Ship: HMS Chester
Location of VC action: North Sea
Date of VC action: 31/05/1916 – Battle of Jutland
Citation: “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 16½ 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.”
Jack Cornwell was buried in a common grave in Manor Park Cemetery, London, but his body was exhumed on 29th July 1916 and he was reburied with full military honours in the same cemetery. Cornwell’s father Eli, who died on 25th October 1916 from bronchitis during home service with the Royal Defence Corps, was buried in the same grave on 31st October 1916. Jack’s VC is on display at the Imperial War Museum in the Lord Ashcroft Collection.