2nd Lieutenant Alexander Cartwright 7th generation soldier begins Army career 11102021 Credit MOD_0.jpeg
2nd Lieutenant Alexander Cartwright (left) the seventh generation soldier begins his Army career, next to father Brigadier Stephen Cartwright (Picture: Army).
Army

Seventh generation soldier from one family begins Army career

Military service in the British Army in the Stewart/Cartwright family dates back to 1799, during the Napoleonic Wars.

2nd Lieutenant Alexander Cartwright 7th generation soldier begins Army career 11102021 Credit MOD_0.jpeg
2nd Lieutenant Alexander Cartwright (left) the seventh generation soldier begins his Army career, next to father Brigadier Stephen Cartwright (Picture: Army).

The military runs in the blood of one family which has celebrated its seventh generation becoming part of the British Army.

Second Lieutenant Alexander Cartwright – weeks ago and with about 300 others – marched up the steps of Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to start his career as an officer in the British Army. 

Few can claim such a long period of military service in the British Army as the Stewart/Cartwright family – their commitment dates back to 1799, during the Napoleonic Wars.

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After the commissioning parade, father Brigadier Stephen Cartwright spoke about how "special" the day was for the family. 

"It has been a particularly challenging course for them, with all the COVID restrictions, so my first thought was to them all as one team for their achievement," he said.

"I am, of course, thrilled that the next Cartwright generation is now represented in the Army and the Regiment (Royal Regiment of Scotland), and quietly hope we have a grandchild – but we are in no rush – that can make it eight generations!"

2nd Lieutenant Cartwright was pleased to have a "proper" Sovereign's Parade and commission finally back in front of our friends and family after restrictions kept recent ceremonies behind closed doors.

"I am proud to follow in the footsteps of many Cartwrights and Stewarts and I hope I can do my forefathers proud, while also making my own journey in the Army." 

The serving members of the family would have taken part in some of the most well-known and largest conflicts in British history

Watch: The Prime Minister attends Sovereign's Parade in August as hundreds of officer cadets are commissioned.

2Lt Cartwright said: "Of course – there is a lot of military history in my family tree. 

"I was 11 when Dad went to Afghanistan and I remember it well, preparing myself for the worst, especially when there were reports in the national news of what the battalion was doing and the operations they were on.

"I am really looking forward to going on operations and playing my part, serving the soldiers under my command and I hope I can do right by them."

The family's history

The family's military history began in 1799 when 2Lt Cartwright's great, great, great, great, grandfather Donald Stewart joined the 72nd Regiment of Foot, and fought at Waterloo where Napoleon Bonaparte's forces were defeated in 1815.

His son, also called Donald Stewart, served in the Gordon Highlanders between 1853-55 and fought in the Crimean War.

2Lt Cartwright's great, great, grandfather Peter Baxter Stewart joined the Gordons in 1891 and served until 1912. He re-joined the Army at the outbreak of World War One and was killed in action during the Battle of Loos in 1915.

Moving to the Cartwright side of the family, Francis Ernest Hadgraft Cartwright - 2Lt Cartwright's great grandfather - served in the Army during the First World War, was demobbed but re-joined in 1919. He retired in 1951 as a Major.

2Lt Cartwright's grandfather, Ian Gordon Stewart Cartwright – and two great-uncles, one of whom died in service – also joined the Army. He served from 1958 to 1990, retiring as a Lieutenant-Colonel.

On to 2Lt Cartwright's father, Brig Cartwright's service has included Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, where he was awarded the OBE. He was Commanding of 3 SCOTS, while his brother was Commanding Officer of the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

2Lt Cartwright has been commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Scotland and will join the 2nd Battalion in Penicuik shortly after his post-Sandhurst infantry platoon commander's training.