Manor Park war hero Jack Cornwell honoured with Royal British Legion installation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 October 2018

The installation in Jack Cornwell Park. Picture: Royal British Legion

The installation in Jack Cornwell Park. Picture: Royal British Legion

Royal British Legion

The sacrifice of a young war hero has been recognised with an installation to mark the launch of the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal.

Jack Cornwell    Picture: Newham ArchivesJack Cornwell Picture: Newham Archives

To mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, the red line - one of several across the country - aims to highlight how the war’s legacy is woven through the fabric of the nation.

John “Jack” Cornwell, who grew up in Manor Park, was just 16 when his ship, HMS Chester, was involved in the Battle of Jutland.

The ship sustained serious damage and although Jack was injured early in the battle, he remained at his post until the end.

A report from the Commanding Officer of HMS Chester said: “Boy (1st Class) John Travers Cornwell of the ‘Chester’, was mortally wounded early in the action.

The installation in Jack Cornwell Park. Picture: Royal British LegionThe installation in Jack Cornwell Park. Picture: Royal British Legion

“He 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 all round him.”

He was taken to hospital in Grimsby where he died from his wounds.

Jack was initially buried in a communal grave at Manor Park Cemetery but when news of his heroism became public, the decision was made to rebury him with full naval honours.

He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery.

The poppy installation at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Picture: Royal British LegionThe poppy installation at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Picture: Royal British Legion

In the subsequent century, he has been honoured in many ways, with a street and a community centre in Manor Park both named after him.

East Ham also boasts the Cornwell VC Cadets Centre, while in Leyton, where Jack went to school, a park was renamed in his honour.

It is in the Jack Cornwell Park that the Royal British Legion’s installation was unveiled.

All the red lines - which include other locations in London such as Neasden and Sidcup as well as cities like Edinburgh and Birmingham - are linked by one central statue outside the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

A thread bearing a message points in the direction of each, which corresponds to the message on each smaller installation.

Jack’s, which is a letter from Captain Robert Lawson of HMS Chester to the teenager’s mother, reads: “He stayed there, standing and waiting, under heavy fire, with just his own brave heart and God’s help to support him.”

Related articles

Latest Newham Stories

Yesterday, 17:00

Behind closed doors friendly: Leyton Orient 1 Bristol City 2

George Elokobi
Yesterday, 19:00

Pupils at a junior school in Forest Gate created a garden of Remembrance to mark Armistice Day.

Forest Gate
Yesterday, 13:00

Veteran manager signs up for stint on reality TV show

Yesterday, 12:00

The 66-year-old, who helped produce ‘The Greater Game’ play, praised the work of Justin Edinburgh

Josh Koroma
Yesterday, 15:57

Pupils in Manor Park unveiled a garden of handmade poppies on Monday to mark a century since the end of the First World War.

Yesterday, 10:00

Wapping’s men moved to the top of the East Premier A table with a 3-1 win over previous leaders St Albans at Lee Valley.

Yesterday, 14:00

Campaigners face a delay in discovering the fate of their beloved Manor Park pub, after a planning committee deferred approving the redevelopment application.

Stephen Timms


Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now