David Cartwright Sapper WR/206248 - Royal Engineers Died on Thursday 20th February 1919, age 29 Buried Charleroi Communal Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium. The family of David Eli Cartwright had been living in Gnosall parish since at least 1865. He was born in Groundslow near Tittensor in 1887, the son of Thomas and Harriet Cartwright (née Tildesley). After temporary stays in Gailey and Groundslow, Thomas and Harriet returned to live at The Hollies, Gnosall. Thomas’ own father had been a farm bailiff, while Thomas became a farm waggoner, and David followed in his footsteps. David Eli Cartwright disembarked in France on the 4 th  of May 1915 as private 16391 of the West Riding Regiment. However, he was then posted to the North Staffordshire Regiment, then, to the Royal Engineers and eventually, to the Railway Operating Department of the Royal Engineers, becoming sapper WR/206248. His younger brother Thomas died at the Somme in 1916. After the war David was awarded The Victory medal, the British War medal and the 1915 Star.  Following the Armistice men were naturally keen to go home; however there was still much railway line repair to be done in order to restore communication deeper into the areas formerly held by the Germans. Demobilisation did gradually take place and the last Company had laid its last sleeper by August 1919. David Eli Cartwright died just before that, in Belgium on Thursday the 20 th  February 1919, aged 29. He is buried in Charleroi Communal Cemetery in Hainaut, Belgium. His grave is in Plot 1, number 12 in Row G, which is close to the ‘Great Cross’. On his headstone the inscription chosen by his parents reads: ‘A Devoted Son & A Brave Soldier’. Further: - At the start of the war the railway troops were not very numerous. The railway was the primary means of movement of men (included the wounded and later, fleeing refugees), munitions and supplies (the earliest troop movements gave rise to the phrase ‘war by timetable’) so this had to be remedied. Initial priority was given to men enlisting who already worked for the railways, but as time wore on soldiers with any experience were swapped round from other army units (especially with a major restructuring of the transport system in 1917). The trains and tracks were not only used: they had to be built and maintained. A construction train would have a complement of up to two Railway Companies with a Captain as officer commanding the train. This enabled the sappers to carry both themselves and all their necessary tools and equipment to and from wherever the next work was required, moving as speedily as possible towards one of their primary objectives: the front line, where the demand on light railways, horses and manpower could be relieved. Of course any work in progress was always a target for German artillery and airforce.