13862 SJT. H. E. CORNALL. L.N.LAN.R.

 

Henry Eastham Cornall was born in Fleetwood in July 1890 and baptised on 3 August.  His father was Matthew Cornall (b. 1858 in Warton), a railway locomotive engine driver for the Lancs and Yorks Railway.  His mother was Elizabeth Eastham (b. 1857 in Lytham).  Matthew and Elizabeth were married in Lytham in 1877 and they had 10 children, 8 of whom survived infancy.  All bar Henry were girls: Alice (b. 1877), Agnes Annie (b. 1879), Edith (b. 1881), Elizabeth (b. 1884), Emily (b. 1885), Bertha (b. 1886), Mary (1889-1892), then Henry, and finally Margaret Ellen (b. 1896).  The family lived in Lytham until about 1887, then briefly in Blackpool and Fleetwood before moving to Bamber Bridge in about 1895, where they first lived in Jackson Street before moving round the corner to 254 Station Road.  In 1911, while his sisters were weavers, Henry was an engine cleaner for the railway (though later on his death certificate his occupation was recorded as railway clerk).

 

Henry signed up at the outbreak of War and was assigned to 8th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, with service number 13862.  8th (Service) Battalion was formed at Preston in September 1914 and came under command of 74th Brigade in 25th Division.   After initial training, they landed at Boulogne on 16 September 1915.  Henry joined the Battalion a few days later on 29 September.  On 26 October 1915 the Battalion was transferred to 7th Brigade in the same Division.  Either in training or later in the field, Henry obviously proved to be a capable soldier as at some stage he was promoted to Sergeant.

 

In May 1916, 8Bn was engaged in a defensive action against a German assault on Vimy Ridge.  In July, during the opening days of the Battle of the Somme, the Bn was engaged in a number of fruitless but costly operations near Thiepval and La Boiselle.  During the next phase of the battle (the Battle of Bazentin), the Battalion was again engaged though in this, as in the subsequent Battle of Pozières, the Battalion was located where action was lighter.  In September the Battalion was withdrawn to Abbéville for rest and training.  In October, the Battalion was engaged in the Battle of the Ancre Heights, where in the face of stern German resistance, they captured the Stuff Redoubt and Trenches. 

 

It was during this latter action that Henry received the wounds from which he later died.  He died at the King George V Military Hospital, Stamford Street, London on 16 November 1916, aged 26.  His death certificate says that he received a gunshot wound to the spine a month before, with complications of cystitis.  His body was brought back to Bamber Bridge to be buried at St Saviour’s.  In 1917, his mother received his effects including cash of £5 15s 8d, and after the War she received a War Gratuity of £12 10s.

 

CWGC records 174,568 deaths from 1 July to 31 December 1916, the majority of which occurred on the Somme.  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment lost 1602 officers and men, 218 from 8th Battalion.

 

Rank:  Serjeant

Service No:  13862

Date of Death:  16/11/1916

Age:  26 (CWGC incorrectly records his age as 27)

Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.

Grave Reference:  North-West of Church.

Cemetery:  BAMBER BRIDGE (ST. SAVIOUR) CHURCHYARD

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