680636 BDR. H. S. CORNALL. R.F.A.
Herbert Sowerbutts Cornall was born in the second quarter of 1896 in Preston. His father was Roger Sowerbutts Cornall (b. 1871 in Preston), who owned a boot and shoe shop. His mother was Hannah Smith (b. 1872 in Preston). Roger and Hannah were married in 1893 and they had five children, though one died. The survivors were Maggie (b. 1895), then Herbert, then Fred (b. 1900) and finally Arthur (b. 1903). In 1911, the family lived at 12 Ruskin Street, Preston. Herbert was apprenticed as a boot maker in the family business.
Herbert enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1915 and was assigned service number 680636. He was posted to “A” Battery of 286 Brigade. He was promoted to Bombardier.
On 26 June 1917, the War Diary notes: “Enemy artillery active all day. A/286Bde RFA gun position shelled. 2 O/R severely wounded. B/286 also shelled. Our artillery fired in retaliation. Enemy aircraft exceptionally active.” In fact, Herbert was killed in this action. He was 21 years old.
Service Number: 680636
Date of Death: 26/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty., 286Bde
Cemetery/memorial reference: VII. B. 10.
Cemetery: CITE BONJEAN MILITARY CEMETERY, ARMENTIERES
Additional Information: Son of Roger and Hannah Cornall, of 36 Great Avenham Street, Preston, Lancs.
Herbert’s younger brother, Fred, tried to enlist in August 1915. He too wanted to join the artillery and was initially given service number 3036. However, even though he was still only 15 years old, it still took a while for him to be found out as he wasn’t discharged until 17 February the following year. When he turned 18, in the last year of the War, Fred first tried to join the Navy, and finally the Royal Air Force. I’m not sure if he actually saw any service, but if he didn’t, it wasn’t for lack of trying!