b. 04/06/1882 Lye, Worcestershire. d. 08/08/1952 Birmingham.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 17/04/1910 Russell Colliery, Dudley, Worcestershire (now Staffordshire).
Archer was the eldest of six children (4 boys, two girls) born to William and Elizabeth Cartwright on 4th June 1882. He was educated at Orchand Lane School in Lye. His father was a coal miner and his mother a tailoress and the family lived in Lye, Worcestershire. Following his schooling, he attended mining classes at the Dudley Institute under the tutelage of Mr Charlton. By 1901, Archer was 18 and was working as a coal hewer in the same colliery as his father. The family were living at 54 Stourbridge Road in Lye at this time. In 1902, he married Ethel Davies in Stourbridge, and they had two children, Constance (born 1903) and William (born 1905). Sadly Ethel died in 1908 and left Archer with two young children under the age of 10, living with his in laws at 78 Church Road, Netherton. It was soon after this that Archer, now the Colliery Under Manager, was involved in the incident which led to his Edward Medal. He received his medal from King George V at Marlborough House on 2nd August 1910. In the summer of 1913, he married for a second time to Sarah R Grainger in Dudley, and they eventually settled in Halesowen, where Archer was still listed as a Colliery Under Manager in the 1939 England and Wales Register, aged 57. He had worked as Under Manager at JJ Chandler & Co, Oldbury and at Coombs Wood Colliery, Dudley. Archer died on 8th August 1952 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, aged 70, and left £720 in his will to his widow, Sarah.
On the 17th April. 1910, an underground fire, in which the lives of two workmen were lost, occurred at the Russell Colliery, near Dudley, Staffs—a district where the workings are peculiarly liable to spontaneous combustion. The fire broke out at a point about 114 yards from the bottom of the downcast shaft, and when it was discovered by smoke issuing from the upcast shaft, the Manager of the mine, accompanied by several workmen, proceeded to the spot to try and put the fire out. After working for a considerable time in the heat and smoke, two of the party, Archer Cartwright (Under Manager) and Anthony Willets, were sent to the surface for tools, leaving the Manager and two workmen to proceed with the work of fighting the fire. In their absence, both the Manager, who, feeling the effects of the smoke, had walked back a short distance, and the two workmen were overcome by the noxious atmosphere. Willets, on his return, found the Manager unconscious and dragging him, in spite of his very heavy weight, to the bottom of the shaft, brought him safely to the surface. Willets and Cartwright and a third man named Samuel Slater then descended the shaft in order to try and rescue the two workmen who had succumbed. They found them and attempted to carry them back; but Willets, who was already exhausted by his previous efforts, gave signs of giving way, and Cartwright and Slater also feeling ill-effects, they were all compelled to return and leave the two unfortunate workmen. On their way back, Willets fell down unconscious, and Cartwright and Slater, being unable to help him, made their way with difficulty to the surface. They were able, however, to tell Isaiah Walker of Willets’ condition, and he volunteered to try and bring Willets out. Descending the mine alone, and crawling on his hands and knees under the smoke, Walker managed to reach Willets, whom he found lying on his face about 27 yards from the shaft., Seizing him by the shoulders, Walker managed to drag Willets to the shaft bottom, and then took him up in the cage. Walker again went down the shaft in the hope of reaching the two workmen left in the mine; but this time he was unsuccessful, and was forced to come back.
BURIAL LOCATION: LODGE HILL CREMATORIUM, SELLY OAK, BIRMINGHAM.
ASHES SCATTERED IN GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATE COLLECTION. BEING SOLD AT NOONANS ON 24TH MAY 2023 – ESTIMATE £1,500-£2,000
Dix Noonan Webb – Image of the Cartwright Edward Medal.