Jack Cornwell was born in West Ham and 16 years old when he was horribly wounded at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and subsequently died.
Cornwell was a sight-setter
on a forward gun on HMS Chester. On 31 May 1916, the ship found itself facing four German cruisers and was attacked. The rest of Cornwell’s team were killed and, though seriously injured, he stayed at his post awaiting orders.
More than 6000 men died in the naval battle, though it allowed Britain to continue its crucial blockade of Germany.
Cornwell would have remained in obscurity, but Admiral Sir David Beatty mentioned him in the battle dispatch, printed in July 1916. The Daily Sketch picked up on his story and began to campaign for a burial with full naval honours.
In September 1916, Jack Cornwell was awarded the Victoria Cross. A pub is the street was in due course named ’The Victoria Cross’.Licence:
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