George Philip Cornish

Rank Lance Corporal
Service No 18172
Date of Death 24/04/1916
Age 30
Regiment/Service Royal Berkshire Regiment 8th Battalion
Cemetery Bethune Town Cemetery, 29 kms north of Arras, France. It contains 3,004 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. For much of the war, Bethune was comparatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a corps and divisional headquarters. The 33rd Casualty Clearing Station was in the town until December 1917.


George was born on 16th May 1885 in Hammersmith, London. He was the son of George John (1857–1927) and Ellen Cornish, nee Selby, (1859–1933), who had seven children in total, although only three of these where alive at the time of the 1911 census. The others being Dorothy Amy, aged 14, and Richard John, aged 9, both of whom were born in Finchley.

At the time of the 1891 census, the family were living 14 Park Hall Place, Great North Road, East Finchley. George is aged 6 and has a sister named Winifred who is 4 months old.

On 14th July 1901 the family were living at 21 Station Road, Finchley as on that date Richard John was baptised in St Paul’s by the Vicar. His father’s occupation is recorded in the baptism register as ‘labourer’.

At the time of the 1911 census, George was living with his parents, who have been married some 31 years, and his two surviving siblings at 4 Chamberlain Road, East Finchley. He was single and working as an assistant time-keeper at the gas works. His father was employed as a stationary engineman at the gas works. George married Ethel Rose Jenkins in the summer of 1911. The banns were read for three consecutive Sundays, starting on 23rd July 1911, at Holy Trinity, East Finchley. Ethel’s home parish is recorded as being St Stephen’s Clewer, Windsor.

George first saw active duty in France in October 1915 and died of wounds in late April 1916. At the time of his death, George’s address was 5 Montpelier Road, Finchley. His estate was valued at £65 5s which went to his widow, Ethel. After George’s death, Ethel moved to Canada and lived at 405, Martin Avenue, Elmwood, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ships’ records reveal that Ethel travelled from Canada to UK in 1924 and again in 1928. In 1924 she took the Montcalm of the Canadian Pacific Line from Montréal, Québec, arriving in Liverpool on 11th July. The passenger records indicate that she was aged 36, working as a music mistress and living at 109 Arthur Road, Windsor, Ontario. In 1928 she took the Empress of Australia of the Canadian Pacific Line from Quebec to Southampton, arriving on 1st August. The passenger records indicate that Ethel was still living at 109 Arthur Road, Windsor and was a teacher. Interestingly, the Empress of Australia was used by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to travel to Canada in May 1939.