War Memorials in Sowerby, North Yorkshire

 Pybus Cartwright

9th September 1896 - 4th November 1918 (age 22)

2nd Lieutenant
25th Squadron Royal Air Force

Pybus Edward Cartwright (senior) was a farmer originally from Pickhill. He was married to Mary and they farmed at Scorton moving to Stavely and later to Sowerby Parks. They had ten children including Pybus who was born at Scorton and was admitted to Sowerby Junior school on 28th May 1907 by which time the family was living at Sowerby Parks.

Pybus (junior) had joined the Yorkshire Light Infantry and arrived in France on 11th November 1915 where he served as A/Cpl before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps, which later became the Royal Air Force in 1918.


Pybus Cartwright - photograph provided Nick Stevenson

The following is taken from the 25th Squadron RAF operation reports:

30.10.1918 09:05                                                        photography 20,000'
D.H.9a 1069                                                               1 Vickers & 1 Lewis gun
Capt C.E.H. Allen DFC & Lieut P Cartwright
Valenciennes - Mons                                                  L.V.G. 2-seater
While on reconnaissance to NAMUR we observed a two seater going South. I altered my course to cut him off and started firing bursts at about 200 yards. I continued firing until within about 80 yards when we were evidently seen as the observer started firing while the pilot attempted to turn. I went straight at the E.A. and fired 60 rounds at close quarters when he stalled and fell on his back. The observer was seen to leave his gun and clutch at the gun mounting to save himself falling out. The E.A. then began to spin and continued to do so until lost to sight.
Signed by
Pilot: Chas Allen Capt. R.A.F.
Observer: P.Cartwright 2Lt


Pybus was killed in action five days later on 4th November 1918. He was flying with pilot Lt Lifford Kay Straw a native of South Africa on a duty photography mission in D.H.9a E9705. Both officers were recorded missing and later accepted as dead. Pybus was buried by the French, in the Communal Cemetery of Villers Sire Nicole in Northern France and his name later supplied to the British authorities by the local Maire. His is the only war grave in that cemetery. The village is close to the border with Belgium and approximately South of Mons.

Lt L.K.Straw was originally buried in the Communal Cemetery at the nearby village of Rouveroy, but after the War during the concentration of graves, his body was moved to Cement House Cemetery, Langemark-Poelkapelle. It does seem a little sad that two comrades who died together are now interred many miles apart.


The De Havilland 9a; the observer can be seen sitting high in the position Pybus Cartwright would have occupied


The lone grave of Pybus Cartwright in the Communal Cemetery at Villers Sire

Pybus was the last Sowerby man to die in action, he was lost only seven days before the Armistice was signed.

The Probate Register shows that Pybus left effects valued at £128 2s 1d.

Pybus Cartwright (senior) passed away on 25th November 1923 while living at Crabtree Farm, Kirby Whiske leaving effects valued at £4655 9s 6d.

The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.

Information about Pybus Cartwright on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Information about Pybus Cartwright on the War Graves Photographic Project website

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