John Travers Cornwell – known to his admiring nation as ‘Boy Jack’ Cornwell, – was a hero, perhaps the most celebrated, of the entire Great War. Cornwell, a boy sailor on board the light cruiser HMS Chester, although just sixteen years old, had been assigned the important duty of sight-setter on the Chester’s forward six-inch gun. Early on May 31st 1916, Chester, one of Admiral Sir David Beatty’s battle cruiser fleet, was one of the first ships to engage the German High Seas Fleet in what would become the great battle of Jutland. Almost immediately, in the ensuing storm of shot and shell, all but two members of Cornwell’s ten-man gun crew were killed and he himself was mortally wounded. Nonetheless, scorning to seek shelter or medical aid, he stood undaunted at his post, awaiting further orders, until the end of the action. He died in hospital at Grimsby a few days later. His Captain has observed his quiet courage and drawn it to the Admiral’s attention. The boy Cornwell was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross – one of the youngest-ever recipients of Britain’s highest award for gallantry. His story caught the nation’s imagination and he became a much celebrated hero. This small book tells his story in the glowingly admiring tones of the times.
JACK CORNWELL The Story of John Travers Cornwell V.C. Boy – 1st Class
Brief admiring biography of 16-year-old ‘Boy Jack’ Cornwell – the great hero of the battle of Jutland who stood at his post while all around him were dead and dying; an act which won him a posthumous VC.