Rank: Private and Sapper
Regiment or Ship: Royal Engineers17th Bn Royal Fusiliers; Royal Defence Corps; Royal Engineers.
Service Number(s): G75292; 83596; 2210419
Occupation: Carpenter and Joiner
Date of Birth: 29.01.1899
Place of Birth: Keymer, Sussex
Address: 28 Windsor Road, Bexhill
Photos and newspaper articles
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Parents: William Frederick Cornell, b. 1863 in Cambridge, d. 1922, and Marguerite Annie Cornell (nee Douglas), b. 1863 in Stow-on-the-Wold, d. 1944. She was known as Annie and they married in 1888 in Thanet district, Kent.
William was a carpenter and joiner and the family lived in Victoria Road, Horley, Surrey in 1891 before moving to Sussex. In 1901 they lived at 4 Parkmore Terrace, Cuckfield Road, East Grinstead, and by 1911 were in Parklands Cottage, Keymer, Sussex – where John was born.
Marguerite Cornell, b. 1889 in Horley.
Edith Lucy Cornell, b. 1891 in Horley.
Frederick Cornell, b. 1893 in Horley.
Alex Cornell, b. 1898 in Keymer, Sussex.
Stella Cornell, b. 1901 in Keymer, Sussex.
There is no definite proof that John ever married.
First World War Experience
As John’s service records for the WW1 period have not survived we do not know what his experiences were during the war years – apart from the fact that he lost his left eye. This information we find in his service records from the time he later enlisted in the Royal Engineers (Reg. number 2210419; Rank: Sapper). From these records it seems that he served for 2 years and 9 months in the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Defence Corps. He was in the B.E.F. from 18th February 1918 to 13th March 1918 – when presumably he lost his left eye. He served on the Home Front until the end of hostilities in 1919.
After the war he enlisted in the Royal Engineers in December 1923. He passed an examination by the Centre of Trade Proficiency as Class III for the trade of Carpenter and Joiner on 20th December 1923.
He was, at that time, 23 years and 308 days old, and was of good physical development with a pulse of 80. He was 5’ 7½” tall, weighed 156 lb., and had a chest of 38” – expansion of 2½”. He was of fair complexion, with blue eyes and fair hair. He was shown to have two slight vaccination marks where he was vaccinated as a baby. His religion was Church of England.
His range of sight in his right eye was 6/24 without glasses, and 6/9 with glasses. He had a glass eye in his left socket. He was found to be fit for Army Service and joined the 209th Field Coy. Royal Engineers on 13th December 1923.
John was awarded both the Victory Medal and the British Medal for his services in WW1.