George was born in Kensington London, the only son of Brigadier General George Strachan Cartwright, C.B., C.M.G., Officier de la Legion D'Honneur, and of Kate Mary Cartwright (nee Stevenson). His father born in Canada, spent many years serving with the British Army and returned to Canada after his retirement.

He was educated at Trinity College School, Toronto, Trinity College, Toronto and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford from 1929 until 1932.

He graduated with a 2nd in PPE in 1931 and a B.Litt. [Economics] in 1934.

Records show that he arrived in Southampton from Quebec on 14 July 1926. On 14 March 1934, he arrived in New York from Plymouth. On 24 August 1935, he crossed from Canada into the United States at Buffalo, N.Y. and stated that his nationality was English. In the autumn of 1938, he had been in England with his father and they arrived in New York on the Queen Mary on 3 November.

The following is with acknowledgement to “Trinity College School, Toronto Old Boys at War 1939-45”

During the six years 1920-1926 which George spent at Trinity he created an enviable record, applying himself whole-heartedly to all the activities of school life. He played on the first Football team in 1924 and 1925, being captain of the team in the latter year. He also played on the cricket eleven for two years, proving to be a steady bat and an excellent fielder.

He was a School Prefect in 1924-1925 and Head Prefect during his last year. An outstanding student, in his final year he won the Jubilee Exhibition for Mathematics, the Governor General's Medal for Mathematics, was Head Boy and Chancellor's Prize Man, and by vote of the masters, was awarded the Bronze Medal for "steady perseverance in courtesy, industry, and integrity".

He entered Trinity College, Toronto, and there continued his brilliant record. In 1928, he was a member of the Championship O.R.F.U. Varsity football team, rowed in the Varsity eight, and took a leading part in many student organizations. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

In 1929, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for Ontario and entered Christ Church, Oxford, in the autumn of that year. At Oxford he won a half blue for lacrosse and again distinguished himself in his studies, taking his Bachelor's degree and a postgraduate degree of Bachelor of Literature during his three years there.

After his return to Canada, he was Secretary to the Right Hon. Vincent Massey and then became editor of the Canadian Forum. Later he was appointed Managing Editor of Current History, New York. He contributed articles to many publications, and often conducted broadcasts over the radio.

He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. in June 1941 as AC 2, after refusing a post as a commissioned officer at Headquarters in Ottawa. He won his wings in February 1942, heading his Observers' Class, and was promoted to Sergeant Observer. At the end of March, he was commissioned Pilot Officer. He went overseas in May; in England, he again headed his class in an advanced navigation course. He was promoted to Flying Officer in October and was in command of his crew.

On November 8, when his pilot was unable to fly, he volunteered as navigator with another crew. Over Hamburg, his Wellington ran into very heavy anti-aircraft fire and the plane was badly hit. The pilot gave orders to bail out and two of the crew jumped. With the lighter load, the rest of the crew decided to try to get home. They reached the East Anglian coast safely and the pilot tried to make an emergency landing. The crash killed both the pilot and Steven Cartwright; the rear gunner, who lived a short time, related the details.

Cartwright was the first Rhodes Scholar to be killed in the Second World War and was posthumously awarded the Operational Wings of the R.C.A.F. in 1946.

He served with 425 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He is buried in the cemetery at Dishforth, North Yorkshire. His grave is 35.

The cemetery contains 78 burials of the 1939-1945 War, of whom all were airmen and the majority belonged to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Many of the Canadian airmen buried here were stationed at Dishforth, the airfield having been used by No. 6 (R.C.A.F.) Bomber Group