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George Cartwright attended the Royal Academy, Woolwich before joining the 39th Regiment of Foot (Dorsets) as an Ensign on 19th June 1755, and was promoted to Captain on 21st May 1762, before retiring on half pay in 1765. Interestingly he joined the Regiment a day after Eyre Coote and the two served together in India, though to Cartwright's regret he did not participate in the battle of Plassey. In 1760 he accompanied the Marquis of Granby to Germany as his ADC during the 7 years war.
From 1770-86 he spent most of his time in Labrador as a fish and fur trader and entrepreneur. He became well known for his interest and work with the Innuit community gaining their trust and keeping a diary of his exploits, which received wide acclaim. In 1772 something of a stir was created when Cartwright brought a family of 5 Innuit to London, where they met King George the Third.
His influence was such that a trading settlement in Labrador adopted his name, and is known as 'Cartwright' to this day.