Private Harry Corns

World War I

Regiment: 240431, 6th Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment

Date of death: 26th January 1920

Place of Death: United Kingdom

Burial information: Albrighton St Mary Magdalene Churchyard

Harry Corns was born on 27th July 1890 Finchfield, Wolverhampton. He was the only son of James Corns and Harriet (nee Sadler). The family moved to Albrighton where James became gardener to the Guy family at Sauchileigh House (now The Cedars Nursing Home) and lived in a cottage on the little lane next door to the big house. Harry’s mother died in 1898 when Harry was only 8 years old, his widowed grandmother came to keep house, whilst his sister who was younger went to live with relatives in Llandudno, returning to Albrighton when she was 13 or so.

Harry enlisted with his cousin James Sadler in the 6th Battalion South Staffs Regiment on 2nd September 1914, along with five other Albrighton men – George Stockton, George Lycett (on the Memorial), Joseph Jones (on the Memorial), Charles Totty (on the Memorial) and William Timmins. Their Army numbers are consecutive. After training at Saffron Walden, Harry arrived in France 2nd March 1915. He saw much action, and was hospitalised several times as a result of wounds received or sickness. His cousin James was soon killed in action. Harry was severely gassed 2nd May 1918 and returned to England. He was discharged from the Army in February 1919 and returned to Albrighton, suffering from the effects of gas and tuberculosis. His sister nursed him and recalls of how awful his sickness was, he seemed to cough up most of his lungs. He died at his home 26th January 1920 and was buried in Albrighton Churchyard with full military honours on 30th January 1920, aged 29.

When his father died in 1941 he was buried in the same grave, which can still be seen at the back of the churchyard. His sister died in 1981 and, unfortunately, when her possessions were sorted, the photo of Harry, which she treasured, was lost. The family still have Harry’s walking stick, which was given to him for his 21st birthday, with his initials HC on a silver band below the handle.

Regrettably, the only known photo of Harry was lost after the death of his sister.

Albrighton Parish Council would like to thank Reverend Paul Chavasse, great-nephew of Private Harry Corns for kindly supplying information.