many residents who have known Ben Cartwright from boyhood, are expressed for his bereaved relatives.

An inquest into the cause of the death will be held on Tuesday.

The interment was made in the Church of England cemetery to-day,

Rev. S. A. T. Champion officiating at the grave.



Young Witness (NSW : 1915 – 1923), Tuesday 20 June 1916, page 2


Mr. Bert Cartwright, son of Mr. O W. Cartwright, J.P., has been successful in passing an examination for entry into the mounted police force. Mr Cartwright was successfully coached by Mr. D. Perks at his evening school. We congratulate both teacher and pupil.



Young Chronicle (NSW : 1902 – 1910; 1913 – 1915; 1924 – 1934; 1936 – 1940), Tuesday 20 July 1915, page 2

A Revolver Shot

Mr. Bert. Cartwright, son of Mr. O. W Cartwright, met with an accident at his home on Sunday which might easily have been attended with more serious consequences. He.appears to have been extracting some bullets from a revolver, when he got his finger on the trigger and the weapon went off. Portion of his left hand was over the muzzle and the bullet went right through it. The fleshy part of the palm was punctured, just outside the bone connecting the little finger, but fortunately the bone was missed and the flesh only was wounded.



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