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Regimental Museum (Brecon)

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The Men Who Died



231                232                             

Regimental Sergeant Major Albert Alfred Cornish

South Wales Borderers, 4th Battalion, service no. 4/12752

Died in Mesopotamia on June 22nd, 1916, aged 39

Buried at Basra War Cemetery, Iraq

Elizabeth was at 2a, John Street, Brecon in 1911 with her baby daughter, also Elizabeth. The couple had two further children later.

Albert was promoted to lance sergeant in April 1910, and then sergeant in December of that year. He returned to South Africa at this time and remains there until March 1912 when he returned to Britain and was discharged at his own request after 18 years’ service. Whilst in Brecon, Albert was a member of the Buffaloes. During his service in South Africa Albert was awarded the Queen's and King's medals for service as well a number of clasps for different campaigns, including the relief of Kimberly. His military records also show Mentions in Despatches, Meritorious Service Medals and Territorial Force Efficiency Medals. Albert was called up from the Reserves when the war broke out and became regimental sergeant major. He served in Gallipoli and later in Egypt and Mesopotamia where he was in the force that attempted to relieve Kut. He was mentioned in despatches by General Sir Percy Lake for distinguished service in this expedition.

He subsequently died of dysentery in Mesopotamia, leaving a widow and three children.

Albert was born on March 1st, 1877 in Islington, London, the son of Alfred William Cornish, a musician and professor of music, and his wife Elizabeth Ann. Albert was baptised later that month. In 1881 the family were in Latchmere Road, Battersea and Albert had three sisters and a baby brother. Ten years later the family were in the same house; Albert's father now listed himself as a musician; Elizabeth and two daughters were dressmakers.

In April 1893 Albert, at 16, enlists in the army in Brecon, joining the South Wales Borderers, stating his occupation as musician. Albert is initially posted as ‘boy’, before becoming a drummer 3 months later. He is noted as a private in November 1897, made corporal in June 1899. He goes to South Africa in October 1899 and serves there until June 1904 when he returns to Britain until 1910.

Albert married in Brecon on February 4th, 1909 to Elizabeth Dowdeswell, a sister of William Dowdeswell, also featured in this book³¹. In 190 lived with her parents at 6, High Street where her was ann inn keeper. The family later moved to 2, Lion Street, Brecon.



    See page 236

WW1 Book (235)