John Cornwell R.I.P.

April 18th, 2006  
sven hassell

Topic: John Cornwell R.I.P.

The world has a great loss as last Tuesday my stepfather John Travers Cornwell passed from this life to the next.
He spent 14 years in the Royal Navy as a Radar technician for the Fleet Air Arm and saw action during the suez crisis.
Upon leaving the Navy he worked as a radar technitian at Manston airport keeping our skies safe until he retired.
John Cornwell R.I.P.
Well now I expect you're all saying "off topic" but there is a reason why this is in the 'collectors' section'.
John chose to join the RN because of the story told of his uncle Jack Travers Cornwell and his V.C.
Although on display in the Imperial War museum,London the medal actually belonged to him and now belongs to my mother.
When it passes to my hands it will stay where it is and not end up in a private collection.
I urge you all to read below in memory to two great men .
John Cornwell

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This article is about John Travers Cornwell, also known as Jack Cornwell or Boy Cornwell, a hero of the First World War. For the article about a writer about the Roman Catholic Church, see John Cornwell (writer).
John Travers Cornwell, V.C., (8 January 1900 - 2 June 1916) usually known as Jack Cornwell, is remembered for his gallantry at the Battle of Jutland for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He is also known as Boy Cornwell.
John "Jack" Travers Cornwell was born as a third child into a working-class family in East Ham, London. His parents were Eli and Alice Cornwell. He joined the Boy Scouts but left school at the age of 14. At the outbreak of the First World War, ex-soldier Eli Cornwell volunteered for Royal Defence Corps and was fighting in France under Lord Kitchener. The older brother Arthur also served in an infantry regiment in Flanders.
In October 1915 Jack Cornwell gave up his job as a delivery boy and enlisted into the Royal Navy, without his father's permission. He had references from his headmaster and employer. He carried out his basic training at Keynham Naval Barracks at Plymouth and received further training as a Sight Setter or Gun Layer and became Boy Seaman First Class. On the Easter Monday of 1916, Cornwell left for Rosyth, Scotland to join his assignment in the navy. He was assigned to HMS Chester.
On May 31, 1916, Chester was scouting ahead of the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland when the ship turned to investigate gunfire in the distance. It soon came under intense fire from four Kaiserliche Marine cruisers each her own size which had suddenly emerged out of the haze and increasing funnel smoke of the battlefield. The shielded 5.5-inch gun mounting where Cornwell was serving as a sight-setter was affected by at least four nearby hits. The Chester's gun mountings were open backed shields and did not reach the deck. Splinters were thus able to pass under them or enter the open back when shells exploded nearby or behind. Although severely wounded Cornwell remained at his post until Chester retired from the action with only one main gun still working. Chester had received a total of 18 hits but partial hull armour meant the interior of the ship suffered little serious damage and the ship was never in peril. The situation on deck, however, was a bloody shambles. Many of the gun crews had lost lower limbs due to splinters passing under the gun shields. British ships report passing the Chester to cheers from limbless wounded gun crew laid out on her deck and smoking cigarettes, only to hear that the same crewmen had died a few hours later from blood loss or shock.
After the action Cornwell was found to be sole survivor at his gun, shards of steel penetrating his chest, looking at the gun sights and still waiting for orders.
Being incapable of further action, Chester was ordered to the port of Immingham. There Cornwell was transferred to Grimsby General Hospital, although he was clearly dying. According to Admiralty Surgeon, Dr. C. S. Stephenson, Cornwell took the news of his death very calmly. He died June 2, 1916 before his mother could arrive at the hospital. His family had him buried in nearby Scartho Road Cemetery.
Three months later, captain Robert Lawson of Chester described the events to the British Admiralty. Though at first reluctant, the Admiralty eventually decided to recommend Cornwell for a posthumous Victoria Cross and King George V endorsed it. The recommendation for citation from his Commanding Officer, Admiral Beatty, reads: "the instance of devotion to duty by Boy (1st Class) John Travers Cornwell who was mortally wounded early in the action, but nevertheless remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders till the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded around him. He was under 16 years old. I regret that he has since died, but I recommend his case for special recognition in justice to his memory and as an acknowledgement of the high example set by him."

"It is not wealth or ancestry
but honourable conduct and a noble disposition
that maketh men great."

Sir Robert Baden-Powell created a Cornwell Medal. The Cornwell Decoration, struck in his honour, is awarded by Scouting organizations throughout the Commonwealth. It is awarded to youth members for fortitude in the face of severe adversity.
April 21st, 2006  
Aye The Home Fleets engagement against the German High Sea's Fleet in 1916 had Strategic consiquences,They never tried it on again and reverted to unrestricted U-boat warfare.As a Grimsby man i can tell you 'Jack' is in good hands being amongst town men who have an impressive list of D.S.M's. And to boot i was a Boy Scout too!
Nice one Sven.
April 22nd, 2006  
May he rest in peace.
April 22nd, 2006  
Charge 7
I remember seeing the famous painting of Cornwell's action many years ago and marveled then at the story. Seeing it told again here with added details is as stirring now as it was to see the image back then.

There's a rather nice web page about him here: http://www.scouting.milestones.btint...k/cornwell.htm

The painting I'm talking about appears near the bottom of the page and shows Cornwell, looking like the child he still was, at the ready as gunsmoke and cordite swirl around him.
April 22nd, 2006  
April 23rd, 2006  

Topic: R.i.p

Rest in Peace good man.. and till we meet..
Rest in peace..

He might have died, but the legend will live forever. And his name, will flourish till the ends of time

sleep well, and R.I.P

April 23rd, 2006  
RIP sailor!
April 26th, 2006  
G Connor
What a great post. Personal, historical. A very nice piece of work. And, most likely, a labor of love.