Mr James Edward Cartwright was born in Mile End, London, England on 18 August 1879, later being baptised on 14 September that year in St Philip's Church, Stepney.
One of over a dozen children, he was the son of James Cartwright (b. 1851), a cobbler, and his wife Cecilia Ellen, née Tucker (b. 1854), both natives of Middlesex who were married in 1872.
He was brother to: Cecilia (1872-1961), Elizabeth (1875-1875), Ann (b. 1876), Mary Ann (b. 1881), Thomas George (1883-1928), George (1885-1885), William (b. 1886), Clara (1888-1890), Edward (b. 1889), Rose (b. 1891), Frank (1893-1893) and Ethel (1895-1896). He also had a half-brother, Albert John (1900-1904).
The 1881 census shows the infant James living with his family at 10 Thomas Street, Hamlet, London; in April 1884 he was enrolled as a pupil at Lower Chapman Street School.
James’ mother died aged 42 in 1896 and his father was remarried to a lady named Henrietta Avery (b. 1871), with whom James' half-brother Albert was born. The family, minus James, is listed on the 1901 census living at 98 Heath Street, Mile End.
When the 1911 census was taken James was again absent from the family home but his father, who by then described himself as single, and along with his brother William were listed as living at 65 Gosset Street in Bethnal Green. His eldest sister Cecilia was married to Nottage John Anderson (1871-1949), a compositor at the East London Observer for many years.
Cartwright signed-on for the maiden voyage of Titanic on 4 April 1912, stating his local address as 11 Western Terrace in Southampton. Having previously served aboard Olympic, as a first class saloon steward aboard Titanic he earned monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Mr J. E. Cartwright, of Mornington Road, Bow, was one of the stewards on the ill-fated Titanic when she met with disaster. Unhappily no news has been received of him, and the worst is feared. He was the brother-in-law of Mr N. Anderson, one of the oldest members of the “East London Observer’s” staff. Mr Cartwright was 32 years of age, unmarried, and a well-known Freemason in East London. — East London Observer, 20 April 1912
James Cartwright, a Freemason, died in the sinking; his body (#320) was recovered by the Montmagny and was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 10 May 1912.